Last April, Olivia Wilde was thrilled to present her upcoming film, “Don’t Worry Darling,” to theater exhibitors at CinemaCon, a ticketed industry convention.
Wilde was on stage and ready to show the first footage of her second directorial project, a psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. Suddenly she was delivered a mysterious manila envelopewhich for the first time contained a script inside – shortly after it was reported that the contents of the envelope were in fact child custody papers from his former partner, Jason Sudeikis.
At the time, Sudeikis declined to have anything to do with the incident, stating he had no prior knowledge that Wilde would be served at the event.
“Documents have been drawn up establishing jurisdiction over the children of Ms. Wilde and Mr. Sudeikis,” a statement on behalf of Sudeikis said. “Mr. Sudeikis had no prior knowledge of when or where the envelope would have been delivered, as that would depend only on the processing service company involved and he would never tolerate it being served as such an inappropriate way.
Now Wilde is talking about the CinemaCon incident for the first time.
In this week Variety cover story, she says it is “deeply painful” for her children to be involved in a public matter that should have remained private. (Wilde and Sudeikis, who were a couple from 2011 to 2020 and previously engaged, share two young children, Otis, 8, and Daisy, 5.)
“It was my place of work,” Wilde says, referring to the CinemaCon incident without naming Sudeikis. “In any other workplace, that would be considered an attack. It was really upsetting. This shouldn’t have happened. There was a huge security breach, which is really scary. The hurdles you had to jump through to get into that room with multiple badges, plus special COVID tests that had to be done days in advance that gave you the wristbands needed to get into the event — that was something that required forethought.”
Wilde didn’t miss a beat when she was interrupted by the mysterious envelope, continuing her presentation at the Las Vegas convention.
“I hated that this meanness took away from the work of so many different people and the studio I was representing up there,” Wilde says. “Trying to sabotage this was really vicious. But I had a job to do; I am not easily distracted.
She adds, “But, you know, unfortunately, it wasn’t something that completely surprised me. I mean, there’s a reason I left that relationship.
A judge recently ruled in Wilde’s favor that California was the home state of their children; not New York for which Sudeikis asked. Wilde first moved to London a few years ago with her family because that’s where Sudeikis is filming “Ted Lasso,” and she now splits her time between the UK and Los Angeles.
“The only people who suffered were my children, because they will have to see this, and they should never have to know what happened. For me, it was appalling, but the victims were 8- and 5-year-olds, and it’s really sad,” Wilde said of the CinemaCon incident. “I chose to become an actress; I voluntarily walked in the spotlight. But that’s not something my kids asked for. And when my children are dragged into this, it is deeply painful.
In his cover story, Wilde also reveals to Variety that she made the decision to postpone her next directorial project, “Perfect,” which was originally scheduled to be in production this summer. Wilde says she realized now was not the right time to be away from her children with the long hours of filming that are required of a director.
“Perfect” is a 1990s biopic about Olympic gold medalist Kerri Strug, which will be played by Thomasin McKenzie. The Searchlight Pictures movie was first announced in 2020.
Wilde says the film is recently being redeveloped, so the script can be reworked to reflect everything that happened with the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, which involved hundreds of victims and resulted in brave testimonies Olympians like Aly Raisman and Simone Biles. The film will still be based in the 90s and not the present day, but is being developed to better portray the characters involved in USA Gymnastics, with everything that has been revealed over the past few years.
With the film back in development, Wilde decided she needed a break as well. “It became clear to me that this year was the time for me to be a stay-at-home mom,” she says. “It wasn’t the year for me to be on set, which is totally all-encompassing. It was time for me to take a break and focus on the kids when I have them.
Of her two children, Wilde says, “They are my world… They are my best friends.”