Drama Alert! The “Don’t Worry Darling” Controversy

September 9, 2022

“Don’t Worry Darling,” Olivia Wilde’s sophomore directorial film, has had the internet in a chokehold, not because of its cinematography, but due to juicy drama behind the scenes.

The film stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. Styles was casted after Shia LaBeouf left the cast. His absence was originally credited to “scheduling conflicts”, however, FKA Twig’s 2020 lawsuit against LaBeouf for abuse suggests different motives. 

As trailers and promotional material began rolling out in preparation for the film’s release, fans began to notice Pugh’s Instagram page lacking “Don’t Worry Darling” advertisements. Some fans even pointed out how Pugh posted trailers for different upcoming projects on the same day “Don’t Worry Darling” cast members posted promotional material. 

This silence was uncharacteristic of Pugh, known for her active internet presence. 

In January of 2021, rumors began to spread of Wilde and Styles dating. This provided ample reason for disagreement between Pugh and Wilde. A relationship between a costar and your director could be very uncomfortable.

Many were also shocked by this partnership due to Wilde’s very recent breakup with actor Jason Sudeikis, with whom Wilde shares two children.

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Pugh discussed her views on sharing the screen with Styles. 

“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,” Pugh said.

Then, on August 24, Wilde announced that LaBeouf was fired from “Don’t Worry Darling” in order to protect Pugh’s safety. 

She suggested that LaBeouf’s process was “not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions”. 

This comment arrived nearly two years after musician FKA Twigs sued LaBeouf for abuse.  

Just two days later, LaBeouf responded to Wilde, stating he left the movie on his own accord. He went on to release a video of Wilde pleading for LaBeouf to remain on the cast. This video was recorded after LaBeouf’s abuse allegations were released. 

Most shockingly, in the video, Wilde says, “You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo,” (referring to Pugh’s discomfort while working with LaBeouf).

Many thought the extent of this drama was over until Pugh announced she would not attend the Venice Film Festival’s press conference prior to the film’s debut.

Pugh also walked out of the theater after just four minutes of standing ovation, prompting the rest of her castmates to follow. 

If the premier wasn’t dramatic enough, a viral clip of Styles sitting down beside co-star Chris Pine during the movie’s premiere presents a suspiciously realistic depiction of Styles spitting on Pine’s lap. While the video is inconclusive, Pine does stare down in shock at his lap after Styles purses his lips while descending into his chair. 

Style’s performance has been met with harsh criticism. Many suggested his acting style is “robotic”. Style’s performance might seem especially “wooden” in juxtaposition with Pugh’s, which so far has been praised by critics.

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