The many controversies surrounding ‘Don’t Worry Darling’
(Credit: Netflix)

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The many controversies surrounding 'Don't Worry Darling'

As the anticipation for Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling reached a fever pitch at the beginning of 2022, little did fans know that the real spectacle would unfold behind the scenes, turning the spotlight away from the film’s cast and plot. Don’t Worry Darling is available to stream on Netflix now. But if you got too confused with all the whirlwind developments happening at the time, here’s a brief chronological summary of everything that went wrong during and after the making of Don’t Worry Darling.

As time passed, it became apparent that the production of Don’t Worry Darling was far from smooth sailing. Tensions escalated between the director and cast members, culminating in a series of controversies that overshadowed the film itself.

The first ripple in the drama pool occurred in November 2020 when Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis, partners for nine years, announced their breakup, sending shockwaves through the production. The situation took an unexpected turn on January 4th, 2021, when Wilde, 38, began dating 28-year-old Harry Styles, one of the film’s stars. This real-life romance disrupted the on-set dynamics, causing frustration among co-stars Florence Pugh and Chris Pine, who found themselves frequently having to flag down the elusive couple.

The drama intensified in April 2022 when Wilde was served custody papers from her ex, Jason Sudeikis, on stage at CinemaCon. This sent shockwaves of second-hand embarrassment through gossip pages across the world.

In July 2022, an insider allegedly told Page Six that the relationship between Wilde and Styles may have started as an affair, “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 [Sudeikis] when she first hooked up with Harry.”

Simultaneously, in mid-July, fans started noting Pugh’s conspicuous absence from the movie’s promotional activities. Reports suggested a growing rift between Pugh, Styles, and Wilde, fueled by Pugh’s discomfort with the on-set relationship dynamics. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Pugh voiced her dissatisfaction with the film being reduced to mere sex scenes, stating, “…it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry…[this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”

The controversy took an unexpected turn when it was revealed that Shia LaBeouf, initially cast as the lead, left the film in August 2020. Wilde later explained in a Variety interview that LaBeouf’s process was incompatible with “the set’s ethos,” sparking LeBeouf to respond that he wasn’t fired but quit, “You and I both know the reasons for my exit. I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse.”

The culmination of drama occurred at the Venice Film Festival. Pugh’s absence from the press day, Wilde’s diplomatic response to questions about their alleged feud, and Styles’ purported spitting on Pine incident during a screening all added to the bizarre spectacle. 

A representative for Pine had to issue a statement to deny the whole thing, “This is a ridiculous story—a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation. Just to be clear, Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine. There is nothing but respect between these two men, and any suggestion otherwise is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist”. 

Styles later made light of the situation at Madison Square Garden while saying how it’s “wonderful to be back in New York. I just popped very quickly to Venice to spit on Chris Pine,” joking about how the drama followed him even to Venice.

Don’t Worry Darling is now available to stream on Netflix US, Australia, and Japan. You can catch the trailer here: