Don’t Worry Darling is becoming the everlasting gobstopper of Hollywood drama, from Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh to Harry Styles and “spitgate” – here’s your guide to all of it.
Over the past two years, showbiz controversies and stories have been thriving. Britney Spears finally got out of her conservatorship, there’s the wild allegations against Armie Hammer, Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian’s love affair came and went – and that’s the tip of the iceberg.
Don’t Worry Darling, the upcoming psychological thriller from Olivia Wilde, began as a source of hype, given its star-studded cast with Harry Styles and Florence Pugh, and the director’s recent success with Booksmart.
However, chaos is a ladder, and the movie’s press tour has quickly turned into a social media spectacle. Quite a few dominoes have toppled along the way, so here’s everything you need to know about the Don’t Worry Darling drama, whether it’s involving Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles, or Florence Pugh.
Don’t Worry Darling drama: Olivia Wilde and Shia LaBeouf
It all began with the hiring and supposed firing of Shia LaBeouf. The Transformers star was originally cast as Jack, the husband of Florence Pugh’s character Alice.
Shortly after production began in 2020, LaBeouf exited the project. Initial reports said it was due to scheduling conflicts, before Wilde revealed she’d sacked him as a result of poor behavior, later citing her “no assholes” policy.
In a recent interview, Wilde went into further detail about how she had a different approach to filmmaking compared to LaBeouf, but he has since denied her claims.
Speaking to Variety, Wilde said she was “such an admirer of his work”, but stated: “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.
“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.”
A few months after his departure from the film, FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against LaBeouf accusing him of sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress after “relentless abuse” during their relationship.
“A lot came to light after this happened that really troubled me, in terms of his behavior. I find myself just really wishing him health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice,” Wilde added.
However, LaBeouf has since addressed Wilde’s claims, and said he wasn’t actually fired from the project. In a lengthy email to Wilde, as per Variety, he wrote:
What inspired this email today is your latest Variety story. I am greatly honored by your words on my work; thank you, that felt good to read. I am a little confused about the narrative that I was fired, however. You and I both know the reasons for my exit. I quit your film because your actors & I couldn’t find time to rehearse. I have included as a reminder the screenshots of our text exchange on that day, and my text to Tobey.
I know that you are beginning your press run for DWD and that the news of my firing is attractive clickbait, as I am still persona-non-grata and may remain as such for the rest of my life. But, speaking of my daughter, I often think about the news articles she will read when she is literate. And though I owe, and will owe for the rest of my life, I only owe for my actions.
My failings with Twigs are fundamental and real, but they are not the narrative that has been presented. There is a time and a place to deal with such things, and I am trying to navigate a nuanced situation with respect for her and the truth, hence my silence. But this situation with your film and my “firing” will never have a court date with which to deal with the facts. If lies are repeated enough in the public they become truth. And so, it makes it that much harder for me to crawl out of the hole I have dug with my behaviors, to be able to provide for my family.
Firing me never took place, Olivia. And while I fully understand the attractiveness of pushing that story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings. It is not the truth. So I am humbly asking, as a person with an eye toward making things right, that you correct the narrative as best you can. I hope none of this negatively affects you, and that your film is successful in all the ways you want it to be.
A video leaked online thereafter, filmed by Wilde shortly before LaBeouf left the film, pleading with him to “not give up on this yet.” She also referred to Pugh as “Miss Flo”, with several viewers expressing concern over her seemingly dismissive attitude towards the actress.
During the film’s press conference at the Venice Film Festival, a Hollywood Reporter journalist tried to ask Wilde about LaBeouf, but it was shut down by the panel’s moderator because “it’s on the internet.”
Don’t Worry Darling drama: Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles… and Jason Sudeikis
Harry Styles was brought in to play Jack in Don’t Worry Darling after LaBeouf was “fired,” which made Olivia Wilde do a “little victory dance,” as per People. The film officially began production in October 2020.
A month later, Wilde split from Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis after a seven-year engagement. This wouldn’t be a significant development if it wasn’t for a wedding in January 2021, where Wilde was photographed holding hands with Styles.
According to several sources, the pair “got to know each other really well” after “long days on set”, so their relationship emerged organically. There’s just one small wrinkle: it’s unclear whether there was any overlap between Wilde’s engagement to Sudeikis and dating Styles.
Over the next year or so, there weren’t many updates of note. Page Six obtained some photos of them enjoying themselves on a boat in Italy, and they appeared to support each other on social media.
And then came CinemaCon in April 2022, where Wilde was handed a manila envelope while onstage promoting Don’t Worry Darling. It wasn’t anything to do with her presentation – she’d been served custody papers by Sudeikis.
His spokesperson told Deadline: “Mr Sudeikis had no prior knowledge of the time or place that the envelope would have been delivered as this would solely be up to the process service company involved and he would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner.”
Wilde branded the incident as an “attack… I hated that this nastiness distracted from the work of so many different people and the studio that I was up there representing.
“To try to sabotage that was really vicious. But I had a job to do; I’m not easily distracted. 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 told Variety.
As for her relationship with Styles, Wilde said: “I’m not going to say anything about it because I’ve never seen a relationship benefit from being dragged into the public arena. We both go out of our way to protect our relationship; I think it’s out of experience, but also just out of deep love.”
There’s been nothing to suggest they aren’t still together, although people have noted their positioning at the Venice Film Festival: in almost every photo and video, they’ve been sat or stood apart, focusing their efforts on the film rather than letting their relationship dominate the premiere.
Don’t Worry Darling drama: Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh
When Florence Pugh officially joined the Don’t Worry Darling, she posted the announcement to Instagram with a caption describing Olivia Wilde as her “idol.”
During the film’s production, all seemed to be going well, with Wilde sharing an image of them together on set, writing: “To work with an actor as talented and brave as @florencepugh is any director’s dream. I will forever be grateful for you, Flo. 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. Tom Cruise run + Meryl skills = THE FLO.”
And then shooting wrapped, and something seemed off. Pugh marked the end of production with a lengthy post praising the cast and crew of Don’t Worry Darling, especially those who ensured it went ahead safely amid global restrictions, and didn’t mention Wilde once.
Pugh usually promotes her upcoming films and projects, such as Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish – but Don’t Worry Darling has been noticeably absent from her feed, bar two posts: one of the first-ever teaser, and a motion poster of her and Styles.
So what happened? Many believe something drove a wedge between them during the Don’t Worry Darling’s production… a clash of morals regarding Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles getting together, perhaps?
A source told Page Six: “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.
“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.”
Ahead of the Venice Film Festival, it was revealed Pugh wouldn’t be doing much press for the movie. She attended the premiere, and arrived just as the press conference ended. She also wasn’t seen chatting to Wilde or Styles, instead only taking photographs with co-stars Chris Pine, Nick Kroll, and Gemma Chan.
Another source told Us Weekly: “Florence and Olivia have had several disagreements personally and professionally, that’s why Florence isn’t doing any press for the movie.”
While deflecting questions about LaBeouf, Wilde addressed the rumors regarding a fall-out between herself and Pugh. “Florence is a force; we are so grateful she is able to make it tonight [to the premiere] despite being in production [on Dune: Part Two],” she said.
“As for the endless tabloid gossip and noise out there, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel I need to contribute to it.”
Don’t Worry Darling drama: Olivia Wilde and Jordan Peterson
One of the smaller, inconsequential beefs of the Don’t Worry Darling press tour involves Olivia Wilde and Jordan Peterson. For those who don’t know him, he’s a retired professor, clinical psychologist, and popular online personality from Canada who’s risen to become one of the most prominent conservative speakers on the internet.
In the film, Chris Pine plays Frank, the founder of the 1950s utopian community at the core of the film – and Peterson was a major inspiration for the character.
While speaking to Interview Magazine, Wilde said: “We based that character on this insane man, Jordan Peterson, who is this pseudo-intellectual hero to the incel community.
“This guy Jordan Peterson is someone that legitimizes certain aspects of their movement because he’s a former professor, he’s an author, he wears a suit, so they feel like this is a real philosophy that should be taken seriously.”
Peterson has since hit back, telling the National Post: “Now, [Pine] has a reputation as quite an attractive man… so that could be worse.
“I also hope that Chris Pine at least does the sartorial splendour of my very formal public wardrobe justice as he pillories me in the latest bit of propaganda disseminated by the woke, self-righteous bores and bullies who now dominate Hollywood, and who insist that the production of such tripe.”
Don’t Worry Darling drama: Harry Styles and Chris Pine
Here comes the wildest of all the dramas attached to Don’t Worry Darling: people think Harry Styles spat on Chris Pine during the film’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
“Spitgate” came after two clips were shared online: one from @Mac70J is filmed facing Olivia Wilde, Pine, and Styles as he takes his seat; the other was posted by Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh, filmed side-on from a distance and facing Styles as he walks to his seat. You can watch them both below:
Regardless of which clip, the moment of contention is the same: Styles walks up to his seat, appears to make a quick spitting motion, at which point Pine stops clapping, shakes his head and laughs to himself, while Styles doesn’t appear to say hello to Wilde – his girlfriend – or the Star Trek actor.
This came after Pine went viral for his facial expression while Styles unintelligibly nattered on about his how “favorite thing about the movie is it feels like a movie.”
Neither actor has commented on the footage, although it’s become a Pepe Silvia-level conspiracy theory.
Don’t Worry Darling hits cinemas on September 23. It has been zero days since a publicity incident.