September 2, 2022 | CULTURE | By Katie Rowley | Illustration by Sydney Morris

By Katie Rowley 

With less than a month before its global theatrical premiere, the highly anticipated film “Don’t Worry Darling”, starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, has already gained notoriety.  

Creators marketed the film as a psychological thriller, directed by actress and director Olivia Wilde, no stranger to controversy herself after she endured a messy split with her partner Jason Sudeikis.

The film’s initial promo roll-out, which included the release of a trailer, was critiqued by fans, although many of them are also fans of Styles, who is set to play Jack Chambers in the film. Most fans noted the cast’s reactions and posts, registering Pugh’s lack of interaction with any of the trailers or Wilde’s behind the scene’s posts.  

This action, or lack thereof, confirmed for many that rumors brewing on the popular gossip site DeuxMoi and thereafter spread within the depths of TikTok and Twitter by intense Styles fans, had legitimacy. These rumors insinuiate Wilde and Pugh, who is playing Alice Chambers, were involved in a fraught actor/director relationship while filming due to Wilde’s “favoring” of Styles, who has been seen cozying up with Wilde since filming began.

In the weeks since the release of the first trailer, this supposed tension between Wilde and Pugh had spiraled, with many Twitter accounts claiming they have “insider information” about Pugh’s pay versus Styles’. Rumors that the film may be canceled as well as a Twitter hashtag “#timesupolivia” which was made in an attempt to halt the release of the film have also been circulating on the popular social media platform.  

Both Pugh and Wilde have attempted to dismiss these rumors. Pugh posted a teaser for the film on her Instagram in mid-August, and in an interview with Variety, published on Aug. 24th, Wilde chalked the rumors up to “invented clickbait,” and says “there is absolutely no validity to those claims.”

In the same article, Wilde discussed the firing of Shia LaBeouf, who was originally cast to play Jack Chambers.

“‘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,’” Wilde said in an interview with Variety, remarking on LaBeouf’s intense and unsafe method of acting.  

Shortly after his firing from “Don’t Worry Darling”, LaBeouf was accused of abuse from his ex-partner.

On Aug. 26, Variety released an email sent to them by LaBeouf, who claims he quit filming due to a lack of time to rehearse. This article also included a video sent to LaBeouf by Wilde, who is seen in her car begging LaBeouf to return to filming and to work with Pugh to set aside their differences.  

This video sparked outrage, with many notable publications trying to succinctly summarize the drama and gauge exactly what this situation means for Wilde’s professional career.

And, as a Harry Styles fan, Wilde’s comments have generated a ton of anger within the community. My Twitter timeline is still filled with critiques of Wilde’s “abuse-apologist” tendencies and even more push to cancel the upcoming release of “Don’t Worry Darling”.

There has been no official statement from Wilde regarding this situation, nor has the film’s production company, Warner Bros, commented in response to any of the calls to cancel the film’s release.  

The movie is set to release on Sept. 23. With many set appearances at international film festivals before the release, as well as press hysteria that is likely to happen after, it will be interesting to see the reception of “Don’t Worry Darling” and if it can avoid any more drama.  

 

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