Don’t Worry Darling Drama

Ava Brenden, Staffer

Olivia Wilde’s second major film “Don’t Worry Darling” has been an exciting up and coming film within the movie industry since its initial pitch. Wilde’s major directorial debut “Booksmart” was extremely successful, and many critics and audiences alike were dying to see this psychological thriller come to life. Unfortunately for both the movie and Wilde, at some point, the focus of the movie’s publicity seemed to shift away from the actual movie itself and more to the people involved in making it. Namely, the cast. From the jump, “Don’t Worry Darling” had a star-studded cast. The initial cast was Shia LaBeouf, Chris Pine, Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde herself as the leads, with Gemma Chan and KiKi Layne respectively joining the cast a few months later. Five months later, Shia LaBeouf announced that he would be dropping out of the film due to supposed “scheduling conflicts,” though what those conflicts were remains to be seen. LaBeouf was replaced by none other than Harry Styles, the one and only pop icon, who had only just begun to dabble into the world of acting. From there, things were supposed to be smooth sailing; a cast member was replaced, as things do happen, and filming would remain on track. Only, things did not stop there. 

At some point during the filming process, Wilde and Styles ended up in a relationship. Though their relationship didn’t go public until January of 2021, numerous reports corroborate that their relationship began well before then, possibly even overlapping slightly with Wilde’s previous marriage to Jason Sudeikis. Though both deny these claims, sources have reported that Wilde and Styles have been linked since January of 2020, with Wilde and Sudeikis’ marriage ending sometime in the beginning of 2020. But wait, things get better. 

Following Styles’ casting in the film, rumors began to circulate that it was not the “scheduling” conflicts but rather personal conflicts that lead to LaBeouf’s demise in the film. LaBeouf is no stranger to violent accusations, even toeing the line to admitting to abusing his ex-girlfriend. Rumors began to circulate that LaBeouf was “clashing” with the cast and crew, which resulted in him being fired. Eventually, Wilde corroborated these rumors, describing LaBeouf as “combative” and “not conducive with the ethos” she required. In other words, Wilde said she had fired LaBeouf out of safety for the cast and crew. You think it would end there, that everyone would just nod and say, “Yep, that sounds like Shia.” 

Following the accusations of being “combative,” LaBeouf decided to respond by leaking videos sent to him from Wilde and saying that he left the film due to rehearsal time issues. In the video, Wilde is seen asking LaBeouf to reconsider the film, saying that she “isn’t ready to give up on this yet,” and then later calling the presumed situation a potential “wake-up call for Miss Flo,” referring to lead actress Florence Pugh, who hasn’t even dipped her toes into the controversy yet. The demeaning tone combined with the complete contradictory message led many viewers to doubt the validity of Wilde’s claims, which perpetuated the issue. 

Outside of all this controversy rose another, perhaps subtler, outlet of drama: Florence Pugh. As alluded to earlier, Pugh has largely been quiet throughout all of the swirling dissension around her. Though referenced in the infamous Wilde video, Pugh never commented on the casting replacement, or Styles or LaBeouf individually. Fans began to notice that Pugh did not promote “Don’t Worry Darling” on her social media platforms, or go out of her way to participate in any of the press conferences, which is unusual for an actress as famous as she is doing a movie as well-known as her movie this. Rumors have circulated from unknown sources that Pugh and Wilde often fought on set, regarding both Wilde’s relationship with Styles and other aspects of the movie. While none of this has been confirmed, speculation surrounding why Pugh seems to be distancing herself from the film is certainly still up for debate. 

That somewhat concludes the drama that has followed this highly anticipated movie. As for this meltdown of a production, I, for one, have been thoroughly entertained to say the least. Though I’m looking forward to the movie coming out, I’m a little sad that the drama will eventually end too. To use an overused metaphor– “Don’t Worry Darling” is a trainwreck, and I can’t look away.