I’m just going to be upfront: There is zero way I can tell you absolutely everything about the Don’t Worry Darling drama. Even if I managed to fit every last detail into a single document, something new would happen between the moment my finger hit the publish button and when you read the article.
But I’ll get you as up to speed as possible on this nonsense.
Here’s what you need to know.
Don’t Worry Darling is the second film directed by Olivia Wilde, and it’s a highly anticipated movie after the success of her debut Booksmart. It’s got a star-studded cast featuring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Nick Kroll, and Gemma Chan. It had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend.
The film has been plagued with drama and controversy pretty much since Day 1. Actor Shia LaBeouf was originally slated to star in the film in Styles’ role. LaBeouf is a notably intense actor and personality, and there were reportedly tensions on set. Soon enough, he was gone. Note: This was before disturbing allegations of abuse against LaBeouf from former girlfriend FKA Twigs.
Wilde has since said LaBeouf was fired and that he had combative energy on set. He denied that he was let go while also providing materials that..well…only increased the drama. He shared a video in which Wilde appears to ask him to come back to the production. In the video, Wilde calls Pugh a nickname that sounds a bit demeaning.
“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,” Wilde says in the video. “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?”
The relationship between Pugh and Wilde has been watched closely because things seem icy. There were rumors of a pay gap that Wilde shut down. Page Six also reported Pugh was upset that Wilde and now-boyfriend Styles were openly fawning over each other on set. Oh yes, sorry I forgot to mention: Wilde and Styles are dating, and their romance started on set of the film. An anonymous source alleged to Page Six that Wilde might’ve been moving on with Styles before the break-up with her longtime partner Jason Sudeikis. Apparently, Pugh wasn’t cool with it all.
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OK, so with all that in mind, everyone watched everything Pugh did. And, well, she didn’t seem to be too enthused with the film or Wilde. At least that’s according to people who spend far too much time online. People noticed Pugh didn’t post about the movie on her social media account when the trailer dropped. Wilde has been nothing but complimentary of Pugh, but the actress has largely said nothing at all about the director. Posts about the making the film or promoting it heaped praise on anyone but the director. Seriously, Pugh praised “the grips, the gaffer, the electrics, set PA’s, sound mixer, prop masters, location scouts, location manager, production designer” etc., but not Wilde.
Now everyone is parsing the Pugh, Wilde relationship with a fine-tooth comb. For instance, Pugh might’ve turned away from Wilde at the Venice Film Festival as the audience gave the movie a standing ovation. Honestly. it kind of feels like a stretch, but the point is people are watching closely.
Meanwhile, some folks online have questioned the acting we’ve seen thus far from Styles. His accent does seem, let’s say, a bit unplaceable in the trailers. But it does seem a bit weird to judge the film before it’s even reached the public. But this film, clearly, is the subject of so much attention.
Things got weird in Venice
All these factors considered, Don’t Worry Darling has basically become a meme factory in Venice. First there were memes about Pine. Dude seems to be on a different plane of existence the entire festival — at times zoning out and looking beautifully into the distance.
Then there was the kiss and the (potential) spit.
OK, the next bit of drama was about spit. Online sleuths have broken down video where Styles maybe, possibly hocks a loogie on Pine? Styles does appear to purse his lips, and Pine does make a what the hell facial expression. Now if there is alleged beef between the two, I don’t know about it. But anyway here is the video. Here it is slowed down like the goddamn Zapruder film.
My two cents? It’s tough to see if Styles actually spit. Some folks seem to think Pine was zoned out and discovered his glasses on his lap, which he had perhaps been looking for.
After the spit incident (spitcident?) went viral, there was full-throated denial that any loogie was exchanged between the actors.
“This is a ridiculous story — a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation,” a rep for Pine told Variety. “Just to be clear, Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine. There is nothing but respect between these two men and any suggestion otherwise is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist.”
This statement, of course, will likely do nothing to stop people from theorizing because the internet is the internet.
What’s it all mean?
First and foremost, the internet loves gossip, drama, tea, etc. The film was destined for this kind of attention. Famous actress/director leaves famous husband then — soon after or before the breakup, depending on who you ask — shacks up with one of the biggest pop stars alive? Come on. That’s tabloid gold. Their romance has been under constant scrutiny, so of course their project together would be put under the same lens. Right or wrong, that’s the truth.
Then, of course, there was other, very real drama on top of it all. But the internet loves digging. It loves theories and conspiracies and obsessing. With lots of famous people and lots of mess, Don’t Worry Darling is perfect for all that nonsense. I mean Styles is about as beloved as any pop star alive. He just released an uber-popular album. Folks love Wilde. People love Pugh. Hell, the internet is in love with Sudeikis ever since he donned the Lasso-stache.
Even if there weren’t drama, the internet would be inventing it for Don’t Worry Darling. Perhaps we are inventing some of it. Or maybe Styles did spit on Pine. Maybe Pugh does dislike Wilde.
All I know for sure is that the gossip is going to continue apace for some time. The movie doesn’t release until Sept. 23.
UPDATE: Sep. 6, 2022, 4:02 p.m. EDT This article has been updated to include a statement from Chris Pine’s rep denying the allegation that Harry Styles spat on the actor. Yes, that is a real update and real sentence.