There is some serious Hollywood drama taking place amongst some of the biggest names in the business surrounding the release of the highly anticipated film, Don’t Worry Darling. The sci-fi thriller is the second directorial project of Olivia Wilde, who made an extraordinary first impression with Booksmart in 2019.
When this film was first announced in April of 2020, movie buffs and fans of the A-List cast were thrilled. The headliners included Florence Pugh as Alice, a housewife in the 50s living in a utopian community. Her co-stars included both Chris Pine and Shia LaBeouf at the time. Coming off the success of Booksmart for Wilde and films like Midsommar and Little Women for Pugh, fans were thrilled to see two powerful women in film being tied together for this project.
In September of 2020, when LaBeouf abruptly left the film due to “scheduling conflicts,” Deadline announced that he would be replaced by Harry Styles. This introduced a whole new audience to the anticipated film, with one of the most popular names in music now attached. Everyone was eager to see what Styles would be like as a leading man, since his only film project before this was a supporting role in Dunkirk.
After this announcement, things seemed to quickly take a turn for the worst. Wilde and her long-term fiancé Jason Sudeikis abruptly ended their relationship after seven years. They also have two children together.
Not long after this, Wilde and Styles were photographed holding hands, with many inside reports that the two were now a couple. This led to several remarks about the overlap between Wilde’s breakup with Sudeikis and this new relationship with her co-worker.
Reports were also surfacing about how Pugh was not pleased with the budding romance between her director and co-star, due to the fact that they were sneaking off on set and were nowhere to be found when it was time to start filming. Many have said that Pugh actually ended up directing most of the film as well as starring in it, since Wilde seemed to be too busy to care.
When filming wrapped and the cast began doing press for the film, Wilde was interviewed by Variety and asked about LaBeouf’s sudden departure from the film. She made it clear that his process created an environment on set that made others uncomfortable, and her top priority was making sure everyone, especially her leading lady, Pugh, felt safe.
When this article was released, LaBeouf sent an email to Variety with evidence to dispute everything Wilde had said. He showed multiple emails and texts he sent her, as well as a video where Wilde expresses how much she wanted to keep him on the project. Wilde even stated that this could be a wakeup call for “Miss Flo” (referring to Pugh), which many did not take kindly to.
Just a few weeks after this was the Venice Film Festival, where the cast answered questions and watched the film with an audience for the first time. Pugh’s team had announced prior that she would not be doing any press for the film due to “scheduling conflicts” while filming for Dune 2. She did, however, walk the carpet later that evening and watch the film with the cast.
On the carpet, Styles, Wilde and Pugh were kept apart by their teams and other cast members. None of them were seen speaking to each other the whole night.
Despite the film receiving a four minute standing ovation, critics’ reviews online have not reflected that same energy. With a score of 44% on Rotten Tomatoes, one reviewer said, “Olivia Wilde’s stylishly rendered but muddled domestic horror is saved by another show stopping performance from Florence Pugh.” Another said, “It takes the film a good 90 minutes to reveal where it’s all going, by which point viewers have either worked it out for themselves or lost interest, possibly both.”
It seems like the drama and controversy surrounding this film and cast is nonstop, and it will certainly be very interesting to see how the film is received by the public in a few short weeks on Sept. 23.
Below is a detailed timeline of all the events that have taken place so far surrounding this project.
Don’t Worry Darling Timeline
April 24, 2020: Film was announced by Deadline, with the headlining cast being Florence Pugh, Shia LaBeouf and Chris Pine.
Sept. 11, 2020: Harry Styles is announced to be replacing LaBeouf due to “scheduling conflicts.”
November 2020: Olivia Wilde and long-term fiancé Jason Sudeikis break up after seven years together; they also share two children.
December 2020: Variety reports that, after LaBeouf’s multiple abuse allegations, the real reason he left the project was because he “exhibited poor behavior and his style clashed with the cast and crew, including Wilde, who ultimately fired him.”
Jan. 4, 2021: Styles and Wilde are photographed holding hands at a friend's wedding and are reported to be dating.
February 2021: Reports from insiders on set surfaced about Pugh’s frustration with the relationship between her co-star and director.
Aug. 24, 2022: Wilde’s Variety article about the circumstances surrounding the casting change from Lebouf to Styles was released.
Aug. 26, 2022: LaBeouf releases two emails he sent to Wilde which state, “You and I both know the reasons for my exit . . .I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse” which supposedly calls out Pugh. LaBeouf also releases a video Wilde sent to him begging him to stay on the film, contradicting everything she said about him in Variety. In the video, she says that she is “heartbroken” and “not ready to give up on this yet.” She also says, “I think this might be a bit of a wakeup call for Miss Flo” and asks if he would give it another shot if she “really commits.”
Sept. 5, 2022: The cast arrives at the Venice Film Festival. At the carpet, Pugh, Styles and Wilde appear in a single picture together, separated by co-stars. They were not seen speaking to each other. As Styles went to sit down for the screening, a video began circling of him supposedly spitting on Pine's lap. Pine’s representatives said in a 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.”
By: Haileigh West, Reporter