Don’t You Worry Darling: Olivia Wilde Fired Shia LeBeouf To Protect Florence Pugh
"Don't Worry Darling" is Olivia Wilde's second directorial outing following her 2019 indie high school coming-of-age film "Booksmart." The sci-fi
"Don't Worry Darling" is Olivia Wilde's second directorial outing following her 2019 indie high school coming-of-age film "Booksmart." The sci-fi thriller is about a young married couple living in a picturesque, experimental utopia called Victory among other couples who play deep into the lifestyle. Alice, played by Florence Pugh, is married to Jack, played by Harry Styles. The very much in love couple enter Victory with joy and excitement, however, Alice's reality begins to shatter when she recognizes the disturbing truths that seep through the cracks of their perfect world.
Among the horrifying realities that Pugh's character comes into contact with is her very sensual relationship with her husband.
“It’s all about immediacy and extreme passion for one another,” Wilde shared of the film’s complicated relationship between Alice and Jack. “The impractical nature of their sex speaks to their ferocious desire for one another. I think it’s integral to the story itself and how the audience is meant to connect to them. My early conversations with the cast were all about how the audience has to buy into the fantasy.” Well, that shouldn't be too hard being that the majority of the world already fantasizes about a life of love with Harry Styles.
But wait. Hold onto your fantasies for a moment and let's quickly rewind.
Styles was originally cast for this role, yes, however, he didn't take it because of a scheduling conflict with his world tour. So how did he get back here, in the trailer of "Don't Worry Darling", going down on Alice on top of a dining room table?
Don’t Worry Florence
Wilde chose Pugh for the role of Alice after the two shared lunch together. Referring to her role in "Midsommar," Wilde told Variety, “I had been blown the fuck away by her. I loved the film, but I loved her. I was just like, ‘Well, she’s extraordinary. She’s clearly the most exciting young actress working today.’”
The two women then teamed up to find Alice's husband, Jack. Both actresses were enthusiastic about the idea of having Styles on set however, his world tour dates were too much of a conflict for filming which lead Wilde to cast Shia LeBeouf instead.
When production began in 2020, Wilde made the decision to fire the "Transformers" actor with the reasoning being schedule conflict. However, Wilde recently told Variety the real reason for LeBeouf's [forced] departure. “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. 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," shared the director.
A few months following LeBeouf's exit came a lawsuit against him from his ex-girlfriend, FKA Twigs, suing him for sexual battery. He then split from his agency, CAA, and entered an impatient facility.
Wilde responded to this news saying, “A lot came to light after this happened that really troubled me, in terms of his behavior. I find myself just really wishing him health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice. But for our film, what we really needed was an energy that was incredibly supportive. Particularly with a movie like this, I knew that I was going to be asking Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was making her feel safe and making her feel supported.”
And then, everything came full circle when the pandemic hit, bringing Harry Styles back into the picture as his tour was cancelled.
In an email to Variety, Styles wrote, “I think the story as a whole attracted me to the role of Jack. It felt like an opportunity to play someone who is incredibly complex, caught between love and obsession. There were always two sides of the character to play with. It’s fun to play someone that you feel like you’re trying to work out the whole time.”
A “Wilde” Moment At CinemaCon
Back in April, Wilde was served by her former fiancé, “Ted Lasso” actor Jason Sudeikis, as she took the stage in Las Vegas to promote "Don't Worry Darling" to exhibitors. "It was my workplace," said Wilde about the situation. “In any other workplace, it would be seen as an attack. It was really upsetting. It shouldn’t have been able to happen. There was a huge breach in security, which is really scary. The hurdles that you had to jump through to get into that room with several badges, plus special COVID tests that had to be taken days in advance, which gave you wristbands that were necessary to gain access to the event — this was something that required forethought.”
However, the actress now director held her own and didn't let it take away from this milestone moment in her career. “I hated that this nastiness distracted from the work of so many different people and the studio that I was up there representing,” she says. “To try to sabotage that was really vicious. But I had a job to do; I’m not easily distracted.” She adds, “But, you know, sadly, it was not something that was entirely surprising to me. I mean, there’s a reason I left that relationship.”
Wilde also set the record straight when talking about her relationship with her kids. She and Sudeikis have split custody, the kids going between the two parents week to week. She explained, "They are my world. They are my best friends." And, when she is with them, she is with them entirely. Wilde spends her morning with them making breakfast and also takes them school herself.
And, when referencing the CinemaCon ambush she stated, “The only people who suffered were my kids, because they’ll have to see that, and they shouldn’t ever have to know that happened. For me, it was appalling, but the victims were an 8- and 5-year-old, and that’s really sad. I chose to become an actress; I willingly walked into the spotlight. But it’s not something my children have asked for. And when my kids are dragged into it, it’s deeply painful.”
"Don't Worry Darling" will appear in theaters on September 23rd.