Olivia Wilde’s sophomore film, “Don’t Worry Darling,” has been in the Twitter news cycle for the better part of the last few months. Rumors concerning the drama surrounding the movie have slowly taken over any actual information about the film and its plot.
Almost all of these rumors either revolve around the relationship between director Wilde and supporting actor Harry Styles or the alleged disagreements between Wilde and leading lady Florence Pugh.
Before I really get into this, I feel as though I must acknowledge the fact that if Wilde were a man, it’s incredibly likely none of this would be trending on Twitter.
An older director meets a younger actor on set, leaves their long-term partner and enters into a relationship with the younger actor. Then, the director ignores feelings of discomfort about the actions of co-stars from their lead actress. Sounds like every Hollywood set since the invention of the motion picture.
Unfortunately, for Wilde and her public relations team, this is not the case.
In almost every interview she has given about her directorial process, Wilde prides herself on putting women first — often emphasizing how her main goal is to make everyone on set feel safe, no matter the cost to someone’s feelings.
Previously, I considered this to be admirable, but after the “Miss Flo” video released by Shia LaBeouf hit the internet, it seems as though Wilde may not be the champion for women in film that we thought her to be.
Again I will acknowledge that it is unrealistic to expect perfection from Wilde in this context, but hearing the words “Miss Flo” brought me right back to childhood: when if a young girl vocalized any feeling of displeasure she would be branded as prissy and referred to as “Miss” rather than her full name.
To me it feels disrespectful; saying “Miss Flo” instead of simply referring to the award-winning actress by name paints a picture of the aforementioned being childlike, and, as Wilde goes on to say in the video, “this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo,” seems to imply that Wilde is not pleased with how Pugh is acting. Instead of bringing it up directly with the actor, Wilde feels the need to patronize Pugh to her (now former) costar.
Wilde claims to not have known about Pugh’s discomfort with LaBeouf, but if she is as in tune with her set and actors as she loves to say – how would she not be able to pick up on Pugh’s feelings? Or even if Wilde was unhappy with Pugh’s actions, why would she not ask about the source of the issue?
According to Wilde via Vanity Fair, the “Miss Flo” video was made before Pugh raised her feelings of discomfort with LaBeouf’s behavior, but after LaBeouf gave an ultimatum to the director, saying that she had to choose between him and Pugh.
Of course, Wilde chose Pugh, proving for once and for all that she does not, in fact, have rocks for brains.
It could all just be a publicity bit, but the lack of social media posts from Pugh seems like it means something a bit more than her being too busy for Instagram. Historically, Pugh has always been outspoken about her projects; even posting the poster for the 2023 film “Oppenheimer” to her story, while not publicly commenting or acknowledging Wilde’s Instagram post commending the actor for her work on the film.
On top of this, Pugh’s glam team embroidered their uniforms with the words “Miss Flo,” seemingly referencing Wilde’s comment.
I don’t doubt that Wilde and Pugh have some sort of beef, but I don’t know if the “Miss Flo” video is the exact cause of it.
What I do know is that Wilde has destroyed the reputation for this film and possibly for herself as a director. There is absolutely no way anyone will be able to watch “Don’t Worry Darling” in the next four months without coming back to the drama surrounding it; especially after reviews are rolling in that Pugh’s performance is the only thing saving the movie from being a total flop.
It’s not Wilde’s fault that female directors in Hollywood are held to such a high standard. However, her insistence on the fact that she makes her sets a safe place for all, all while knocking down her leading lady is a hypocritical mess that we should hold her accountable for.