Olivia Wilde has not responded to reports that she and Florence Pugh, the lead in her film “Don’t Worry Darling,” are having issues.
In response to a question about whether Wilde can “clear the air” on the rumored falling out with Pugh, the filmmaker said: “Florence is a force. We are so grateful she’s able to make it tonight [for the red carpet] despite being in production on ‘Dune.’ I know, as a director, how disruptive it is to lose an actor even for a day, so I’m very grateful to her, and to [‘Dune’ director Denis Villeneuve] for helping us. And we’ll get to celebrate her work tonight. I can’t say how honored I am to have her as our lead. She’s amazing.
“As for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, the Internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute; I think it’s sufficiently well-nourished,” Wilde added.
When the festival posted a list of its confirmed participants on Sunday, it became clear that Pugh would not be at the press conference. The actor’s flight from Budapest, Hungary, where she is presently filming the “Dune” sequel, to Venice, according to the festival, would arrive just after the press conference, allowing her time to walk the red carpet but not to interact with the media. Less than an hour after the press conference finished, pictures of Pugh arriving in Venice were made public.
Another reporter then attempted to inquire about Shia LaBeouf’s claims that he wasn’t fired from the film, as Wilde suggested in an explosive cover story with Variety. However, the press conference moderator, a senior programmer for the festival, effectively blocked the inquiry by claiming Wilde had already addressed the issue as part of the earlier query on Pugh.
Harry Styles, Gemma Chan, and Chris Pine, members of Wilde’s cast, attended the press conference on Monday afternoon.
Following “Booksmart,” Wilde’s first film in which she served as director, follows “Don’t Worry Darling.” The thriller centers on Jack (Styles) and Alice (Pugh), a couple who appear to have a good marriage in a dramatized version of a 1960s suburban neighborhood. However, as Alice begins to experience terrifying visions, their relationship becomes more strained.
The idea generated a competitive bidding war when it was initially unveiled in 2019, with 18 studios and streaming platforms vying for the pitch. The auction was finally won by New Line Cinema.
The film, which had its press screening in the morning but had its global premiere in Venice on Monday night, depends on a compelling performance from Pugh as Alice, whose spiral into madness serves as the film’s anchor. Her absence from the press conference underscores this.
Following Wilde’s cover story interview with Variety, the politics on the “Don’t Worry Darling” set have been under heavy scrutiny recently. Shia LaBeouf, an actor, was purportedly removed off the set by the director because of his “combative energy.” Later, LaBeouf said he left the project because he didn’t think the performers had enough time to practice. The filmmaker also hinted about problems between LaBeouf and Pugh in a Wilde clip that LaBeouf uploaded.
There have been speculations of a tense relationship between Wilde and Pugh for a while now. Although the industry’s practice of arbitrarily comparing women is nothing new, Pugh’s absence from the press conference is unusual. The action is especially curious in light of Timothée Chalamet, the star of the Dune trilogy, traveling to Venice to promote his Warner Bros. film “Bones and All” to meet with the media while Pugh was working on the same set.
On Sunday night, Wilde attended a Variety celebration for her August cover story. Co-chairs of the Warner Bros. Pictures Group Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, as well as Richard Brenner, the head of production at New Line, were also present at the event.