It was the first time the team behind Don’t Worry Darling faced the world’s press, ahead of the film’s Venice premiere tonight and following days of controversy involving Shia LaBeouf’s withdrawal from the project and questions over Florence Pugh’s absence from today’s press conference.
But they needn’t have worried, darling, because the festival’s press conference moderator prevented an awkward question about LaBeouf’s history with the project, preferring instead to pepper the team with questions about costumes and cinematography.
Wilde addressed Florence Pugh’s absence only to repeat the party line, that “Florence is a force; we are so grateful she is able to make it tonight [to the premiere] despite being in production.” She refused to engage with speculation that suggested there might be other reasons. “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.”
Refresh for latest… (newest quotes at top): Harry Styles: I think your community is whatever you make it. With community, the most important thing is to start with what a real community is – family, friends, and people you’re surrounding your life with. That’s probably more important in terms of what really affects your day-to-day life, rather than social media. There’s a lot of negative sides of social media. They’re pretty obvious for everyone to see. But it’s always important to remember there are positive things happening in the world because of it as well.”
Olivia Wilde: “All of the women who made this film, we talked a lot about complicity and our role within the patriarchal system. We didn’t have interest in oversimplifying, wanted it to be provocative and all take a good look at our participation.”
A shocking moment as a question about the Shia LaBeouf controversy gets asked, and is immediately shot down by the conference moderator.
Olivia Wilde on Florence Pugh’s absence from the press conference: “Florence is a force, we are so grateful that she is able to make it tonight 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.”
Chris Pine gets asked if he was playing a “sexy messiah dictator”. “That’s my instagram handle. all leaders use image as a weapon. I didn’t base Frank on anyone essentially a hologram of sexiness that’s woven with incredibly beautiful but obtuse word salad.”
Olivia Wilde: “The film is unfortunately very timely but also very timeless. I don’t think there will ever be a time when the idea of controlling someone’s body is not something relevant to fight against. I hope it provokes conversations and makes people think and question the system that serves them. I want it to be entertaining, and intentionally provocative.”
Olivia Wilde: “Chaos is destructive, we try to tame nature to control it, that’s why its a man-made oasis. trying to control humanity is never a good idea.”
Harry Styles: “Ultimately, we all live in a version of our own protected bubbles. Ultimately, what we hope to take away from more is what does it take for someone to give up in order to do what’s right and step out of what’s comfortable?”
Harry Styles: “Music and acting opposite in a lot of ways, making music is a really personal thing and there’s aspects of acting where you’re drawing from experience but for the most part pretending to play someone else. That’s what I find the most fun about it. What I like about acting is I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Chris Pine: “The surprising thing is that it’s not all that different from what was reality at a certain point; to Harry’s point there wasn’t much acting. The people we were playing were real people in a world that is very much our own.”
Gemma Chan: “The world of the film was so beautifully constructed and put together, but with something sinister going on underneath.”
Harry Styles: It’s fun to get to play in worlds that aren’t necessarily your own, this world that’s supposedly so perfect its also fun to play and pretend in it. We were lucky to have that world built so well around us so we could play in reality, there wasn’t too much acting.”
Olivia Wilde: “We looked at the Manhattan project in terms of a secret organization where women made the deal not to ask questions. There’s a lot of fascist imagery and references [in the movie], trying to talk about power and abuse of power.”
Olivia Wilde: “We were really interested in the problematic nature of nostalgia itself. We started the film in the era of make america great again, questioning what is meant by that.”
EARLIER: Ever since Olivia Wilde first introduced her sophomore directorial effort, Warner Bros/New Line’s Don’t Worry Darling, at CinemaCon last April, followed by a steamy trailer a few days later, anticipation surrounding the film has escalated — for various reasons. It’s now at a fever pitch here in Venice where the movie will world premiere this evening.
Ahead of that, Wilde and stars Harry Styles, Chris Pine and Gemma Chan are due any minute at the film’s press conference. Lead Florence Pugh, however, will not attend.
Rarely has a press conference here in Venice been so anticipated — the festival on Sunday alerted badge holders about a “rush line” for last-minute admission should seats remain available.
There has been rampant speculation of potential fireworks at the press conference should director/co-writer and co-star Wilde be asked to clarify comments she made about the movie, the circumstances of Shia La Beouf’s withdrawal, and the rumors that Pugh wasn’t happy when Wilde and La Beouf’s replacement, Styles, reportedly began dating after they met on the set, and might have been distracted.
As Deadline reported on Sunday, Pugh won’t be at the press conference because her flight from the Budapest set of Dune 2 doesn’t land until later in the afternoon. She will walk the red carpet, do the photo call, and watch the movie which screens at 7pm local time. She will then jump right back on a plane to get back to work Tuesday morning.
Attention surrounding Don’t Worry Darling has only increased after a candid and provocative cover story on Wilde by our sibling publication Variety, followed by La Beouf’s social media refutation of Wilde’s assertion she fired him.
Wilde certainly may face some tough questions at the impending press conference, so check back for updates as we follow the proceedings.
Don’t Worry Darling follows Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) who seem lucky to be living in the idealized community of Victory, an experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. The 1950s societal optimism espoused by their CEO, Frank (Pine) — equal parts corporate visionary and motivational life coach — anchors every aspect of daily life in the tight-knit desert utopia.
While the husbands spend every day inside the Victory Project Headquarters, working on the “development of progressive materials,” their wives — including Frank’s elegant partner, Shelley (Chan) — get to spend their time enjoying the beauty, luxury and debauchery of their community. Life is perfect, with every resident’s needs met by the company. All they ask in return is discretion and unquestioning commitment to the Victory cause.
But when cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice finds herself questioning exactly what they’re doing in Victory, and why.
The film opens domestically on September 23.