Olivia Wilde’s sophomore film, Don’t Worry Darling, has been making headlines since it began production all the way back in 2020, and not always for the right reasons. It started when Wilde fired Shia LaBeouf not long after filming began, and subsequently replaced the controversial actor with Harry Styles. Of course, the pop star’s casting led to a whole other slew of headlines, including the relationship that formed between him and the director. Now, as we approach the long-awaited premiere of Darling at next month’s Venice Film Festival, the rumors continue to go strong, encircling the three biggest names on the film. When did Styles and Wilde initially hook up? How did the movie’s star, Florence Pugh, feel about it? And what is the relationship like between Pugh and Wilde now? Here’s what all three have said about their experience on Darling.
For her part, Wilde has been very outspoken when it comes to discussing her film, which makes sense, considering it’s...well, her film. She has praised Styles’ and Pugh’s acting on many occasions. Most notably, the actress-turned-director shared an Instagram dedicated to Pugh, which showed Wilde watching one of the actress’ scenes. “Watching this woman work was such a fucking thrill!” Wilde wrote as the caption. Pugh never acknowledged the post.
In fact, for awhile, as Wilde promoted the film tirelessly, Pugh did not reciprocate, never mentioning Darling on her social media. Fans took note when, Pugh remained silent the day one of the trailers for the film came out, instead opting to share the poster for her other upcoming film, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, instead.
Since then, though, Pugh has broken her Darling silence, sharing a poster for the movie on social media. And now, Page Six is reporting that the Oppenheimer debacle was simply poor timing. “I heard she was already scheduled to post [about Oppenheimer] that day for some specific reason, it had nothing to do with a response to Olivia,” a source said.
Others, though, think Pugh is taking her frustration about Wilde out on the movie. Another source claimed to Page Six that Pugh didn’t like seeing Styles and Wilde “all over each other on set” as Wilde was still with her ex, Jason Sudekis at the time, who happens to be a friend of Pugh’s recent ex, Zach Braff. That rumor could be contested, however, as the timeline for Wilde’s breakup and her subsequent hookup with Styles remains pretty up in the air.
Others think Pugh doesn’t like Wilde’s very sex-focused narrative when it comes to the film. The director has been extremely outspoken about the role sex plays in Darling. Back in April, Wilde discussed the film at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, where she commented that there isn’t any “good sex” in film anymore and Darling would change that.
“Men don’t come in this film,” Wilde said recently in an interview with Variety. “Only women here!” She continued, saying that the sex between Pugh and Styles’ characters in the film is “integral to the story itself and how the audience is meant to connect to them.” Pugh, though, doesn’t seem to agree.
“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,” she said in an interview with Harpers Bazaar. “It’s not why I’m in this industry...That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.” It’s also notable that Pugh doesn’t speak about working with Wilde in her interview, though Wilde praises the actress repeatedly in her Variety piece (a story Pugh declined to be interviewed for, by the way, though she was filming Dune: Part 2 at the time).
“I had been blown the fuck away by her,” Wilde said of Pugh in Midsommar, the film that convinced Wilde to cast the actress in Darling. “I loved the film, but I loved her. I was just like, ‘Well, she’s extraordinary. She’s clearly the most exciting young actress working today.’”
Wilde did also (kind of) comment on the rumors circulating around Darling, specifically that Styles was paid over three times more than Pugh, though it seems like Wilde was talking about the rumors as a whole in the process. “There has been a lot out there that I largely don’t pay attention to,” she wrote in an e-mail to Variety. “But the absurdity of invented clickbait and subsequent reaction regarding a nonexistent pay disparity between our lead and supporting actors really upset me...There is absolutely no validity to those claims.”
Styles, meanwhile, has mostly stayed out of the alleged drama, not commenting on any aspect of it in his own recent feature for Rolling Stone, which at this point, seems like the smart move. That is, of course, assuming any of this is actually real and not just a conspiracy created by the media and the DeuxMoi-obsessed.