‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Stars Awkwardly/Reluctantly Promote Film at Venice Premiere

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"Don't Worry Darling" Red Carpet - 79th Venice International Film Festival - Credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
"Don't Worry Darling" Red Carpet - 79th Venice International Film Festival - Credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Florence Pugh made it to the Venice Film Festival in time for the premiere of Don’t Worry Darling, and while the actress didn’t participate in the pre-screening press conference, there were still plenty of awkward non-moments between her and the film’s director, Olivia Wilde.

Pugh walked the festival’s red carpet with the rest of the Don’t Worry Darling team Monday, and while she posed for whole group shots as well as photos with co-stars Gemma Chan, Sydney Chandler, Chris Pine and Nick Kroll, Pugh and Wilde were not photographed alone together (nor did Pugh pose for pictures with Harry Styles), Variety reports.

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The weird vibes continued into the screening, where Wilde and Pugh were seated three people apart. Despite the film’s less-than-glowing reviews — the embargoes for which were lifted soon before the screening — Don’t Worry Darling still received a four-minute ovation from the Venice Film Festival audience; however, for the first three minutes of the applause, Pugh did not make any eye contact or acknowledge Wilde, and the actress reportedly exited the theater before the ovation ended.

Prior to the screening, Wilde and (some of) her Don’t Worry Darling cast appeared at a pre-premiere press conference at the Venice Film Festival, where the director sidestepped — and the moderator shut down — questions pertaining to the controversies surrounding the upcoming film.

While Harry Styles, Chris Pine and Gemma Chan were in attendance for the press conference, notably absent was star Pugh, who has done little in terms of promoting Don’t Worry Darling amid rumors she was unhappy with Wilde and Styles’ on-set relationship, as well as the revelation of the true nature of Shia LaBeouf’s exit from the film. Pugh is currently shooting Dune: Part 2.

When asked about Pugh’s absence from the press conference, Wilde responded (via The Hollywood Reporter), “Florence is a force. We are so grateful she’s able to make it tonight [for the red carpet]. I’m grateful to her, and to [Dune director Denis Villeneuve] for helping us. I can’t say how honored I am to have her as our lead.”

The director continued, “As for all the endless tabloid gossip out there, the Internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute. I think it’s sufficiently well nourished.”

The Hollywood Reporter then attempted to ask about LaBeouf’s departure — he was initially cast in the Styles’ role, but was either fired (as Wilde claimed) or quit (as LaBeouf proved) — the panel’s moderator shut down the question, saying Wilde “already answered that” when addressing the “internet noise.”

As people on social media noted, Pine looked especially reluctant to be involved in the promotional tour. And if he wasn’t ready to throw in the towel then, he definitely is now that the press cycle has shifted towards even more chaotic internet noise centered around an absurd question: Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?

The answer is no, probably not, or at least not on purpose. Nevertheless, a clip from inside the theater where Pine was positioned as a seat buffer in between Wilde and Styles shows the singer sitting down next to the actor who visibly reacts to something. It half looks like Pine was waiting to see if the couple would speak after Styles’ own apparent avoidance of the director on the red carpet, but the longer the clip loops, the more plausible spitgate becomes.

It’s doubtful that Styles, who cruised through the press day laughing at odd times and describing Don’t Worry Darling as “a movie that feels like a movie,” would have concocted the villainous plan to spit on anyone – and it’s even more of a stretch to believe that Pine would have quietly accepted being on the receiving end of such an act.

But before spitgate ever brought itself into existence, Styles — who wrote a key piece of music for the psychological drama — fielded a question about the self-feeding Internet and social media, noting that “There’s a lot of negative sides, they’re pretty obvious for anyone to see. But it’s always important to remember there are positive things happening in the world because of it as well.”

Following its Venice premiere, Don’t Worry Darling will open Sept. 23 in theaters nationwide.

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