'Don't Worry Darling': The cast drama overshadowing Olivia Wilde's new film

·SEO Editor, Yahoo UK
·6-min read

Watch: Don't Worry Darling trailer

Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry Darling has become one of the year's most-talked about films – for all the wrong reasons.

The release of the psychological thriller, which stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, has been overshadowed by rumours of on-set feuds.

But what's the truth behind the controversy?

As the film lands in UK cinemas, here is everything you need to know.

1. Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh's alleged feud

Don't Worry Darling (Warner Bros.)
Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde in Don't Worry Darling. (Warner Bros.)

Alleged tensions between director Olivia Wilde and star Florence Pugh have been a major talking point on social media.

The pair have had "several disagreements personally and professionally", according to a source cited by US Weekly.

Pugh is reported to have "severely limited" her media engagements to promote the film.

She did not attend its premiere in New York earlier this week, and also was absent from a press conference in Venice Film Festival on 5 September.

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 05: (L-R) Harry Styles, Gemma Chan, Chris Pine and director Olivia Wilde attends the photocall for
Harry Styles, Gemma Chan and Chris Pine with Don't Worry Darling director Olivia Wilde. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

A source who was on the film's set told Rolling Stone: "From what I understand, there is friction, but I don't know why.

"It's pretty clear [Pugh is] choosing not to be a part of the PR. It's clearly not beneficial to Olivia to not have her be a part of the PR. It has to be a Florence decision."

Read more: Harry Styles accused of spitting on co-star Chris Pine

But another insider said: "I never noticed one second of tension on that set. Not one second."

Olivia Wilde with Florence Pugh on the set of Don't Worry Darling. (Warner Bros.)
Olivia Wilde with Florence Pugh on the set of Don't Worry Darling. (Warner Bros.)

Studio officials have noted that Pugh is busy filming Dune: Part Two in Hungary.

In an interview with Variety, Wilde seemingly alluded to the rumours by condemning the "tabloid media" for "[pitting] women against one another".

She praised the Midsommar star as "extraordinary" and "the most exciting young actress working today".

2. Shia LeBoeuf out, Harry Styles in

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: Shia LaBeouf attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Arrivals on February 08, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Shia LaBeouf was replaced in the lead role by pop star Harry Styles. (Getty Images)

Shia LeBoeuf was originally cast opposite Pugh as her on-screen husband, but left the film in August 2020 and was replaced by Harry Styles.

Sources initially blamed "scheduling conflicts" but Wilde later claimed she fired LeBoeuf to create a "safe, trusting environment" on set.

She said: "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."

Don't Worry Darling (Warner Bros.)
Harry Styles in Don't Worry Darling. (Warner Bros.)

LeBoeuf disputed this, claiming he chose to leave due to a lack of rehearsal time.

In a further twist, a leaked video appeared to show Wilde saying she was "heartbroken" about LaBeouf's exit and wanted to "figure this out".

After LaBeouf's exit from the film, his ex-girlfriend FKA twigs sued him for "relentless abuse", which he denies.

A journalist was stopped from asking Wilde a question about LaBeouf at Venice Film Festival, fuelling further controversy.

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 05: (L-R) Nick Kroll, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Sydney Chandler, Harry Styles and Gemma Chan attend the
The psychological thriller had a reported budget of $20m. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis via Getty Images)

Then, in an interview on US TV this week, Wilde failed to clarify whether she fired LeBoeuf or whether he quit, calling it "a question of semantics".

The film is Styles' first major Hollywood role, following small parts in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk and Marvel's Eternals.

The release of a teaser trailer last month left some viewers baffled at his Transatlantic accent.

3. Harry Styles and Florence Pugh's salaries

Don't Worry Darling (Warner Bros.)
Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in Don't Worry Darling. (Warner Bros.)

Social media users have spread unverified claims of a pay gap between Styles and Pugh on the film.

Earlier this year, a gossip website claimed that Oscar nominee Pugh was paid three times less than her male co-star.

Film studios do not disclose stars' salaries but Wilde dismissed said there was "absolutely no validity" to the reports.

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 05: Florence Pugh attends the
Florence Pugh attending the Don't Worry Darling red carpet event in Venice. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

She told Variety that she was "really upset" by "the absurdity of invented clickbait and subsequent reaction regarding a nonexistent pay disparity".

She added: "I'm a woman who has been in this business for over 20 years, and it's something that I have fought for myself and others, especially being a director."

4. Olivia Wilde's split from Jason Sudeikis

SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 12: Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis during the arrivals for the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, CA. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Olivia Wilde began dating Harry Styles after splitting from Jason Sudeikis. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Wilde and Styles began dating publicly in January 2021 after meeting on set. The A-list relationship has attracted countless column inches.

Wilde was previously engaged to Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis, with whom she has two children.

In April, Wilde was served custody papers on behalf of Sudeikis while appearing on stage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas to promote Don't Worry Darling.

US director and actress Olivia Wilde holds an envelope reading
Olivia Wilde was handed a an envelope reading "personal and confidential" onstage during CinemaCon 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

The director described the incident as "vicious", adding: "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."

A source for Sudeikis said the actor had "no prior knowledge of the time or place" that the documents would be served.

5. Lukewarm reviews from critics

Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling. (Warner Bros.)
Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling. (Warner Bros.)

The controversy surrounding Don't Worry Darling meant all eyes were on Venice Film Festival for its premiere.

Things took a bizarre turn when some fans accused Harry Styles of spitting into co-star Chris Pine's lap as he took his seat.

Pine had earlier appeared to roll his eyes and "zone out" while Styles was talking at the press conference.

A source close to Styles said the alleged spitting incident was "not true", while Pine's representative said called it "a complete fabrication".

Pugh did turn up to the Venice premiere, having missed the earlier press conference, but she and Wilde reportedly "kept their distance" at the event.

Don't Worry Darling (Warner Bros.)
Styles' performance has been branded "charisma-free" by critics. (Warner Bros.)

Away from the alleged drama between the stars, the film attracted a lukewarm reception from critics in Venice.

The Guardian called it a "movie marooned in a desert of unoriginality" while the Evening Standard branded it "glossy but empty".

The Independent said Styles' performance was "charisma-free" and called the film a "messy, convoluted affair".

Don't Worry Darling is out in cinemas now.