What’s the worrying celeb drama surrounding Don’t Worry Darling?

If you logged onto Twitter today and your phone instantly overheated and exploded, it might be due to the firestorm of celeb drama surrounding the Don’t Worry Darling premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

This movie had all the right components to build extremely positive buzz: actor-turned-director Olivia Wilde making an ambitious, creepy sophomore film after the successful Booksmart, with the dual star power of Oscar-nominee Florence Pugh and fangirl fave Harry Styles in his first major role.

So what happened, and why is Chris Pine apparently covered in a globule of One Direction-flavoured spit? Let’s break down each player in this twisted saga of gossip and he-said-she-said, one by one…

Olivia Wilde

Apart from being publicly served alimony papers by ex-husband Jason Sudeikis a few months back, Olivia Wilde seemed to be enjoying a pretty good year. She was in a hush-hush relationship with one of the world’s biggest pop stars, former One Direction member Harry Styles, and had an exciting new project to follow up Booksmart, with that film’s screenwriter Katie Silberman returning.

Wilde also stars as Bunny in the film, an eerie retro dystopia where Alice (Pugh) must confront the dark, sexist secrets of the town of Victory. Chris Pine was all set to play the town’s cult-like leader, and Wilde had landed upon a volatile, recognisable male talent to play Alice’s loving husband Jack…

Shia LaBeouf

Cast in April 2020 alongside Pugh and Pine, troubled actor Shia LaBeouf was then booted from the production in September of the same year. Just a few months later his R&B star ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs would sue LaBeouf and allege sexual battery and assault.

But was LaBeouf actually fired by Wilde, as she claimed to Variety (“ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them”)? Or did he quit, as he seemed to prove in a private video he leaked of Wilde asking him to rethink his part in Don’t Worry Darling in August 2022?

The clip is pretty damning, and goes against the director’s assertions that her set had to be free of drama first and foremost. In it Wilde tells LaBeouf that she’s “not ready to give up on this yet. I want to figure this out. You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo….If you guys can make peace, I respect your point of view, I respect hers.” That pejorative language sure suggests there was already existing tensions between the director and her star.

Florence Pugh

So where was “Miss Flo” during all this? She avoided Venice’s press junket for the film, for one thing, instead making vague statements about the controversy and her presumed protest at LaBeouf’s casting on the red carpet pre-premiere.

In a steadfast Harper’s Bazaar interview, Pugh even seemed to back up rumours that Wilde had not been on set for many of the film’s pivotal scenes, forcing Pugh and the film’s remaining crew to work alone.

“If I shout about one thing…it’s that these people made that movie happen”, she said of the shoot’s COVID nurses and crew. “They came to work every day on time and fully respected the process.”

Harry Styles

Styles gets to show off his singing and dancing chops in one of the film’s scenes, but his acting otherwise has been called into question, despite a solid small role in Dunkirk. The musician’s very vague, film theory 101 statements to the press did not alleviate Twitter’s brutal takedown.

It should be noted that until the film comes out, we really have no reason to prematurely criticise Hazza, and that his dodgy American accent is probably tied into the plot’s sci-fi conspiracy somehow. At least he put on a thrilling performance at the film’s Venice premiere, with some eagle-eyed viewers suspecting that he spat on Chris Pine as the actors made their way to their seats.

Chris Pine

So now we have a subversive feminist drama with some not-so-feminist behind-the-scenes drama, one actor seemingly avoiding her director while the other protects his GF. With his spit.

We’ll never really know the extent of this saucy tabloid gossip, not with so many famous figures each telling their own side of the story. But god would we give anything to be inside Chris Pine’s mind right now, while his pretty face is providing ample meme fodder at Don’t Worry Darling‘s press junkets and premieres.

For what it’s worth, the movie did receive a lengthy standing ovation at the festival, before reviewers swarmed to dub the film “disappointing, half-baked” and “marooned in a desert of unoriginality“.


The film hits cinemas soon, and there’s a sense that we haven’t heard the last of this sordid set drama yet. We’re worried, darling.