Burbank, we have a problem.
After the dramatic launch of Olivia Wildeit is don’t worry darling at the Venice Film Festival, Warner Bros. strives to avoid any further apparent collision between director Wilde and her star, Florence Poug. There are still 16 days until the film opens on September 23, a lifetime for a campaign that has sparked a media frenzy with everything from Harry Styles‘ (alleged) spitting at eye contact of Pugh, or lack thereof, being dissected.
But the studio won’t have to endure another tense and highly scrutinized press event in the coming weeks. That’s because there’s only one on the schedule — the film’s red carpet premiere in New York on Sept. 19 — and Pugh won’t be attending, according to two insiders.
The official reason cited for Pugh’s absence is that the actress is busy filming Dune: part two in Budapest and director Denis Villeneuve can’t let go of her for a press event for another film. (She has already left the Dunes set once to attend don’t worry darlingin Venice but skipped the press conference.)
“From what I understand there is friction, but I don’t know why,” said a source who was on the don’t worry darling together tells rolling stone, talk about Wilde and Pugh. “It’s pretty clear that she chooses not to be in PR,” she said of Pugh. “It is clearly not advantageous for Olivia not to involve her in public relations. It must be Florence’s decision.
Two additional sources involved with the film say tension between Wilde and Pugh began during production in 2020 around the time Wilde and Styles, the film’s male lead, became a couple and the relationship didn’t end. didn’t go over well with Pugh. Wilde, who split from partner Jason Sudekis around the same time, has been going strong with Styles ever since. Although Wilde isn’t the first director to date her, Steven Spielberg began dating his future wife Kate Capshaw while filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, to take just one example out of many – the practice has become more frowned upon in recent years given the leader-subordinate dynamic and potential for on-set favoritism. “If she cheated on her [partner] with Harry Styles, and Florence knew about it, I could see that was a thing,” the first on-set source said.
But another established source disputed that notion. “Do I think she and Flo hate each other?” Absolutely not. Was it fun and enjoyable on set? Absolutely. Were [Wilde and Styles overtly] romantic, or did she favor it? No. She was very professional,” the source said. rolling stone. That source and others blamed sexism for the scrutiny Wilde faces. “No one would talk about it if it was a male director,” said another.
At the Venice premiere, Wilde and Pugh sat at opposite ends of a row with the actor Chris Pine seated between Styles and Wilde. The couple sat strategically apart given that their relationship threatened to overshadow the film itself. A representative for Wilde did not respond to a request for comment for this story. Pugh’s rep declined to comment.
Although the psychological thriller is about to get an awards campaign, don’t worry darling won’t have a press conference before it opens and has only scheduled a few engagements, none involving Wilde and Pugh in the same place at the same time. Based on reviews — the film has a 41% rating on RottenTomatoes — Pugh seems in the best position to find traction this awards season.
Not all the headaches surrounding don’t worry darling involve Wilde and Pugh. In April, Warner Bros. was promoting the film at CinemaCon in Las Vegas when Wilde was served custody papers from Sudekis onstage, an unprecedented moment at the studio’s annual showcase of upcoming films.
It was just a taste of what was to come. In a Variety interview, Wilde implied that she fired male lead Shia LaBeouf and replaced him with Styles because “LaBeouf’s process was not conducive to the philosophy I demand in my productions.” LaBeouf then responded that he left the film due to lack of rehearsal time. (He also shared a video in which Wilde appeared to side with LaBeouf amid her feud with Pugh when she said, “I think that might be a bit of a red flag for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’ I’m ready to try with me, with us.
At the time of the premiere in Venice, the festival’s journalists were micro-analyzing the actors’ body language and interaction. Variety reported that Pugh and Wilde avoided eye contact during the four-minute standing ovation. (An insider scoffed at this characterization, noting that it’s hard to make eye contact when standing in a row rather than facing each other.) Then a music video of Styles seeming, perhaps, spit on Pine as the pop singer took his seat. at the premiere went viral.
Pine’s rep dismissed the idea that Styles was spitting in a statement provided to rolling stone. “This is a ridiculous story…a complete fabrication and the result of a bizarre online illusion that is clearly misleading and allows for wild speculation. Just to be clear, Harry Styles did NOT spit on Chris Pine…he There is nothing but respect between these two men and any other suggestion is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply doesn’t exist.
It is even possible that all the talk about the drama had the effect of producing real tension. One of the sources who worked on the film said rolling stone that any Wilde-Pugh friction “just didn’t exist on set. It was really nice. It’s shocking to me that all of this is happening… I never noticed a second of tension on this set. Not for a second.
Still, that same source understands the tabloid-style frenzy surrounding the film. “I think the Shia LaBeouf case is one thing. I think [Wilde] and Flo is something else. And I think her and Harry are one thing. And I think she and [Sudekis] is one thing, the way he served his attorney’s papers. It’s like a good gossip salad,” the source said.
Despite all the controversies surrounding don’t worry darlingthe studio does not expect this to negatively affect its box office performance or the reception it will receive from Styles’ legion of fans.