As “Don’t Worry Darling” arrives in theaters Friday as 2022’s “hottest movie mess,” a new report offers another look at the dysfunctional production with allegations Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh were “screaming” at each other because director Wilde allegedly made herself scarce from the set to be with new boyfriend, Harry Styles.
As Vulture also reported, the psychological sci-fi thriller, set in a 1950s suburban utopia and starring Pugh and Styles as wife and husband, arrives with uncertain box office prospects. That’s because of poor reviews and negative publicity about the behind-the-scenes drama involving Wilde, Pugh, Wilde’s romance with Styles, and the director’s controversial statements about why she replaced troubled actor Shia LaBeouf with Styles.
Over the past couple of weeks, Wilde has tried to downplay reports of a feud with Pugh, telling Stephen Colbert on his show Wednesday night, “I have nothing but respect for Florence’s talent.” She also said, “I have nothing against her for any reason.”
Wilde also suggested to Colbert that people are wrongly looking for drama “anywhere they can,” seemingly referring to her possible feud with Pugh.
Pugh has refused to do more than the barest minimum of media appearances in support of the film, which Vulture said “has been parsed as confirmation of her animus toward Wilde.”
An anonymous source confirmed conflicts on the set to Vulture. The source, who spent significant time on the set, said that “a blowout argument” between Pugh and Wilde took place in January 2021, about three-quarters of the way through filming.
Pugh may have been sympathetic to Jason Suidekis, Wilde’s now ex-fiancé. There are conflicting reports about when Wilde and the “Ted Lasso” star broke up. Last year, Sudeikis told GQ that the relationship ended in November 2020, about a month after filming for the “Stepford Wives”-style thriller began in Los Angeles.
Two months later, Wilde was photographed holding Styles’ hand at a friend’s wedding in Santa Barbara. People across the internet took Sudeikis’ timeline to be his way of suggesting that the relationships overlapped, Vanity Fair said.
More of Olivia wilde at Harry’s last show in NYC tonight ✨
Via Sskye96 pic.twitter.com/28tGt4wrqw
— Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde updates🍋🍋 (@Holiviaa1) September 22, 2022
In response to speculation that she was unfaithful to Sudeikis, Wilde told Vanity Fair earlier this month that their “relationship was over long before” meeting Styles on the “Don’t Worry Darling” set. A bitter custody battle also has broken out between Wilde and Sudeikis over custody of the two young children they share.
Pugh had other concerns about Wilde and Styles getting together, Vulture reported. She grew fed up with the director’s frequent unexplained absences.
“Olivia and Harry would just disappear,” the source told Vulture, confirming earlier reports from Page Six and the industry newsletter, The Puck. The breaking point came when Pugh and Wilde broke into a “screaming match,” the source told Vulture.
The acrimony between Wilde and Pugh allegedly reached “all the way to the top of the studio totem pole,” with the highest-ranking Warner Bros. executive at the time, Toby Emmerich, forced to play referee in a “long negotiation process” to ensure Pugh would participate in the film’s life cycle “in any way” and not jeopardize the potential box office, Vulture reported.
Vulture said that representatives for Wilde, Pugh and Emmerich had no comment on what this source said about the women feuding.
An anonymous executive “with knowledge of the situation” told Vulture that top Warner Bros. executives “are ultimately unhappy with how Wilde has handled DWD promotional duties — specifically with regard to how she’s discussed LaBeouf’s departure from the film in interviews.”
With regard to Wilde’s statements about LaBeouf, she never used the word “fired” when she talked to Variety about how he came to be replaced by Styles as the film’s male lead. She said she replaced him to to “protect the cast” from his “combative energy.”
Wilde’s remarks prompted LaBeouf to defend himself in a way that went viral and prompted more tabloid headlines. LaBeouf, seeking to redeem his reputation following arrests and domestic violence allegations made by his ex-girlfriend, FKA Twigs, shared an email which indicated that he and Wilde mutually agreed to part ways because he and the other actors couldn’t get time to rehearse.
LaBeouf also shared a video online, which immediately hurt Wilde’s efforts to position herself as a crusading feminist filmmaker who goes out of her way to protect her cast. It showed the director beg the actor to return to the project and patronizingly refer to Pugh as “Miss Flo.” Wilde suggested that Pugh may be the one who in need of an attitude adjustment by saying this “might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo.”
SOMEONE HOLD ME BACK
(the video olivia sent shia where she basically begged him to stay on the movie after ADMITTING that she knows shia makes florence uncomfortable) pic.twitter.com/ihlHOQlF6B
— percy 🌊 || do you know who you are? (@percystardust) August 26, 2022
Another source close to the production told Vulture that Wilde’s comments about LaBeouf and other issues related to “Don’t Worry Darling” show that she is “either a mad genius who figured out a way to make people more aware of the movie in a way that just drives up the box office, or she doesn’t have any self-awareness that she is (expletive) up her movie.”
Vulture predicted that a poorly reviewed movie like “Don’t Worry Darling” can still fill theaters. “There is always the outside chance that audiences turn out if for no other reason than a morbid sense of curiosity,” Vulture said.
Styles’ fans — who make up the film’s primary constituency, executives have told Vulture — won’t be happy if they realize how little the former boy-band star appears in the movie. The fans will feel short-changed, and the studio can expect a steep second-weekend drop-off and “may have a rocky road reaching profitability,” Vulture said.
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