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Don’t Worry Darling drama explained - when a movie feels like a movie

The thriller, directed by Olivia Wilde, has been the subject of rumours concerning stars Harry Styles and Florence Pugh — here's the Don't Worry Darling drama

Don't Worry Darling drama explained: Harry Styles in Don't Worry Darling

What is the Don’t Worry Darling drama? The thriller movie has been embroiled in so much behind-the-scenes scandal that it warrants a drama movie in and of itself. After the success of Booksmart, there was much anticipation for Olivia Wilde’s second directed feature — but from start to finish, the film has been overshadowed by whispers, rumours, and leaks.

The Don’t Worry Darling drama all started when, after Shia LaBeouf departed from the project (more on that later), Harry Styles was announced as the new lead opposite Florence Pugh. Although Styles’ film experience is somewhat limited, he had a role in Christopher Nolan’s war movie Dunkirk and is set to be part of the MCU after appearing in the Eternals post-credit scene. So far, so good, right?

Unfortunately not, as photographs soon circulated appearing to show Styles and Olivia Wilde holding hands. In the months prior to this, Wilde split from fiance and Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis, with whom she shares two children. Then, in April 2022, Wilde was served custody papers from Sudeikis live on stage while previewing a clip of the film. But that was just the start of the saga.

Don’t Worry Darling drama explained: Was there a pay disparity?

After the purported picture surfaced, neither Styles nor Wilde outright confirmed that they were in a relationship — but that didn’t stop heartbroken Directioners from speculating.

Since filming on Don’t Worry Darling wrapped in 2021, fans began to question why, in their opinion, Pugh wasn’t posting much about the movie and promoting it on social media in comparison to some of her projects. There was speculation she was trying to distance herself from the project. But if so, why?

Amidst claims that Pugh was unhappy with Styles’ and Wilde’s purported PDA on set, one especially popular but unverified theory was that Styles was being paid up to “three times more” than Pugh.

However, Wilde later rubbished those claims in a statement to Variety, saying, “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.”

Don’t Worry Darling drama explained: Was Shia LaBeouf fired?

As previously mentioned, Shia LaBeouf was originally meant to play Harry Styles’ character in Don’t Worry Darling. However, shortly after news broke that his ex, FKA Twigs, had filed a domestic abuse lawsuit against him, it emerged that LaBeouf was no longer attached to the film. The reason why he left, and whether he left by choice, was unclear for a long time.

Following an interview with Olivia Wilde on August 24, Variety claimed that LaBeouf was “fired” from the production. Wilde is then quoted in the outlet as saying, “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 added, “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.”

However, LaBeouf then got in touch with Variety a day later: claiming that he left the production of his own accord due to scheduling issues. According to the outlet, LaBeouf provided them with email correspondence between him and Wilde as well as an alleged video of Wilde begging him not to quit.

One purported email, which appears to have been written by LaBeouf to Wilde, reads, “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.”

Shortly after, the video referenced by Variety appeared to leak and circulate on social media. In the widely-shared clip, Wilde can be seen in her car, saying, “I feel like I’m not ready to give up on this yet, and I, too, am heartbroken, and I want to figure this out.” In the clip, she appears to suggest that there is tension between LaBeouf and Pugh.

“You know, 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,” she said. “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?”

Don’t Worry Darling drama explained: What happened at Venice Film Festival?

As the dust settles over these revelations, fans and keen body-language experts on social media have speculated that relations between the cast and Wilde have become strained. One clue was the fact that Pugh was unable to attend the press junket portion of the event and flew into Venice later just for the premiere.

Her representatives claimed that this was because the actor was preoccupied with filming commitments for Dune 2, but eagle-eyed fans pointed out that Timothee Chalamet, who also has a major role in the upcoming fantasy movie, was present for the whole Festival.

During the junket itself, one journalist claimed that they were blocked from asking Wilde about Shia LaBeouf’s most recent claims, although Wilde did take the opportunity to publicly state that there was no bad blood between herself and Pugh.

“Florence is a force, and we are so grateful that she is able to make it tonight despite being in production on Dune,” Wilde said during the press conference. “I know as a director how disruptive it is to lose an actor even for a day, so I’m very grateful to her and Denis Villeneuve for helping us  – we’re really thrilled we’ll get to celebrate her work tonight.”

She continued: “I can’t say enough how honoured I am to have her as our lead. She’s amazing in the film, and as for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, I mean, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute, I think it’s sufficiently well nourished.”

Since then, there haven’t been any direct responses from Wilde or Pugh about what’s going on, although Pugh’s purported stylist appeared to make a jab at Wilde with an Instagram post captioned “Miss Flo.”

Despite its lacklustre critical reception, Don’t Worry Darling had a four-minute standing ovation by the audience, cast, and crew — although Pugh reportedly left while people were still clapping.

From Pugh, Wilde, and Styles all sitting apart, to Styles appearing to give Wilde the silent treatment, fans have been breaking down the body language between the group and have speculated that the Shia saga may have led to trouble in paradise for Styles and Wilde too (that is, of course, if they’re even together).

That’s pretty much the latest in terms of the Don’t Worry Darling drama, but let’s also take a minute to appreciate our favourite Hollywood Chris, Chris Pine. Despite Harry Styles describing his filming experience “when a movie feels like a movie” and then allegedly spitting on him, Chris appeared to manage to (mostly) hold it together, albeit with the occasional dissociation.

The good news is, that sources close to Pine and Styles have denied claims that the former One Direction singer spat on the actor, so if anything, at least they’re having a good time.