Why 'Don't Worry Darling' Was the Unfortunate Drama of 2022

Don't Worry Darling Harry Styles Jack Chambers Florence Pugh Alice Chambers Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures
“Don’t Worry Darling.” Oh, who are we kidding? On a sunny afternoon, I sat under my heated blanket, a cooling tube wrapped around my neck, and our family’s charming Pomeranian, Chewy, resting on my lap. During a usual catch-up session with my Dad, talk ran the gamut before eventually settling on “Don’t Worry Darling.”

The now infamous behind-the-scenes melee had sent online chatter into a frenzy. It all culminated in one of the most discussed Venice Film Festivals in years, especially among non-film nerds not used to living for every sound bite from the annual fete. It was the kick in the pants the festival circuit needed, just not the drama “Don’t Worry Darling” probably wanted.

As countless outlets, including Cosmopolitan (and online fan accounts), have documented, the shade surrounding “Don’t Worry Darling” was epic. There was a recast, a video leak, an alleged spit takes between a co-star’s legs and rumors of women at odds. It had early 2000s vibes.

The controversy was not the sequel to the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial that the internet might have wanted. It is what they got. As the “Don’t Worry Darling” title suggests, both stories feature a female claiming there is “nothing to see here” when there is something worth noticing about what she claims about reality versus what it is.

Speaking of Amber Heard, Olivia Wilde has drawn comparisons to Heard in light of a video leaking of Wilde imploring the original male lead, Shia LeBeouf, to stay on as the star of “Don’t Worry Darling.” The footage shows Wilde talking in a manner that is a far cry from the protective leader she has portrayed herself as being to publications. 

Olivia Wilde had said she fired LeBeouf. Shia LeBeouf told Variety he quit, and he provided receipts.

As for the “Don’t Worry Darling” lead, Florence Pugh, the Oscar nominee, only did one promotional event for the movie. Awkward. As I explained all this to my Dad, he sat both captivated and slack-jawed by the whole thing. It was an understandable reaction to hearing of such a sordid workplace dispute. But why did one in this atmosphere still sting with such surprise?

Hollywood has done a brilliant job covering up its drama for so long. They put on a good show of acting as if everyone gets along smashingly. DVD commentaries can often make you cringe with some of the over-the-top gushing co-stars and directors will do with each other. It sounds too good to be true. Perhaps, it is.

Much like Amber Heard is a bad seed in the Me Too movement, Olivia Wilde is not the sole representative of hers. Having a female director did not prevent an actress from enduring a difficult situation, the director appearing to side with the male actor, and so on. As observers, we have yet to learn the full story, though.

Olivia Wilde did not handle the scandal and the ensuing fallout well. At the core of the “Don’t Worry Darling” controversy is the same takeaway the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial gave the public. Gender does not define what will happen.

It does not mean a woman will not let the power dynamics of being a director go to her head. Being a woman does not mean she will not physically or emotionally harm her husband. I strongly suspect that Olivia Wilde did not intend to send that message with “Don’t Worry Darling.” Art has a strange way of revealing the truth. Miss Wilde learned that lesson the hard way.

Final Takeaways:

As Dr. Grande would say: “This is my opinion, a theory. I am only speculating about what might have happened.”

Yes: I think Harry Styles spit in between Chris Pine’s legs at the Venice Film Festival. Why else would Chris Pine react like this? It makes zero sense. If you think anything else happened, Amber Heard has a little Yorkie who does big business that she would like you to meet. 😉

Yes: I believe that Shia LeBeouf more than likely quit “Don’t Worry Darling” instead of getting fired by a protective Olivia Wilde. The video is quite telling, and so are the receipts. That is what the evidence shows. 

Yes: There was probably tension between Florence Pugh between Olivia Wilde. Instead of Wilde denying there was any beef between her and Pugh during her soft interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Wilde praised Pugh’s obvious talent. Wilde could have directly clarified there were no personal issues between her and Pugh.

Lessons Learned: 1) Refrain from mixing business with pleasure. 2) Two wrongs do not make a right. In the comments section of the Stephen Colbert interview, I noticed many arguing that male directors had behaved worse, so why should Olivia Wilde be getting so much heat? Women should get no more of a free pass for bad behavior than men. The answer is not ignorance. It is accountability for all.