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The set of 'Don't Worry Darling' was anything but drama-free. What happened to behind the scenes? Was it a toxic production?

Toxic production: What happened on the ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ set?

The set of Don’t Worry Darling was anything but drama-free. The film, which is a psychological thriller directed by Olivia Wilde, has been overshadowed by reports of on-set toxicity. Actors & crew alike have spoken out about the difficult environment that was created by the cast both on and off-screen.

Don’t Worry Darling paints a picture of a perfect, utopian company town in the 50s that may not be as perfect as it seems and stars Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Nick Kroll, Gemma Chan, and KiKi Layne.

What happened behind the scenes of Don’t Worry Darling? Is Olivia Wilde to blame for the backlash? Let’s take a look at the wildest moments as this drama still unfolds.

Behind the scenes

Production on the film began in early 2020, with Shia LaBeouf attached to star alongside Florence Pugh. LaBeouf is no stranger to controversy, and it seems that his off-screen antics followed him onto the set of Don’t Worry Darling

In September 2020, just a few months into production, it was announced that LaBeouf had been replaced by Harry Styles. The official reason given was “scheduling conflicts,” but it was later revealed that there may have been more to the story. After the news that he’s left the film, former girlfriend FKA Twigs reported incidents of abuse during their relationship. Was this the reason for his sudden departure?

Amicably splitting after seven years of marriage, Olivia Wilde & Jason Sudeikis filed for divorce in November 2020. At a wedding in January 2021, fans were stunned to see Wilde & Harry Styles holding hands. It soon became clear that they were together (although they have never openly acknowledged their relationship). 

Wilde has since been seen at Styles’ tour shows, and they were recently spotted having a casual dinner in New York City.

Film festival fiasco

Florence Pugh was a no-show at the press conference for her latest film, Don’t Worry Darling at Venice Film Festival. But she showed up for the premiere later that night with the rest of the cast – and even appeared to applaud director Olivia Wilde at one point.

It was a far cry from the reports of a feud between the two women, which began circulating during filming. Wilde dodged a question about any reported ‘feud’ with Pugh during the press conference. 

“Florence is a force; we are so grateful she is able to make it tonight [to the premiere] despite being in production. As for all the endless tabloid gossip and noise out there, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel I need to contribute to it. It’s sufficiently well-nourished.”

Harry Styles famously declared that the movie production itself “felt like a movie”. Styles’s memorable persona didn’t stop there and he ended up kissing Nick Kroll after the film’s debut at the film festival. 

Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?

Following the world premiere of Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling at the Venice Film Festival, social media footage from inside the theater showed Styles apparently spitting on Pine. The act could not be confirmed 100% by the recordings, but one video of the two actors earned over 1.4 million views.

Pine’s representative denies that such an incident occurred. “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,” Pine’s rep said 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.”

Hit or a flop?

It’s always hard to tell with movies. Will it be a hit or a flop? Only time will tell. For now, we can only speculate. But one thing is for sure: Kiki Layne’s performance in Don’t Worry Darling was cut short.

The actress took to Instagram to share her thoughts on the film. “The best thing about #DontWorryDarling is that I was lucky enough to meet @arielstachel,” she wrote. “They cut us from most of the movie, but we thriving in real life.” It’s clear the drama is not over just yet.

The movie made $19.22 million on opening weekend from just over 4000 theaters across North America.  The international box office is where “Don’t Worry Darling” really shines. The movie has made $30 million globally. It’s easy to see why many are confused by the overwhelmingly positive response made by fans on social media. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a score of 38%, after all. Surely, there must be something that fans are seeing that critics are not?

The mixed critical response to Don’t Worry Darling is indicative of the film’s central problem: it can’t decide what it wants to be. Is it a thriller? A drama? The answer is yes, and that’s where the trouble begins. By trying to please everyone, Don’t Worry Darling ends up pleasing no one. It’s hard to separate the on-screen drama from the off-screen mess. 

It’s a shame, because with a little more focus this could have been a great movie. As it stands, however, it just doesn’t live up to its potential. Whatever went down, it’s likely that this film will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

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