Three years after garnering widespread acclaim with her directorial debut Booksmart, which spurred a Golden Globe nod for Beanie Feldstein, Olivia Wilde is back on the big screen with her much-anticipated follow-up Don’t Worry Darling.
Unless you’ve somehow managed to entirely avoid conversing with fellow human beings in recent months, you’re well aware of the variety of viral moments surrounding the film’s release, including (but not limited to) what Wilde herself has now referred to as “Spitgate.”
The spit-focused hoopla—which began with a viral clip many had asserted as showing Harry Styles’ saliva being sent in the direction of his co-star Chris Pine—quickly spurred a statement from a Pine rep, who called the claim “a complete fabrication” born out of a desire to further fuel “foolish speculation.” Styles, meanwhile, later joked about it at a show.
“But I think it’s a perfect example of, like, people will look for drama anywhere they can,” Wilde told Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Wednesday’s show. “Harry did not spit on Chris, in fact. … That is exactly what I mean though. People can look at a video that shows evidence of someone not spitting on someone else and they’ll still see what they wanna see. And that is the creation of drama and that is clickbait.”
At the time, Wilde was answering a question about DWD star Florence Pugh, with whom some have repeatedly speculated she has mutual issues. Wilde refuted this narrative and noted her male colleagues wouldn’t be facing the same questions about their cast, to which Colbert agreed.
“I have nothing against her for any reason,” Wild said of the “fantastic” Pugh, who plays Alice Chambers in the new film.
Another behind-the-scenes element of the process behind bringing DWD from the page to the screen that’s received a great deal of attention is the prior involvement in the project by Shia LaBeouf, who in December 2020 was accused of abuse by former partner FKA twigs.
Talk of the circumstances surrounding LaBeouf’s departure eventually grew to include leaked messages, with both sides appearing to paint very different pictures of what transpired during the early stages of the preparation process. In Wednesday’s Late Show chat, Wilde said LaBeouf gave her an “ultimatum” during what she described as mediation efforts between two of her stars.
“Early on in the process of making the film, as the director, I tried to mediate a situation between people to try to see if they could work together happily,” Wilde told Colbert on Wednesday. “Once it became clear that it was not a tenable working relationship, I was given an ultimatum. I chose my actress, which I’m very happy I did. At the time, was I bummed that we weren’t able to make it work? Sure. Did information about him come to light later that made me confident we made the right decision? Absolutely.”
When asked directly if she fired LaBeouf, Wilde continued, ultimately arriving at the conclusion that “it’s a question of semantics.” The project, however, “wasn’t going to move forward” how LaBeouf wanted it to.
“We had to replace Shia,” Wilde said. “He is a fantastic actor but it wasn’t gonna work. … When he gave me the ultimatum of him or Florence, I chose Florence. And that was him feeling he was stepping away and me feeling like we were moving on without him.”
See more of Wilde and Colbert’s discussion above. Don’t Worry Darling opens nationwide on Friday and also counts Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, and KiKi Layne among its extended cast.