Every once in a while, there comes a drama involving celebrities that is so convoluted that you just can’t look away. Like a car wreck in slo-mo. You’re horrified and distressed, but you just can’t seem to bring yourself to look away.
The most recent car wreck-esque celebrity drama involves the cast of Olivia Wilde’s directorial Don’t Worry Darling, starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh.
Who knew when the trailer dropped that things would escalate from Styles’ unplaceable accent to him allegedly spitting on Chris Pine at the movie’s screening?
It’s highly unlikely that you haven’t heard about or seen highly scrutinised clips of the cast’s recent Venice Film Festival appearance. But if you, like most of the world, are confused about what on Earth is going on, then allow us to lay down everything that has happened around the movie and its cast to make things a little bit clearer than before.
Don’t Worry Darling Star Cast Explained
All the scandals, speculations, and alleged spitting drama in one place, not completely in chronological order:
Wilde and husband Jason Sudeikis Split
Wilde and comedian Sudeikis had been one of the most beloved celebrity couples around until they announced their “amicable split” in November of 2020. In January 2021, Wilde was spotted holding hands with Styles at a friend’s wedding, leading to speculations about their relationship and it being one of the reasons for the split.
It was also alleged that Wilde’s relationship with Styles made people on the set, including lead actress Pugh, uncomfortable, especially as Sudeikis visited the sets often with their two kids.
The drama surrounding the split intensified in April 2022, when Wilde was served with custody papers while she was on stage promoting the movie at CinemaCon.
“I hated that this nastiness distracted from the work of so many different people and the studio that I was up there representing,” said Wilde in an interview with Variety, discussing what it felt like being served the papers in front of such a large audience, “But, you know, sadly, it was not something that was entirely surprising to me. I mean, there’s a reason I left that relationship.”
Pugh’s Radio Silence
Even people who weren’t aware of the simmering tensions behind the scenes knew something was up with Pugh and Wilde as she maintained uncharacteristic silence on the project in all her interviews and on social media. The fact that she would glaringly avoid mentioning Wilde in any posts related to the movie fired up claims that the two had a falling out on the sets of the movie.
In an interview, Pugh finally spoke up about the movie, alluding that the movie is now being reduced to the steamy sex scenes between her and co-star Styles, a fact that was apparently being encouraged by Wilde herself.
“When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry,” said Pugh, “Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because (this movie is) bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”
The official line on Pugh’s absence and silence on the movie promotions front was that the actress was busy shooting for the upcoming sequel to Dune.
The Appearance of “Miss Flo”
One of the glaringly obvious reasons for Pugh’s suspicious silence and absence from the movie’s press tour is Shia LeBouf’s and his receipts. Before Styles was cast in the movie, opposite Pugh, LeBouf was involved with the project.
While no official reason was given for his departure from the movie, Wilde alleged that he was fired because she felt that she could not create “a safe and trusting environment” for Pugh with him onboard.
ICYMI, LeBouf was sued by ex FKA Twigs in January 2021 for sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.
LeBouf came out with screenshots of messages between him and Wilde, along with a video clip, that he claimed proved that he was not fired from the movie but he quit because of some scheduling conflict. The messages, reportedly, alluded to the fact that Wilde actually wanted him to continue with the movie. In the video clip, Wilde can be heard talking about a rift between LeBouf and Pugh. The director took LeBouf’s side in the argument and also dismissed Pugh’s concerns.
“I feel like I’m not ready to give up on this yet, and I, too, am heartbroken and I want to figure this out,” Wilde allegedly says in the video, “You know, 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. If she really commits, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point and if you guys can make peace—and I respect your point of view, I respect hers—but if you guys can do it, what do you think? Is there hope? Will you let me know?”
In the wake of these revelations, Pugh announced that she would be skipping the press conference scheduled at the Venice Film Festival.
The Venice Film Festival Series of Debacles
What should have been an ordinary red carpet appearance of the ensemble cast and the screening of the movie, followed by the multiple minutes-long obligatory standing ovations, turned into something that would seem ridiculous and exaggerated if the entire world hadn’t seen it unfold in front of their eyes.
During the press con, Wilde was asked about Pugh’s absence, notable as she was one of the main leads in the movie. The director claimed it was because Pugh was currently busy shooting for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two in Budapest and could not show up because of the schedules clashing. Contrary to her claims, Pugh showed up in Venice around the same time, with a glass of Aperol Spritz in hand, effectively dismissing Wilde’s statement on her absence.
Venice !!! pic.twitter.com/UZFML98va9— Florence Pugh Media (@FPDMedia) September 5, 2022
The Wilde-Pugh feud rumours were further exacerbated after Pugh’s stylist shared a photo of the actress in her Valentino red carpet look with the caption “Miss Flo”.
The cold vibes between the two were even evident on the red carpet as they maintained their distance during the cast photos and barely made eye contact with each other.
Here fans even noticed Styles keeping his distance from Wilde, leading to speculations that the couple had parted ways.
Chris Pine, The Meme
Pine’s expressions, or lack of expressions, during the press junkets with Styles have gone viral. Fans pointed out how it seemed that the Star Trek actor was disassociating during an interview where Styles rambled on about what he liked about the film.
“My favourite thing about the movie is that it feels like a movie. It feels like a real, like, go to the theatre film-movie—you know—the reason you go to watch on a big screen,” said Styles, while a straight-faced, dead-eyed Pine stared into the void.
Worry? I’m not even here, darling.— Richard Newby - Vote Blue and Save Yourselves (@RICHARDLNEWBY) September 5, 2022
Caption: Chris Pine astral projecting at Venice Film Festival. September 5, 2022. pic.twitter.com/qSU1XbTWDp
But this was nothing compared to the SpitGate during the movie’s actual screening. A clip showing Styles getting into his seat, next to Pine, became the subject of wild fan speculations and outrage after it looked like the pop star spat on Pine before settling down on his seat.
Did Harry Styles just spit on Chris Pine?? #DontWorryDarlingpic.twitter.com/V79mMi8CQs— Matt Ramos (@therealsupes) September 6, 2022
The short clip was analysed in every way possible to come up with explanations of why it looked like Styles spat on Pine. Theories ranged from it being an inside joke between the two to it being an optical illusion while Pine was just adjusting the sunglasses on his lap.
Not now sweetie mommy’s trying to see if Harry Styles really spat on Chris Pine pic.twitter.com/7XSQixGjYk— Keith Garrett ❄️ (@keithgdesigns) September 6, 2022
Turns out, it was all nothing, at least according to Pine’s reps.
“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,” said Pine’s rep in a statement to Variety, “Just to be clear, Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine. 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.”
So are Wilde and Pugh feuding? Did Styles really spit on Pine? Did we really spend an embarrassing amount of time analysing the photos from the red carpet to understand whether Pugh and Wilde made eye contact or not? Nobody really knows the answers to these questions. But the most important question remains: Is Don’t Worry Darling even a good film?
While the critics have given the movie mixed reviews, you’ll just have to wait till September 23 to see if the drama ruins the movie or not.