Olivia Wilde’s highly-anticipated film Don’t Worry Darling hasn’t even dropped yet and it’s pretty much all anyone can talk about.
In case you somehow missed it, Wilde’s second directorial film Don’t Worry Darling has been plagued by behind-the-scenes drama and rampant tabloid stories from pretty much the first moment the cast and crew started filming. The rumors have included everything from a possible on-set affair to an alleged feud between Wilde and the film’s star Florence Pugh, to name a few.
In fact, the movie’s press tour has been so completely and utterly hijacked by the rumor mill that you probably don’t even know what the film is about. It centers on a 1950s housewife (Pugh) whose picture-perfect husband (Harry Styles) starts working on a seemingly suspicious project at work. You can watch the trailer below.
In order to bring the focus back to the film, we investigated some of the biggest rumors to see if we could determine fact from fiction. Read the results of our investigation below.
The Rumor: Harry Styles Was Paid 3X More Than Florence Pugh
What sparked our interest in the recent outpouring of clickbait-style headlines regarding Olivia Wilde and her upcoming film was when news hit social media that Harry Styles was paid much more than the film’s star, Florence Pugh. Olivia Wilde is an outspoken feminist, so it was surprising and upsetting to read that a female director would allow such an injustice to occur.
— Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde updates🍋🍋 (@Holiviaa1) September 6, 2022
But don’t believe everything you read. Wilde told Variety that there was no truth to the rumor. She said,
“There has been a lot out there that I largely don’t pay attention to. But the absurdity of invented clickbait and subsequent reaction regarding a nonexistent pay disparity between our lead and supporting actors really upset me.”
“I’m a woman who has been in this business for over 20 years, and it’s something that I have fought for myself and others, especially being a director. There is absolutely no validity to those claims.”
False. Obviously, there’s no way of 100% verifying what Wilde told Variety but we’ll go ahead and give her the benefit of the doubt here.
Additionally, the site that originally posted the news that Pugh earned $700,000 to Styles’ $2.5 million has failed to provide any sources proving the information is accurate. File this under fake news.
The Rumor: Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles Had an Affair While She Was Still Married
Olivia Wilde was still married to Jason Sudeikis when Don’t Worry Darling began filming in late summer 2020. In November 2020, Sudeikis and Wilde announced they had “split amicably” sometime earlier in the year.
The following January, Wilde was spotted attending a friend’s wedding with Harry Styles as her date.
— Olivia Wilde Source 🎬 (@AllAbout0livia) September 7, 2022
In reality, Wilde’s relationships are her own. But considering that this relationship may or may not have led to the alleged feud between Pugh and Wilde (we’ll address that later), it’s a bit hard to ignore.
A so-called “insider” told Page Six,
“I can tell you for a fact that Flo seeing Olivia and Harry all over each other on set did not go down well as Olivia was still with Jason when she first hooked up with Harry.”
Making things even more awkward, Sudeikis allegedly visited Wilde several times on set, making the Pugh extremely uncomfortable, especially given her friendship with Sudeikis.
However, other than the anonymous sources obtained by tabloids like Page Six, there’s not much else to back up the claims.
Unsubstantiated. Neither Wilde nor Styles have confirmed this alleged affair and no further proof has come up. As it stands, it’s hard to say one way or the other whether this rumor holds any weight.
The Rumor: Olivia Wilde Fired Shia LaBeouf From the Film to Protect Florence Pugh
Oh, where to start… Shia LaBeouf and Florence Pugh were announced as the original stars of the Don’t Worry Darling project in early 2020. Then, rumors started circulating that LaBeouf had been fired from the film and replaced with Harry Styles.
Initially, it was blamed on scheduling conflicts, until the “firing” was eventually confirmed by Wilde in an August 2022 interview. Wilde told Variety,
“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work. His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. 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. That was my job.”
“Particularly with a movie like this, I knew that I was going to be asking Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was making her feel safe and making her feel supported.”
It should also be noted that it was only a few months later that LaBeouf was sued by ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs for domestic abuse and sexual battery. Once the details of the disturbing domestic abuse emerged, many fans assumed Wilde had indeed fired him for creating an unsafe environment in order to stick to her “No Asshole Policy.”
It all lined up.
Then, LaBeouf decided to drop the receipts.
The actor sent screenshots to Variety of what he claims are text messages and emails between Wilde and himself that prove he quit the film and was not fired, as Wilde claims.
The key piece of evidence however is a video that Wilde sent to LaBeouf of her seemingly pleading with the actor to come back to the film in hopes of working things out. According to the video, it seemed that LaBeouf’s main reason for leaving the film was a conflict with Pugh.
here is the video of olivia telling shia she wants to work it out and that if “miss flo” could “commit” more than it could happen.
please ignore that hashtag on the video I didn’t put it there. pic.twitter.com/vAQPBqPRYE
— sophia (@hellopugh) August 26, 2022
In the video, Wilde says,
“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, 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?”
Her dismissive reference to Florence Pugh as “Miss Flo” garnered so much attention it began trending on Twitter.
Given LaBeouf’s receipts, it seems like Wilde has completely fabricated the “firing” narrative.
And, as if the lying wasn’t bad enough, it’s also upsetting to see Wilde’s attitude toward Pugh in the video, especially following Wilde’s effusive celebration of Pugh’s acting in the film on social media posts and in interviews with various publications.
It also speaks to a concerning element that Wilde, an outspoken feminist, knew LaBeouf’s method acting techniques were damaging to fellow cast members but still desperately wanted him to stay on. Big yikes.
The Rumor: There’s an Ongoing Feud Between Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh
We’re the first to roll our eyes when news reports drop another tabloid story about two successful, confident, and talented women “feuding” on set. But, unfortunately, this time it looks like it could be true.
The alleged “feuding” seems to have started around the same time as rehearsals, which is also when Pugh and LaBeouf most likely started having issues.
Considering the video of Wilde released by LaBeouf, it doesn’t seem like Wilde sided with Pugh, referring to LaBeouf’s exit as a possible “wake-up call for Miss Flo.”
— Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde updates🍋🍋 (@Holiviaa1) September 6, 2022
Then there are the rumors of the affair on set. Given Pugh’s friendship with Sudekeis, it’s more than likely she wasn’t the biggest fan of this relationship.
Pugh even appeared to call out Wilde in an August 2022 interview with Harper’s Bazaar. In particular, Pugh seemed most frustrated with Wilde’s decision to release teasers of the sex scenes. She told the magazine,
“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… 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.”
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And while Wilde sang Pugh’s praises on social media and in various news reports, Pugh stayed relatively silent on social media rather than promoting the upcoming film as she’s done for other projects.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) September 5, 2022
Then, after confirming she would only be doing press for Don’t Worry Darling at the Venice Film Festival, Pugh decided at the last minute not to participate in the film’s press conference, choosing to only walk the red carpet for the film’s premiere.
It’s also been noted that Pugh seemingly purposefully avoided eye contact with Wilde during the 4-minute standing ovation the film received at the festival. Then, of course, there’s the messiness of Pugh’s stylist hinting at the alleged feud with his Instagram post of Pugh looking stunning in her dress for the premiere with the notable caption, “Miss Flo.”
View this post on Instagram
Although Wilde has denied any rumors of a feud and Pugh hasn’t commented publicly, it seems this rumor might have legs to stand on.
While it’s unfortunate that the off-screen feuding and rumors have overshadowed the film entirely, we will say that the rumors are what enticed us to watch the trailer. To our surprise, it looks promising, but we have a bad feeling it’s the rumors — true or not — that will be remembered best.