The Bizarre Drama Of The Don't Worry Darling Cast Explained

In July 2019, Deadline reported that Olivia Wilde was making a second attempt at filmmaking with "Don't Worry Darling," having enjoyed massive success earlier that year with her directorial debut in the teen comedy-drama "Booksmart." And when — less than a year later — the outlet confirmed that Chris Pine, Florence Pugh, and Shia LaBeouf had been cast as actors in the film, fans couldn't be more excited, and neither, apparently, could Wilde. "This cast is B A N A N A S," she tweeted at the time. "I'm the happiest director in the world. To say that I'm honored/excited/elated/shi***** myself would be a massive understatement." Nothing, however, could have prepared us, or even the cast, for the drama that would ensue. And no, this drama is not from the actual film.

From a steamy on-set romance to an alleged, um, spit-take, and a possible breakup, "Don't Worry Darling" might just be the movie we need right now. And if you were not already in the loop, here's a look into the bizarre controversies surrounding this film.

The drama between Olivia Wilde and Shia LaBeouf

Initially cast to play Jack Chamber, Shia LaBeouf was dropped off the "Don't Worry Darling" cast in September 2020 and replaced with Harry Styles due to a scheduling conflict, per Deadline. Except this was, in fact, apparently not true. In December 2020, sources told Variety that LaBeouf was fired from the film — something Wilde would later confirm in an interview with the outlet. "His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions," she said in an August 2022 cover story. "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."

Of course, this seemed like a good enough reason to have let LaBeouf go, only the "Honey Boy" actor has denied being fired, claiming he quit first. In email messages he sent to Wilde, LaBeouf gave his own reasons for leaving the project. "You and I both know the reasons for my exit," he wrote (via Variety). "I quit your film because your actors and I couldn't find time to rehearse." To back up his claim about quitting, LaBeouf also shared emails and a video showing Wilde's apparent disappointment over his decision to leave the project. "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," she said in the clip.

The issue with Florence Pugh

After Deadline confirmed the cast lineup for "Don't Worry Darling" in April 2020, Florence Pugh took to Instagram, gushing over the opportunity to work with Olivia Wilde, whom she called her "idol." But while things started out rather chummy between Wilde and Pugh, it apparently did not remain that way for long. Rumors of a feud between the two first started swirling in February 2021, when the "Midsommar" actor shared an Instagram post to celebrate the end of filming for "Don't Worry Darling." Despite a lengthy caption praising the crew, Pugh conveniently left out Wilde's name, leading fans to believe their relationship had turned sour.

This narrative continued spinning since, for the longest time, Pugh did not promote "Don't Worry Darling" on her Instagram page, despite promoting her other projects at the time. And when she finally did, the initial excitement for the film just wasn't there. As the press tour rolled around, Pugh was noticeably missing — though reps insist her absence was not intentional and was only because she was busy shooting "Dune: Part Two." It also did not particularly help that the "Little Women" actor did not acknowledge any of the praise Wilde showered on her in interviews and on social media. 

The final straw, however, came at the Venice Film Festival, when — during a four-minute standing ovation — Pugh, who seemingly avoided eye contact with Wilde throughout the event, made her way to the exit, per Variety

Did Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles break up?

While it's not unlikely for co-stars to fall in love, or in this case, for directors to fall in love with one of their actors, with Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles, we definitely did not see it coming. First, there is their 10-year age gap; then there was Wilde's breakup from her partner Jason Sudeikis in late 2020. But none of that could apparently stop these two stars from getting together. 

In January 2021, People confirmed that Wilde and Styles' relationship — which started out platonic — had taken a romantic turn. "Everyone saw it coming," a source said. "During breaks, [he] hasn't been able to stay away and visited her trailer." TMZ also confirmed the pair's relationship, reporting that they attended a wedding together. Now, in the unspoken rule book, taking someone to a wedding means you're serious about them. So yeah, things between Wilde and Styles got serious pretty fast. 

But it appears that things have fallen apart between the two actors just as quickly as they started. At the Venice Film Festival, Styles and Wilde also had their share of drama, as fans pointed out that the two were noticeably avoiding each other. As seen in one video shared on Twitter, a member of staff tried to get Wilde and Styles to stand next to each other for a photo — but from the look of things, the "As It Was" singer was simply not having it. So is the truly Wilde and Styles romance over? Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Harry Styles' alleged spit-take on Chris Pine

As if there wasn't already enough drama surrounding this movie, Harry Styles and Chris Pine also seemingly have their own thing going on. The two started making headlines after a video of Styles arriving at the Venice Film Festival surfaced on the internet. In the clip, Styles is shown taking his seat beside Pine, but just before he does, his lips come together in a pout directed toward the "Star Trek" actor, who then suddenly stops and looks down. As Styles eventually settles down, Pine shakes his head slightly, picks up his sunglasses, and continues to look amused.

There might not have been much to make from this video, except that internet users came up with the theory that Styles actually spat on Pine as he sat. "Harry Styles definitely spat on Chris Pine," one fan tweeted, while another suggested that there be "a full fledged investigation into what happened on that don't worry darling set." But while Twitter sure likes to stir up a storm, both Pine and Styles have addressed the rumors. 

In an exclusive statement to People, one of Pine's representative said, "This is a ridiculous story — a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion." Styles has also made a joke of the rumor, quipping during a stage performance, "I just popped very quickly to Venice to spit on Chris Pine."

The alleged on-set tension

We might have only started seeing it play out at the Venice Film Festival, but the drama between the "Don't Worry Darling" cast apparently goes way back to when production was still ongoing. Per Rolling Stone, the tension between Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh began when the "Third Person" actor started dating Harry Styles. This, according to sources, did not sit well with Pugh, given that the timeline of Wilde's relationship with Styles dates back to when she was still in a relationship with Jason Sudeikis. "If she cheated on her [partner] with Harry Styles, and Florence knew about it, I could see that being a thing," an insider told Rolling Stone. 

Of course, there is also the fact that Wilde's relationship with Styles already caused a stir among fans who were not particularly keen on the pair's coupling. Between allegations of grooming Styles and using the pop star to get attention, Wilde has sure faced a lot of scrutiny from the public, as explained by The Daily Beast. And while she seemingly remains unfazed by the frequent backlash, something tells us we've only scratched the surface of this movie's on-set drama. 

Olivia Wilde has called the rumors 'baseless'

In the cover story for the October 2022 issue of Vanity Fair, Olivia Wilde touched on her alleged beef with the "Don't Worry Darling" cast, specifically, Florence Pugh, whom she has continued to openly praise for her performance in the film. "It's just baffling to me that the media would rather focus on baseless rumors and gossip, thereby overshadowing her profound talent," Wilde told the outlet. "She deserves more than that. As does the movie, and everyone who worked so hard on it."

Wilde also addressed rumors about cheating on her ex-partner, Jason Sudeikis, calling the claims "completely inaccurate," because, according to her, her relationship with Harry Styles started only after ending things with the "Horrible Bosses" actor. "Like any relationship that ends, it doesn't end overnight," she maintained. "Unfortunately, Jason and I had a very bumpy road, and we officially dissolved the relationship towards the beginning of the pandemic."

About Shia LaBeouf's messy exit from the "Don't Worry Darling" cast, Wilde insisted the issue was more complicated than it appeared. "All I'll say is he was replaced, and there was no going forward with him," she explained. "I wish him the best in his recovery." LaBeouf has since responded to Wilde's Vanity Fair interview, telling The Hollywood Reporter that "It is what it is," and that he wishes "every blessing to her and her film."