The Don't Worry Darling Drama, Explained

·6 min read
Photo credit: Getty Images (2)
Photo credit: Getty Images (2)

We are worried, darling. For months, there have been been rumors of drama between Olivia Wilde, director of Don't Worry Darling, and lead actress Florence Pugh. That speculation was seemingly confirmed this past week with new revelations from Shia LaBeouf, who was originally attached to star opposite Pugh in the project.

There's also controversy surrounding Wilde's relationship with pop star Harry Styles, who replaced LaBeouf in the lead role, and how the director was served custody papers from her ex-husband Jason Sudeikis while promoting Don't Worry Darling.

Here's everything you need to know about what's going down between Wilde and Pugh—and why all eyes are on the press tour for Don't Worry Darling.

Why isn't Florence Pugh promoting the film?

The first inklings of drama emerged when fans noticed that Pugh was barely promoting Don't Worry Darling on her social media pages—and she has been an active poster about previous projects she's been involved with (apart from this film). As one fan tweeted in July, "The way Florence Pugh has yet to post about don’t worry darling even though there are two trailers out for it and yet she’ll post about every single other project that she’s doing right now like what did Olivia Wilde do ????"

Pugh eventually posted a quick teaser in August, writing in the caption "Not long now!
Only in theatres September 23rd"

Page Six reported that Pugh was upset about Wilde and Styles's relationship. Pugh was also reportedly uncomfortable by LaBeouf in early days of production.

Pugh and Wilde, too, have disagreed about the promotion of the film. In a Vogue story from earlier this year, Wilde said she wants the Don't Worry Darling audience to "realize how rarely they see female hunger, and specifically this type of female pleasure." In a Variety profile, she said, "Men don’t come in this film. Only women here!"

However, Pugh, in a Harper's Bazaar story, said that the movie is more than its sex scenes. "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," Pugh says. "Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. 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."

Pugh will be attending the Venice Film Festival premiere, and that will likely be the only press she does for the movie—she is reportedly busy filming Dune: Part Two in Hungary.

The Shia LaBeouf "firing" controversy, explained.

In a cover profile for Variety, Olivia Wilde said she fired Shia LaBeouf. "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,” Wilde said. "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."

Soon after that story came out, LaBeouf, however, claimed that is not went down—instead, he shared that he had quit. “Firing me never took place, Olivia,” LaBeouf wrote in an email which he shared with Variety. “And while I fully understand the attractiveness of pushing that story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings. It is not the truth.”

In a video LaBeouf shared with Variety and other publications, Wilde is driving as she records a message for the actor in August 2020.

"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,” she says in the video. “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?"

In December 2020, LaBeouf's ex-girlfriend, FKA Twigs, sued him for sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress. LaBeouf denies the allegations, but told the New York Times, in part, “I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.”

TL;DR: Pugh was likely uncomfortable working with LaBeouf. Wilde said she fired LaBeouf because he made Pugh uncomfortable, but Wilde LaBeouf says he quit, and shared that Wilde told him that if he stayed it will be a "wake-up call for Miss Flo."

Where does Harry Styles fit in to all this?

Styles is currently performing in "Love on Tour," and he has not commented on anything. He and Olivia Wilde have been linked romantically since filming Don't Worry Darling.

Why is Jason Sudeikis involved?

Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis quietly split in fall 2020, ending their seven-year engagement. In 2021, Sudeikis shared with GQ he still didn't really understand why they split. "I'll have a better understanding of why in a year, and an even better one in two, and an even greater one in five, and it'll go from being, you know, a book of my life to becoming a chapter to a paragraph to a line to a word to a doodle," he said.

In April 2022, while Wilde was promoting Don't Worry Darling at CinemaCon, she was served custody papers concerning their children Otis and Daisy. At the time, a representative for Sudeikis said that he "had no prior knowledge of the time or place that the envelope would have been delivered as this would solely be up to the process service company involved and he would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner."

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