Olivia Wilde says it was 'shocking to see so many untruths' about herself in 'Don't Worry Darling' drama narrative

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Olivia Wilde rejects the notion that, as a public figure, she's somehow "accepted that your life will be torn to shreds by a pack of wolves."

Olivia Wilde (Photo: Cass Bird/Elle)
Director and actress Olivia Wilde is being honored as one of Elle magazine's "Women in Hollywood." (Photo: Cass Bird/Elle)

The Don't Worry Darling director and actress is being honored as one of Elle magazine's "Women in Hollywood." She did a photoshoot with the outlet — exposing her breast, with a gold heart nipple cover, in a Gucci ensemble in one cover image — and used the interview to get candid about life under a "microscope." She expressed disappointment about the "sideshow" that overshadowed her film, which was No. 1 at the box office opening weekend last month, and the "untruths" told about her. She also spoke about the judgment she faces as a single mom after splitting from Jason Sudeikis and dating her DWD star Harry Styles.

Wilde spoke of the DWD drama in the headlines for the last few months — which included a reported feud with star Florence Pugh, a back and forth over whether Shia LaBeouf was fired, spitgate and being served by Sudeikis on stage at CinemaCon, to name a few — and said she was sad everything has been "minimized into bite-size TikTok points." While the film was ultimately successful at the box office, she didn't plan to "throw myself into the flames for the movie," she quipped.

All the gossip overshadowed her art, she said.

"This film is trying to ask big questions," she said of the thriller which focuses on a 1950s housewife (Pugh) living with her husband (Styles) in a utopian experimental community, "but [it's] 'Let's just focus on this sideshow over here. Having been a known figure for a while ... makes me well-equipped to have a Teflon exterior. But it also means that you're under a different kind of microscope. It's brought my attention to the media and how it pits women against one another."

Wilde called it "shocking to see so many untruths about yourself traded as fact."

Throughout the interview, she had nothing but praise for Pugh, who hasn't addressed the rumors of a rift. She referred to Pugh's quotes about the movie more than once.

"Florence had a really wise comment that we didn't sign up for a reality show," Wilde said. "And I love that she put it that way, because it's as though the general public feels that if you are making something that you're selling to the public, you somehow have accepted that your life will be torn to shreds by a pack of wolves. No, that's actually not part of the job description. Never was."

She also agreed with Pugh's comments pertaining to the film's sex scenes. (In August, Pugh criticized the reaction to the trailer, saying, "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... [This movie is] bigger and better than that." Though it was also interpreted that Pugh didn't like the way the trailer was cut, focusing on the sex scene between her and Styles, in a perceived slight toward Wilde.)

"Florence very wisely pointed out that a lot of attention has been given to the sex scenes," Wilde said, "and I think she's so right. I completely agree with her that it's overshadowing everything else that the movie’s about... I was so happy that she said that because I feel the same way."

Wilde also talked about her directing process — and her infamous "'no a**holes' policy" on the set.

“I think that the greatest demonstration of power is the ability to listen and to maintain your cool when everything inevitably falls apart, and to make other people feel empowered," the Booksmart director said of what she brings to the set in a male-dominated industry. "My 'no a**holes' policy comes from being an actress, seeing so many f***ing a**holes on set and how it never made us do better work. It's something that I take very seriously, and we let go of people who aren’t kind all the time... I think it should be the expectation of the workplace. We don't say, 'My set's a no sexual assault set.'"

Wilde revealed that while working on the script, they were inspired by former President Trump — but not in she's gonna start wearing a MAGA hat kind of way. She explained that they put a bunch of his quotes up, ones demonstrating his "gross tendency ... to be very nostalgic about a better time." Those words were a guide as they brought to life this society under Chris Pine's cult leader character. "What these men are referring to is a time that was horrific for anyone who wasn't a straight white cis man," she said. "It was interesting to recognize that I had spent my entire life lusting after the iconography of this time when I would've had very few rights."

She also spoke about Roe v. Wade being overturned just before the film came out.

"We knew about the movement to overthrow Roe long before we started making the film," she said. "It's something that's ever-present. I have been very involved in the pro-choice movement, and it’s introduced me to probably the ugliest, most depressing element of our culture in terms of [certain pro-life advocates] who have made vicious, violent threats against me. I mean, no one else has threatened to throw acid on my face other than a "pro-life mom.'"

That brought her to social media — and the way people are so judgmental and mean, especially to females in the public eye. Wilde, who is 10 years older than her pop superstar beau, says she's constantly hit with hateful comments about her appearance.

"It's so interesting for me when that comes from women because I'm like, ‘Do you plan on not getting older? Or if you already are older, do you feel that you don't deserve the same opportunities in life?'" she said. "It's so sad to me to look at that and realize people have such small expectations for their own lives and they are projecting those expectations onto me. And I reject your projections."

Wilde also rejected the commentary on her life as she navigates co-parenting with Sudeikis, whom she only refers to as "my ex" in the interview amid their contentious split. They have a split custody arrangement, with their kids, Otis and Daisy, going back and forth between them each week, and when she's out without her kids — like on a date with her famous partner or at once of his concerts — she faces scathing criticism.

"If I’m photographed not with my kids, people assume I have abandoned them, like my kids are just somewhere in a hot car without me," she said. "The suggestion is that I have abandoned my role as a mother. You know why you don’t see me with my kids? Because I don't let them get photographed. Do you know the lengths that I go to to protect my kids from being seen by you?"

Wilde's next projects include directing a Kerri Strug biopic and a reported deal to direct a female-centric Marvel feature. She said her projects follow the same theme of the "raw determination of women."