Worry Not, Here’s All The Don’t Worry Darling Drama, Explained
From rumored feuds to alleged spit.
The Olivia Wilde-directed film Don’t Worry Darling will hit theaters on Friday, Sept. 23, and it’s about time. The movie, which stars Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan has received much media attention for months due to its behind-the-scenes drama. This includes Wilde and Styles’ whirlwind relationship, a rumored feud between the director and Pugh, and an online theory that Styles may have spit on Chris Pine at the Venice Film Festival. In case you haven’t been able to keep up with it all (there’s a lot to keep up with), here’s the rundown.
April 2020: Pugh And Shia LaBeouf Are Cast In Don’t Worry Darling
In April 2020, Deadline reported Pugh and Shia LaBeouf would star alongside each other in the psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, which is Wilde’s sophomore directorial film after 2019’s Booksmart.
Pugh had a major fangirling moment when announcing her casting. “@oliviawilde just tagged me in a picture *gasp no.1*,” the actor wrote in an Instagram post. “@oliviawilde casted me in a film *gasp no.2* @oliviawilde is my idol and allowed me to be a part of this fecking incredible cast. Shia?!? Chris?!? *gasp no.3*”
The Midsommar star said she “couldn’t wait” to begin shooting the film. “Until then, masks up. Gloves on. Stay home,” Pugh continued. “Read script 17,000 because.. you know..it’s @oliviawilde!! #DontWorryDarling.”
September 2020: Styles Replaces LaBeouf
Deadline reported that LaBeouf’s role had been given to Styles after the Transformers actor dropped out due to a “scheduling conflict.” The announcement marked Styles’ debut leading role and his first film since appearing in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk in 2017.
November 2020: Wilde And Jason Sudeikis’ Breakup Goes Public
A source reportedly told People Wilde and Jason Sudeikis had split “at the beginning of the year,” but remained “amicable” as they focused on co-parenting their two children together, Otis Alexander and Daisy Josephine. “The children are the priority and the heart of the family’s relationship,” the source told People.
December 2020: Variety Reports Wilde Fired LaBeouf
According to a December 2020 Variety report, LaBeouf allegedly displayed “poor behavior” toward the film’s cast and crew, which caused Wilde to let him go from the project. “He is not an easy guy to work with,” a source reportedly told the publication, adding that LaBeouf’s behavior did not go over well with Wilde’s “zero asshole policy.” In the midst of it all, LaBeouf was sued by his ex-girlfriend, FKA Twigs, for alleged sexual and physical assault.
In response to the allegations, LaBeouf told The New York Times, “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.”
The specifics of LaBeouf’s departure from the film would stir up again in August 2022.
January 2021: Wilde And Styles Spark Dating Rumors
Shortly after Wilde and Sudeikis’ split went public, the director was seen attending the wedding of Styles’ manager, Jeffrey Azoff, alongside the pop star. “They were affectionate around their friends, held hands, and looked very happy,” a source reportedly told People at the time. “They have dated for a few weeks.”
February 2021: Don’t Worry Darling Wraps Filming
Once filming for Don’t Worry Darling wrapped, Wilde shared a touching tribute for Pugh on Instagram. “To work with an actor as talented and brave as @florencepugh is any director’s dream. I will forever be grateful for you, Flo,” Wilde wrote, alongside a photo of the two together. “It was an honor to be your captain. Can’t wait for the world to see the astonishing work you’ve put into this movie.”
Wilde also praised Styles’ professionalism in a separate post. “It is harrrrrd to find actors who recognize why it might be worth it to allow for a woman to hold the spotlight. Enter: @harrystyles, our ‘Jack,’” she said. “Not only did he relish the opportunity to allow for the brilliant @florencepugh to hold center stage as our ‘Alice,’ but he infused every scene with a nuanced sense of humanity.”
April 2022: Wilde Is Served Custody Papers At CinemaCon
Things stayed largely quiet until Wilde received a mysterious envelope that was labeled “personal and confidential” in the middle of a presentation at CinemaCon. She thought it was a script; however, according to People, the envelope contained legal papers from Sudeikis concerning the custody of his and Wilde’s children.
Although some believed the Ted Lasso actor interrupted Wilde’s presentation on purpose, an insider told People he had “no prior knowledge of the time or place that the envelope would have been delivered.”
July 2022: Fans Speculate A Rift Between Wilde And Pugh
After Wilde posted another Instagram tribute to Pugh, fans thought the Black Widow actor would respond with a post of her own for Wilde. Instead, she shared a poster for her upcoming movie Oppenheimer on her Instagram Story. The timing led to online theories that there was secretly drama between them, like this TikTok.
July 2022: A Page Six Source Claims There Was Drama On Set
According to Page Six, Pugh wasn’t a fan of the PDA Wilde and Styles allegedly showed on the set. “I can tell you for a fact that Flo seeing Olivia and Harry all over each other on set did not go down well as Olivia was still with Jason when she first hooked up with Harry,” a source reportedly told the publication. “Jason and the kids visited Olivia on set at the beginning a few times, so I think this all made people feel a little uncomfortable.”
Aug. 16, 2022: Pugh Addresses Her Sex Scenes With Styles
After the first trailers for Don’t Worry Darling dropped, Pugh expressed her frustration that fans were paying more attention to her intimate scenes with Styles rather than the film’s message. “When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry,” she said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”
Aug. 24, 2022: Wilde Also Addresses The Film’s Sex Scenes
Wilde took pride in the film’s sex scenes in an interview with Variety. “It’s all about immediacy and extreme passion for one another,” she said about the relationship between Alice (Pugh) and Jack Chambers (Styles). “The impractical nature of their sex speaks to their ferocious desire for one another.”
The director added the sex scenes are an important way for viewers “to connect” with the characters. “My early conversations with the cast were all about how the audience has to buy into the fantasy,” she said.
Aug. 24, 2022: Wilde Denies Rumors Of A Pay Disparity Between Pugh And Styles
Wilde appeared on the cover of Variety, and the interview wielded several headlining making quotes from the director, including denying a rumored pay disparity between Pugh and Styles.
“There has been a lot out there that I largely don’t pay attention to. But the absurdity of invented clickbait and subsequent reaction regarding a nonexistent pay disparity between our lead and supporting actors really upset me,” she said. “I’m a woman who has been in this business for over 20 years, and it’s something that I have fought for myself and others, especially being a director. There is absolutely no validity to those claims.”
She also addressed the CinemaCon envelope moment, calling it “vicious” and a “sabotage.” “But, you know, sadly, it was not something that was entirely surprising to me. I mean, there’s a reason I left that relationship,” she said, seemingly alluding to her relationship with Sudeikis.
Aug. 24, 2022: Wilde Claims She Fired LaBeouf
In that same Variety interview, Wilde opened up about LaBeouf’s exit from the film. “I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work. His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances,” she said. “I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.”
Aug. 26, 2022: LaBeouf Denies He Was Fired
Following Wilde’s interview, Variety reported LaBeouf sent Variety a series of emails and text messages from his communication with Wilde to the publication, alleging he walked away from the film and was not fired. “You and I both know the reasons for my exit,” a message from LaBeouf to Wilde obtained by Variety reportedly read. “I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse.”
To try and further prove his point, LaBeouf also reportedly shared a text exchange between him and Wilde in which they discussed his exit. “Thanks for letting me in on your thought process. I know that isn’t fun. Doesn’t feel good to say no to someone, and I respect your honesty,” Wilde reportedly texted LaBeouf. “I’m honored you were willing to go there with me, for me to tell a story with you. I’m gutted because it could have been something special. I want to make clear how much it means to me that you trust me. That’s a gift I’ll take with me.”
Days after LaBeouf quit the film, Wilde reportedly sent the actor a video in which Variety reports that she appeared to confirm drama between LaBeouf and Pugh. “I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us,” Wilde reportedly told LaBeouf. “If she really commits, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point, and if you guys can make peace — and I respect your point of view, I respect hers — but if you guys can do it, what do you think? Is there hope? Will you let me know?”
Sept 5, 2022: Pugh Skips Don’t Worry Darling’s Venice Press Conference
Styles, Wilde, Pine, and Chan all attended the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, together. They posed for group photos and participated in a press conference together; however, Pugh was absent from the press conference. According to Variety, Pugh couldn’t join the cast because her flight arrived after the press conference.
Sept 5, 2022: Pugh Attends The Don’t Worry Darling Venice Premiere
Pugh arrived in Venice to walk the red carpet for the Don’t Worry Darling premiere. She took photos alongside the cast. It’s worth noting that Styles, Pugh, and Wilde did not stand directly beside each other.
The trio stood apart from one another during the film’s screening. “Florence Pugh refuses to make eye contact with Olivia Wilde during the 4-minute #Venezia79 standing ovation for #DontWorryDarling,” Variety co-Editor-in-Chief Ramin Setoodeh captioned a video of the star on Twitter. The clip appeared to show Pugh facing away from both Wilde and Styles during their film’s standing ovation while she spoke to her Don’t Worry Darling co-star, Nick Kroll.
However, a separate video posted by the Twitter account @Sara_Bagnato_ showed Pugh seemingly clapping in Wilde’s direction.
Sept. 5, 2022: Styles And Pine Get involved In “Spit-gate”
Another viral moment from Venice came when Styles appeared to possibly spit on Pine while taking his seat. Yes, you read that correctly; however, Pine’s rep quickly shut down that rumor on Sept. 6.
“This is a ridiculous story — a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation,” a representative for Pine’s team told Variety in a Sept. 6 statement. “Just to be clear, Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine. There is nothing but respect between these two men and any suggestion otherwise is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist.”
A source close to Styles also reportedly told The Guardian that the spitting incident “is not true.”
Elsewhere at the festival, Pine became a meme for seemingly dissociating while seated next to Styles during an interview.
Sept. 7, 2022: Pugh To Skip Don’t Worry Darling’s New York Premiere
On Sept. 7, Rolling Stone reported that Pugh would skip the film’s Sept. 19 New York premiere. Once again, her Dune filming obligations were cited (two insiders to the publication) as the reason for the absence.
Sept. 7, 2022: Styles Jokes About Spitting On Pine
Styles spoke about the spitting incident for the first time at his Sept. 7 concert in New York. According to Variety, the singer told the crowd, “This is our tenth show at Madison Square Garden. It’s wonderful, wonderful, wonderful to be back in New York. I just popped very quickly to Venice to spit on Chris Pine.”
Sept. 8, 2022: Wilde Addresses All the Rumors
The next day, Wilde appeared on the October cover of Vanity Fair. She told the publication that Pugh felt “uncomfortable” with LaBeouf’s behavior, which she claims is why he was replaced. “My responsibility was towards her. I’m like a mother wolf,” Wilde said. “Making the call was tricky, but in a way he understood. I don’t think it would’ve been a process he enjoyed.”
Wilde said LaBeouf has “an intensity” but wished him to “get well” and “evolve.” “I think it’s a great loss to the film industry when someone that talented is unable to work,” she said.
In the Vanity Fair interview, Wilde also addressed the rumors that Pugh isn’t fully promoting Don’t Worry Darling on social media. “Florence is one of the most in-demand actresses in the universe. She’s on set on Dune. I gather that some people expect for her to be engaging more on social media,” Wilde said. “I didn’t hire her to post. I hired her to act. She fulfilled every single expectation I had of her. That’s all that matters to me.”
Next, she addressed rumors she left Sudeikis for Styles, calling them “horsesh*t” and “inaccurate.”
“Our relationship was over long before I met Harry. Like any relationship that ends, it doesn’t end overnight,” she said. “Unfortunately, Jason and I had a very bumpy road, and we officially dissolved the relationship towards the beginning of the pandemic.”
Wilde said she and Sudeikis initially continued living together for the sake of their children. “It became the responsible thing to not [live together] because we could be better parents as friends who live in different houses,” she said.
The Don’t Worry Darling drama has taken so many twists and turns. There are still a few weeks left until the film premieres in theaters on Sept. 23, meaning there’s still plenty of time for more drama to unfold.
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