Despite audience praise and a lengthy standing ovation, Don't Worry Darling just can't catch a break.
As all of the who's who made their rounds at The Venice Film Festival, all eyes were on the Olivia Wilde-directed film that has been marred with controversy. Initial critic reaction was positive with many praising Florence Pugh's performance as an increasingly paranoid housewife, but the premiere was not without its bumps.
First up, we have #SpitGate which has gone viral thanks to some observant fans. When the film's star Harry Styles sat down for the screening, he peered over at co-star Chris Pine's lap. Pine looks down and his applause slows as he notices something below him. Naturally, people assumed Styles spit on him.
\u201csomeone needs to begin a full fledged investigation into what happened on that don\u2019t worry darling set\u2026 wdym harry styles spitting on chris pine on NATIONAL TELEVISION? \u201d— ceo of kory (@ceo of kory) 1662430050
Later on, Pine added himself to the meme pool after some photos and clips of the actor appearing disinterested at the film's press conference went viral.
Styles attempted to beat the queerbaiting allegations by engaging in a passionate kiss with Nick Kroll during the film's standing ovation.
And everyone's fave girl Miss Florence "Flo" Pugh rolled up to the red carpet after there were rumors she wouldn't show up. A clip of the actress being fashionably late and unbothered with a drink in hand has begun making the rounds on Twitter. Pugh, who has barely acknowledged the film on her social media, was not present for the press conference but did attend the premiere itself.
\u201cNot Olivia Wilde saying Florence Pugh couldn\u2019t make the the Don\u2019t Worry Darling press conference because of scheduling conflicts and her literally being in Venice at the same time with this energy \ud83d\udc51\ud83e\udd23 #DontWorryDarling\u201d— LOTVF (@LOTVF) 1662383728
Memes aside, the film has made headlines for the seemingly neverending amount of controversy. One of the biggest is the on set tension that sparked due to Styles and Wilde's relationship. Wilde, who is 10 years Styles' senior, made her highly publicized split from longtime partner Jason Sudeikis only months after production began on the film. Wilde was then served custody papers while onstage to promote the film at CinemaCon in April 2020. Despite some people attempting to spin it as a power play by her ex-husband, many were quick to point out that you are only served publicly if you avoid it. In an interview with Variety, family attorney David Glass explained, "It is a relatively simple process, and this type of service is generally uncalled for, unless the person has been evading service for some time, and this was the only way you could serve him or her."
Wilde and Styles would've never happened if Shia LaBeouf stayed on as the movie's leading man. In an interview with Variety, Wilde said, "His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. . . 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."
Wilde acknowledged the allegations made about LaBeouf's violent behavior and abuse by his ex-girlfriend FKA twigs, citing that as a reason why he was pulled from the film. Then, the actor fired back.
In a response to the Variety cover story, LaBeouf sent screenshots of texts between the Don't Worry Darling director and himself which appeared to suggest that he quit, contrary to Wilde's assertion that she fired him. The publication also posted a transcript of a video Wilde sent two days after LaBeouf quit the film:
"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. You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo[rence Pugh], and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us. 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?”
The video was then leaked.
\u201cSOMEONE HOLD ME BACK \n\n(the video olivia sent shia where she basically begged him to stay on the movie after ADMITTING that she knows shia makes florence uncomfortable)\u201d— percy \ud83c\udf0a || who the fuck is gonna stop us? (@percy \ud83c\udf0a || who the fuck is gonna stop us?) 1661532934
In an email the actor sent to Wilde after her cover story, he said:
"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 effects you, and that your film is successful in all the ways you want it to be."
In Venice, Hollywood Reporter journalist Alex Ritman attempted to ask Wilde about the situation, but the question was blocked by moderators.
\u201cWell, I just tried to ask Olivia Wilde a question about Shia LaBeouf at the DON'T WORRY DARLING press conference, but the festival wouldn't let me. #Venezia79\u201d— Alex Ritman (@Alex Ritman) 1662375278
Back to Pugh, the reported tension between her and Wilde has fueled a lot of rumors. Sources have said that the two had some creative and personal disagreements, hence the actress keeping a low profile on the film's press run. Among the supposed disagreements was the discomfort of seeing Styles and Wilde laying the PDA on thick during filming and the film's sex scenes.
In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Pugh responded to the film's racy trailer: "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. It’s not why I’m in this industry. Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. 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.”
With only a few weeks to go until the September 23 release of Don't Worry Darling, let's hope we get no further revelations.
Photo by Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage/Getty
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