In a new cover story for Vanity Fair, Wilde, 38, talks directing her new thriller Don't Worry Darling, which had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this week. In the interview, Wilde again praised Pugh, 26, and her performance while saying she wishes the highly publicized controversies surrounding the film wouldn't overshadow the actress' accomplishment.
"Florence's performance in this film is astounding. It's just baffling to me that the media would rather focus on baseless rumors and gossip, thereby overshadowing her profound talent," said Wilde. "She deserves more than that. As does the movie, and everyone who worked so hard on it."
Added Wilde, "Florence is one of the most in-demand actresses in the universe. ... I gather that some people expect for her to be engaging more on social media. I didn't hire her to post. I hired her to act. She fulfilled every single expectation I had of her. That's all that matters to me."
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About some reports that Pugh became frustrated with Wilde on set for being absent or distracted by now-boyfriend Harry Styles, who costars in the film, Wilde called the speculation sexist, per Vanity Fair. The rumor suggested Pugh had to direct herself at times while Wilde was allegedly preoccupied, which the director denied to the outlet.
"It is very rare that people assume the best from women in power. I think they don't often give us the benefit of the doubt," said Wilde, who made her directorial debut with 2019's Booksmart.
"Florence did the job I hired her to do, and she did it exquisitely. She blew me away. Every day I was in awe of her, and we worked very well together. It is ironic that now, with my second film — which is again about the incredible power of women, what we're capable of when we unite, and how easy it is to strip a woman of power by using other women to judge and shame them — we're talking about this."
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Cast of Don't Worry Darling (2022)
Wilde added, "The idea that I had five seconds in the day to be distracted by anything is laughable. I was there before everyone. I was there after everyone. And it was a dream. It's not like this work was not enjoyable. It was just all-encompassing."
The director also explained that she "supported" Pugh's acting process by giving her "space and to be there if she needed anything" since "I think she often just needed the time and space to focus."
At the Sept. 5 Venice press conference for Don't Worry Darling, Wilde praised Pugh and side-stepped a question about an alleged feud, saying, "The internet feeds itself. I don't need to contribute." Though Pugh was not present due to her schedule filming Dune: Part Two, she did arrive in time for the red carpet premiere that night, posing with Wilde and other costars.
On Instagram Wednesday, Pugh shared a group photo from the red carpet, tagging Wilde among the others, and writing that the "energy was incredible."
She wrote, "A massive congratulations to everyone standing on that carpet. We premiered in Venice! A huge wonderful win in itself. I'd never been to Venice Film Festival before.. It was mega! The crowds! The cheers! The energy was incredible."
"And to all the cast and crew as well who helped to make this movie, thank you for all of your hard work. We genuinely wouldn't have been there without your talent and we appreciate it hugely," added Pugh.
Don't Worry Darling is in theaters Sept. 23.