Excitement Mounts as ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Comes to Venice

By Lindsey Bahr
AP Cinema Screenwriter

VENICE, Italy (AP) — The Venice Film Festival is buzzing with anticipation for Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling,” which has its world premiere Monday night at the Lido.

There’s the eagerness for the film itself, a mid-century style psychological thriller with a star-studded cast, including Florence Pugh, Harry Styles and Chris Pine. There’s also the arrival of Styles, whose fame and otherworldly sequel can do the mania of Timothée Chalamet seen on Friday look downright quaint.

But it seems the most anticipated event is the film’s press conference on Monday afternoon. The behind-the-scenes drama rarely extends beyond inside industry gossip, but the question of exactly what happened during the making of “Don’t Worry Darling” has become a source of intrigue. world. Rumors of everything from Shia LaBeouf’s departure from the film early on, to Pugh’s perceived lack of public support for the project on his social media accounts have been simmering on TikTok and Twitter for some time.

Wilde herself also became a tabloid staple after paparazzi discovered her off-screen relationship with Styles. And then there was the CinemaCon moment, in which Wilde was served with custody papers by his ex, Jason Sudeikis, during an onstage presentation of his film in front of thousands of industry professionals and of theater owners.

Then for the past few weeks, all the little threads seemed to flare up all at once. Much of that was fueled by LaBeouf, who came out of the woodwork to challenge a two-year-old account that he had been fired from the project. Ultimately, her role went to Styles.

Wilde, in a Variety cover story, is not directly quoted as saying she fired him. She offered, “His process was not conducive to the ethics I demand in my productions. It has a process that in some ways seems to require combative energy, and I personally don’t think that’s conducive to the best performance.

In response, LaBeouf sent private emails, text messages and video messages to Variety to prove that he had indeed quit due to lack of rehearsal time. The video message, in which she tries to convince LaBeouf to stay on as Jack, was later leaked online.

LaBeouf, who will head to court next year over allegations of abuse by his ex, FKA twigs, is also in Venice this year with the movie “Padre Pio.”

The leaked video also showed Wilde calling Pugh “Miss Flo,” which some saw as confirmation that the two weren’t getting along. Wilde, for his part, has been nothing but ardent about his lead actor. In an interview with The Associated Press, she spoke at length about Pugh’s extraordinary talent saying that what she did with the role was “singularly brilliant” and that Alice’s character is a “heroine for the ages”. .

Still, questions have arisen as to why Pugh hasn’t posted much about the film on his Instagram. She didn’t highlight the trailer, or say anything about getting into Venice. Adding fuel to the fire, The Wrap then reported that Pugh would limit his press appearances around the film to Venice only. And on Sunday night, Variety reported that Pugh would also not be attending the press conference due to his tight travel schedule and deadlines.

Pugh is in the midst of production on massive blockbuster “Dune 2” (also a Warner Bros. joint) and is expected to return directly from his Venice obligations. Chalamet, his “Dune 2” co-star, had an equally brief stint in Venice for his film “Bones and All.” This will likely be the only appearance he makes on behalf of this film, but no one has written headlines about Chalamet “limiting” his press engagements.

The hope is that the press conference will answer or clarify lingering questions, bring attention back to the film itself, and perhaps even spark more excitement for its September 23 theatrical release.

“This film is my love letter to films that push the limits of our imagination. It’s ambitious, but I think we’ve done something really special,” Wilde wrote in her director’s statement. a life where you had everything you ever wanted, what would it take for you to give it up… Are you ready to dismantle the system that is designed to serve you?

Anyway, one thing is certain: everyone is talking about “Don’t Worry Darling”.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

___

For more information on the Venice Film Festival, visit: www.apnews.com/VeniceFilmFestival