the cast of don't worry darling at the venice premiere
Nick Kroll, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Sydney Chandler, Harry Styles, and Gemma Chan attend the “Don’t Worry Darling” red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival. (Getty Images)

Olivia Wilde’s leaked video, Harry Styles’s alleged spit attack, and much more…

Grab your popcorn and sit back for a wild and unbelievable tale about the most dramatic movie of the year — a tale that has absolutely nothing to do with what the film is actually about.

The psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling doesn’t hit theaters until Sept. 23, but it’s already got everyone talking. That’s thanks to the juicy, shocking drama among the film’s cast that has boiled over into public view in a major way, and it’s got fans wondering whose side to take as A-listers like Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles, and Florence Pugh continually find new ways to passive aggressively ratchet up the tension.

Here’s what we know about the bad blood — and what we’re still wondering about.

What is Don’t Worry Darling?

It’s an upcoming film that’s been highly anticipated for months, maybe years, first because of the pedigree of the superstar talents on the creative team, and then because of all the highly publicized jabs they’ve taken at one another in the press and at high profile events.

Florence Pugh and Harry Styles star as a young couple enjoying what appears to be a blissful marriage in the 1950s. But when the housewife played by Pugh starts to suspect there’s something sinister afoot with her husband and the mysterious company he works for, her fabulous utopia begins to break apart in dramatic fashion. Based on the trailer, it looks very Stepford Wives meets The Truman Show.

The movie is directed by Olivia Wilde, who first rose to prominence as an actress on the medical drama House. In 2019, she made the jump to director with the feature film Booksmart, which earned rave reviews and anointed Wilde as a rising talent to watch behind the camera. So when she began working on Don’t Worry Darling, the intriguing premise combined with the star-studded casting caught everyone’s attention.

But that flashy cast quickly became a flashpoint for tension — especially relating to their various relationships with their director.

Why did Harry Styles replace Shia LaBeouf in Don’t Worry Darling?

Wilde originally cast LaBeouf in the role of Jack, the husband of Pugh’s character in Don’t Worry Darling. LaBeouf began his career as a child actor, then grew up to become the star of blockbusters like Transformers and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. More recently, he’s gained a reputation as a troublemaker thanks to multiple arrests and erratic behavior.

Then in September 2020, it was announced that pop megastar Styles was stepping into the role instead, replacing LaBeouf due to a reported scheduling conflict. In contrast to LaBeouf’s reckless nature, Styles’s public persona as a beloved musician and champion of equality brought a new kind of buzz to the project, which would be his first acting role since Christopher Nolan’s 2017 WWII epic Dunkirk, in which he was part of a much larger ensemble.

But some signs pointed to the idea that more was happening with LaBeouf behind the scenes. Months after exiting Wilde’s film, LaBeouf’s public standing got even worse when his ex-girlfriend, the musician FKA Twigs, accused him in a lawsuit of abusing her physically and emotionally during their relationship.

The truth about his departure from Don’t Worry Darling — or so we thought — came in an August 2022 cover story for Variety. In the accompanying interview, Wilde revealed that rather than leaving because of a scheduling conflict, LaBeouf had been fired.

“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of [LaBeouf’s] work,” Wilde said. “His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.”

But once that story began making the rounds, we got a rebuttal from LaBeouf himself, who reached out to Variety to share what he says is the actual story. The actor said it was his own choice to leave the project, and he shared with the publication an email he’d written to Wilde in which he stated the reason he quit was not being able to find adequate time to rehearse with the other actors.

“Firing me never took place, Olivia,” he wrote. “And while I fully understand the attractiveness of pushing that story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings, it is not the truth. So I am humbly asking, as a person with an eye toward making things right, that you correct the narrative as best you can.”

Then there was a leak of a telling video Wilde sent to LaBeouf. It was recorded before she said publicly that she’d fired him, and in it she’s seen urging LaBeouf to reconsider his decision to leave the project. You can see her full message here:

One of the lines that observers pounced upon is this one, referring to Pugh, who would have been LaBeouf’s co-star in the film: “I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us,” Wilde said.

What happened between Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh?

This one is pretty unclear, but it seems there’s a pretty serious feud happening between the director and her star.

We don’t know why exactly the two women are at odds, but there’s been plenty of speculation. Wilde’s video message to LaBeouf seems to indicate some sort of strain between the actors, but Page Six reported in July that Pugh was put off by Wilde’s romantic relationship with Styles and the way it affected the dynamic on set.

“I can tell you for a fact that Flo seeing Olivia and Harry all over each other on set did not go down well as Olivia was still with Jason when she first hooked up with Harry,” a source said, referring to Wilde’s recently-ended relationship with Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis. “Jason and the kids visited Olivia on set at the beginning a few times, so I think this all made people feel a little uncomfortable.”

Another sign of tension arose when it became clear that Pugh’s participation in promoting Don’t Worry Darling would be significantly less than the rest of the cast, even though she had the starring role. Over Labor Day weekend, the film officially had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, and while Pugh did attend the red carpet (looking stunning, we might add), she did not attend the accompanying press conference. The alleged reason for her absence was that she was tied up with production on the sequel to Dune, which prohibited her from attending more festival events — even though her Dune co-star Timothée Chalamet was all over Venice at the same time.

The press conference was predictably awkward, and eventually a reporter asked Wilde to speak about the rumors that she and Pugh don’t get along. Wilde responded with praise for the actress, calling her “a force” and adding that she was “honored” to have her in the film.

“As for all the endless tabloid gossip and noise out there, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute. I think it’s sufficiently well-nourished,” Wilde said.

And then, just a few minutes following the conference that Pugh was reportedly unable to attend, the actress was spotted in Venice (looking, again, utterly fabulous), confirming that she’d already arrived.

Did Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles break up?

It’s totally understandable that you might be asking this question considering all the headlines flying around, but it’s somewhat complicated to answer because the pair have said very little about their personal relationship in the first place. In fact, they’ve hardly confirmed that they’re a couple at all. It’s pretty obvious that they were together at some point, at least, and most signs point to the fact that they still are, but let’s look back at the history.

The high-profile couple’s relationship instantly became tabloid fodder when they were photographed holding hands at a wedding in January 2021. At the time, Wilde was fresh off her split from Sudeikis, with whom she shares two children. And since then, it’s all been especially messy.

The notoriously private Styles has made efforts to avoid discussing the romance in public, but his fans have made that somewhat difficult as the most obsessive in the bunch have continually attacked Wilde online. Styles did address this bad behavior in an August cover story for Rolling Stone, saying it “doesn’t make [him] feel good” to see his fans speak so negatively of someone in his life.

“It’s obviously a difficult feeling to feel like being close to me means you’re at the ransom of a corner of Twitter or something,” Styles explained. “I just wanted to sing. I didn’t want to get into it if I was going to hurt people like that.”

In that same story, Wilde expressed confusion about why Styles’s fanbase, which she characterized as largely “true champions of kindness,” would resort to such aggression online. “What I don’t understand about the cruelty you’re referencing is that that kind of toxic negativity is the antithesis of Harry, and everything he puts out there,” Wilde said.

Further complicating all of this is the coverage of the relationship Wilde was in before dating Styles. Although she and Sudeikis split sometime in early 2020, their parting of ways gained renewed interest online in April, when Wilde appeared at an industry event to promote Don’t Worry Darling. During her talk, someone climbed onstage and delivered to her a mysterious envelope. It was later revealed that inside it were legal papers from Sudeikis regarding the custody of their children, which had been served to Wilde in the most public way possible, seeming to hint at further animosity than the public previously understood.

Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?

This is the latest mystery in this eternal saga, and it stems from the Venice Film Festival. A video from one of the events is being shared far and wide online because it seems to shockingly depict Styles spitting on Chris Pine, who also appears in Don’t Worry Darling. Here’s the clip:

And, uh — yeah, that really does look like spit. We can see Style’s mouth make a shape primed for a salivary projectile, following by Pine looking down into his lap and making a face. (It’s unclear why Pine and Styles might be feuding, but the viral video of Pine’s dead-eyed expression during the previously mentioned press conference seems to indicate he’s pretty over this entire thing.)

But this incident has already reached levels of intrigue worthy of the Zapruder Film, with some observers chiming in that Pine was more likely noticing the sunglasses on his lap than reacting to being spat upon.

Here’s another angle to help you decide:

For what it’s worth, a source close to Styles has since called the story “not true,” and a representative for Pine issued a strongly worded denial: “This is a ridiculous story — a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation. There is nothing but respect between these two men and any suggestion otherwise is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist.”

A few days after the video was taken, Styles addressed the rumors with a joke during a concert at Madison Square Garden, his 10th show during a long run at the iconic New York City venue. “I just popped very quickly to Venice to spit on Chris Pine,” Styles said with a laugh. “But fret not, we’re back!”

We may never get a straight answer on “Spitgate,” as it’s being called — or any of the many layers of drama surrounding this production — but with weeks to go before the film’s official release, we can be sure there will be lots more to dig into in the days to come.

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