Watch: Beef with LaBeouf? Spitting Stars? Feuding with Flo? 'Don't Worry Darling' Director Addresses Rumors

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday September 22, 2022

"Don't Worry Darling" director Olivia Wilde stopped by "The Late Show," and addressed the rumors that have gotten people worked up about the film's supposed behind-the-scenes drama.

The Hollywood Reporter detailed that Wilde appeared on the show on Sept. 21, and gave her account of various purported imbroglios. "The Late Show" posted several clips on Twitter from Wilde's appearance.

The film was initially set to star Shia LaBeouf, but he was replaced by British pop star Harry Styles. Wilde had said she fired the actor, but LaBeouf said that the decision to leave was his, and Wilde had tried to coax him to stay, sharing texts to bolster his claims.

Wilde stuck by her story, which is that LaBeouf and main female lead Florence Pugh were not a good fit and one or the other was bound to leave the project.

"Once it became clear that it was not a tenable working relationship, I was given an ultimatum," Wilde said, THR recounted. Wilde added: "I chose my actress, which I'm very happy I did. At the time, was I bummed that we weren't able to make it work? Sure. Did information about him come to light later that made me confident we made the right decision? Absolutely."

Wilde later denied there was any feud between herself and Pugh, which had been the speculation given that Pugh had not been part of a press conference ahead of the film's premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Pugh did attend the film's screening at the festival, but accounts suggested the two did not interact with one another.

THR relayed that Wilde had this to say about Pugh: "I have nothing but respect for Florence's talent," she told Colbert. "She's fantastic. She's on the set of her movie 'Dune' right now, and there's nothing cooler than a busy actress. I have nothing against her in for any reason."

Between times, Wilde dove into the most fervent of the rumors about the cast's supposed infighting: that Styles had sent a spit wad flying at co-star Chris Pine before taking a seat next to him at the film's Venice screening.

"Another one of our weird rumors, Spit-Gate, which you might have heard about, is I think..."

Colbert interjected, asking the question she had begun proactively answering: "Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine? Why or why not? Support your answer."

Wilde stated, "No, he did not. But I think it's a perfect example of, like, people will look for drama anywhere they can."

"Pine's team previously issued a statement emphatically denying that Styles spat on him," THR recalled. "Additionally, Styles poked fun at the debate during a recent performance at Madison Square Garden."

Wilde pointed to her being a female director as a reason for the rumors around the film arguably exciting more interest than the movie itself, especially in light of tepid reviews. Saying there are "very different standards that are created for women and men in the world at large," Wilde said that if the film had a male director, "People would actually be talking about the movie itself" rather than rumors of behind-the-camera friction that have little or no evidence to substantiate them.

Male directors, Wilde noted, are "praised for being tyrannical. They can be investigated time and time again, it still doesn't overtake conversations of their actual talent or about the film themselves."

"Don't Worry Darling" was released in theaters on Sept. 22. Watch the trailer below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.