No one could have ever expected the hype around Don’t Worry Darling to have become as big as it’s gotten. With a stellar cast and some behind-the-scenes drama, the film is now one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year. Florence Pugh and Harry Styles star in the psychological thriller, directed by Olivia Wilde, which follows a young couple living in the idyllic community of Victory. Things quickly take a dark turn in this so-called utopia.
Don’t Worry Darling has earned an R rating for sexuality, violence, and language. From lavish parties to passionate love scenes to danger, Don’t Worry Darling isn’t holding back. After a long production, Don’t Worry Darling is finally coming to the big screen. From the Venice Film Festival situation to the first reviews, HollywoodLife has all the latest news about Don’t Worry Darling.
Don’t Worry Darling At The Venice Film Festival
Don’t Worry Darling had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 5, and there was plenty of drama leading up to the film’s debut. Days before the premiere and amid Olivia feud rumors, it was announced that Florence would not be attending the film’s press conference with other cast members, despite being the lead. The Oscar nominee couldn’t attend the press conference due to being in production in Budapest on Dune: Part Two.
At the press conference, a reporter asked Olivia, “Can you just clear the air and address if there’s been a falling out there and if so why? Because it’s something that people are discussing.” Olivia responded, “Florence is a force, and we are so grateful that she’s able to make it tonight despite being in production on Dune. I know, as a director, how disruptive it is to lose an actor even for a day, so I’m very grateful to her, to Denis Villeneuve for helping us. And we’re really thrilled we’ll get to celebrate her work tonight. I can’t say enough how honored I am to have her as our lead. She’s amazing in the film.”
She added, “As for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, I mean, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute. It’s sufficiently well nourished.”
When another reporter tried to ask about “the noise” surrounding the movie and the questions about Shia LaBeouf’s controversial exit from the movie, moderator Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan shut the reporter down. “I think this question has been answered when she talked about the internet,” Giulia said.
Florence did fly in for the red carpet premiere and screening for Don’t Worry Darling. She wore a gorgeous sheer Valentino number for the premiere. While she posed with the cast for a group photo, Florence did not post solely with Olivia or Harry. It’s also worth noting that Harry and Olivia also did not publicly pose together (just the two of them) or sit beside each other, despite being in a relationship. Florence did acknowledge Olivia during the film’s standing ovation after the screening.
— JZMaclin (@Mac70J) September 6, 2022
Just when you thought the drama was over, there was a viral moment that caught everyone off guard. A video began circulating on Twitter that showed Harry potentially spitting on co-star Chris Pine at the screening. Twitter users began weighing in on whether or not the spitting actually took place. Another video from a different angle seemed to debunk the spitting claim.
Don’t Worry Darling Reviews
The initial review embargo for Don’t Worry Darling lifted on September 5, coinciding with the film’s Venice Film Festival premiere. The movie currently has a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. There is a very mixed consensus from critics about the film, but there’s overwhelming praise for Florence’s performance.
IndieWire’s Kate Erbland writes that the film “starts off strong before crumbling into baffling storytelling choices made worse by the revolting intentions behind them. More frustrating is that the film also offers stunning craft work, a wonderfully immersive quality, and one of star Florence Pugh’s best performances yet. Too bad about the rest of it.”
Entertainment Weekly‘s Leah Greenblatt notes that Florence “gives Alice as much inner life as the skittering screenplay allows, and Styles, at least, looks fantastic in a suit. But the movie, whatever its pile of ideas about love, gender constructs, and modern living, never really transcends Stepford mood-board pastiche. It’s all nefarious and gorgeous, Darling, and strictly nonsense in the end.”
USA Today points out that Florence “continues to make everything she’s in better – and, boy howdy, it’s needed here as the plot grows more convoluted.” The review writes that the “lack of chemistry between Pugh and Styles is another disconnect – her dynamic with Pine, albeit antagonistic, is far more effective and not explored nearly enough.”
On the other hand, Deadline’s Pete Hammond believes that the film is “actually quite entertaining if you’re in the mood, even if Wilde’s candy-coated psychological thriller doesn’t rewrite the rules of the genre in any significant way.” He adds that Harry “shows he is the real deal as an actor and has great promise.”
Don’t Worry Darling Trailers
The second official trailer was released on July 21. The trailer begins with Jack and Alice living in wedded bliss. However, things take a dark turn when Alice begins to question what’s really going on in Victory. During a particularly steamy scene between Jack and Alice, it appears Frank is watching them.
Alice begins to have nightmares and goes to great lengths to get answers. “I gave you all of this Alice!” Jack screams at his wife. In the final moments of the trailer, Frank says to Alice, “I’ve been waiting for someone like you. Someone to challenge me… like a good girl.”
The first trailer dropped on May 2. Jack and Alice are in bed together. “You and me,” Alice says. Jack replies, “Always. You and me.” The couple appears to be living an idyllic life as part of the Victory Project community. But while the men are out “changing the world,” the women can’t leave. As Alice says in the second trailer, “They’re lying about everything.”
Release Date & Where To Watch
Don’t Worry Darling will be released on September 23, 2022. The film will have an exclusive theatrical release for 45 days. After that, Don’t Worry Darling will be available to stream on HBO Max.
Cast & Crew
Florence Pugh stars as Alice Chambers, the wife of Jack Chambers. Over the course of the film, Alice begins to question what’s really going on in Victory and wonders if there’s something darker beneath the surface. Florence is best known for her roles in Black Widow, Midsommar, and Little Women, the latter of which earned her an Oscar nomination.
The trailers have featured very intimate and sexy moments between Florence and Harry’s characters. In a recent interview, Florence doesn’t want the talk about the film to be centered around just sex scenes. “When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s not why I’m in this industry.”
She added, “That’s not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”
Harry Styles plays Jack Chambers. He lives in the idealized community of Victory and works for the top-secret Victory Project. Harry joined the cast in September 2022 and replaced Shia LaBeouf. This is his third onscreen role after Dunkirk and Eternals. Playing Jack in Don’t Worry Darling will be his meatiest role to date. After Don’t Worry Darling, Harry’s next role will be in the film My Policeman.
Director Olivia Wilde admitted that she was ecstatic when Harry joined the cast of the film. “She [Don’t Worry Darling’s costume designer Arianne Phillips] and I did a little victory dance when we heard that we officially had Harry in the film because we knew that he has a real appreciation for fashion and style,” Olivia told Vogue. “And this movie is incredibly stylistic. It’s very heightened and opulent, and I’m really grateful that he is so enthusiastic about that element of the process—some actors just don’t care.”
Olivia also praised the former One Direction singer for taking a “supporting role” in the movie. “Little known fact: most male actors don’t want to play supporting roles in female-led films. The industry has raised them to believe it lessens their power (i.e financial value) to accept these roles, which is one of the reasons it’s so hard to get financing for movies focusing on female stories,” Olivia wrote on Instagram in February 2021.
She continued, “No joke, it is harrrrrd to find actors who recognize why it might be worth it to allow for a woman to hold the spotlight. Enter: @harrystyles, our “Jack” . Not only did he relish the opportunity to allow for the brilliant @florencepugh to hold center stage as our “Alice”, but he infused every scene with a nuanced sense of humanity. He didn’t have to join our circus, but he jumped on board with humility and grace, and blew us away every day with his talent, warmth, and ability to drive backwards.”
In Harry’s 2022 Rolling Stone cover story, Olivia recalled one of Harry’s most powerful scenes in the film that “left us all in tears.” The scene is when Jack gets promoted at a company gala. “It’s a strange scene, full of fascist references, and a disturbing amount of male rage,” Olivia said. “The scene called for him to stand onstage with Frank [Chris Pine] and chant their creepy slogan, ‘Who’s world is it? Ours!’ over and over again. Dark as hell. But Harry took it to another level. He was so fully in the moment, he began screaming the lines to the crowd, in this primal roar, that was way more intense than anything we expected from the scene.”
After Chris backed away from Harry, Olivia said “the camera operator followed him as he paced around the stage like a kind of wild animal. We were all gobsmacked at the monitor. I think even Harry was surprised by it. Those are the best moments for an actor — when you’re completely outside your body.”
Harry confirmed that Don’t Worry Darling will feature some “saucy” scenes, some of which we’ve seen glimpses of in the trailer. Harry and Florence can be seen passionately making love on a table. The actor also opened up about rediscovering his love for acting.
“In this context, it’s been a really nice opportunity for me to be able to get very much out of my comfort zone and kind of start again. It’s been a lot of fun,” he said in his Capital FM interview. “I was very lucky to have a trusting relationship with the people we were working with and that kind of came first.”
Chris Pine (Star Trek, Wonder Woman) plays Frank, the enigmatic CEO of the Victory Project. Frank is described as an “equal parts corporate visionary and motivational life coach.” Gemma Chan (Eternals, Crazy Rich Asians) stars as Shelley, Frank’s wife who relishes in “enjoying the beauty, luxury, and debauchery” of the Victory community.
Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk, The Old Guard, Coming 2 America) plays Margaret, one of the wives in the Victory community. In addition to directing the film, Olivia also has a supporting role as Mary, another one of the wives living alongside Alice and Jack in Victory.
The film also stars Nick Kroll (How It Ends), Sydney Chandler (Pistol), Kate Berlant (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood), Asif Ali (WandaVision), Douglas Smith (Big Little Lies), Timothy Simons (Veep), and Ari’el Stachel (upcoming Respect the Jux).
Don’t Worry Darling marks Olivia’s second time directing after the incredible success of Booksmart. The screenplay was written by Katie Silberman, who also co-wrote Booksmart. Don’t Worry Darling is based on a story by Katie, Carey van Dyke, and Shane Van Dyke.
Olivia described Don’t Worry Darling as “The Feminine Mystique on acid” in her Vogue cover story interview. She revealed Don’t Worry Darling asks the “question of, What are you willing to sacrifice in order to do what’s right? If you really think about it, are you willing to blow up the system that serves you?”
Don’t Worry Darling also brought Olivia and Harry together. The couple was first spotted together in January 2021. They were seen holding hands at the wedding of Jeffrey Azoff, who is Harry’s manager. This was just two months after Olivia and her longtime partner Jason Sudeikis, whom she has two children with. Harry and Olivia are still going strong in 2022.
The inspiration for Don’t Worry Darling began to take shape after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Olivia revealed in her Vogue cover story. Olivia had crossed paths with Gloria Steinem about what to do next. Gloria told her to stop paying taxes. Olivia responded, “‘What?’ I own property. I have kids. I don’t think I can do that.'”
This kickstarted the idea for the film. “This is why nothing will change,” she continued. “That was the beginning of Don’t Worry Darling. I was like, Who’s that person who’s actually willing to destroy the structure that is built entirely for their comfort? That’s a selflessness on a level that I admire but admit is far from the way I live my life.”
The official synopsis reads: “Alice and Jack are lucky to be living in the idealized community of Victory, the 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 — 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 — 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 can’t help questioning exactly what they’re doing in Victory, and why. Just how much is Alice willing to lose to expose what’s really going on in this paradise?”
In theaters only. 9.23.22 pic.twitter.com/S2wiqcmL9m
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) September 13, 2021
The first teaser trailer was released in September 2021. The footage only lasted 11 seconds, but we did catch a glimpse of Harry and Florence’s characters making out. The teaser also features creepy music playing in the background.
Shia LaBeouf was originally cast to play Jack, the role Harry went on to play. The initial story was that Shia dropped out of the film due to scheduling conflicts. However, Variety later reported that Olivia fired him. The actor allegedly “displayed poor behavior and his style clashed with the cast and crew, including Wilde, who ultimately fired him.”
A Don’t Worry Darling source said that Shia was “not an easy guy to work with” and was “off-putting” to those involved, especially Olivia. Olivia has been open about her “zero a**hole policy” on set. However, the truth about Shia’s exit from the film has come into questions in recent weeks.
In Variety’s August 2022 cover story, Olivia said that Shia’s “process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. 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.” She added, “I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.”
Following the interview being published, Shia responded to Olivia’s comments in an email to the outlet and said that he “quit the film due to lack of rehearsal time.” He provided an email he claimed he sent to Olivia in response to the article, which Variety published in full. “I am greatly honored by your words on my work; thank you, that felt good to read. I am a little confused about the narrative that I was fired, however. You and I both know the reasons for my exit. I quit your film because your actors & I couldn’t find time to rehearse,” part of Shia’s email read.
Dakota Johnson was also originally set to play the role of Margaret. However, she had to leave the film due to scheduling conflicts, Deadline reported. Kiki was eventually cast in the role of Margaret.
Production on Don’t Worry Darling was temporarily shut down when a member of the crew tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020. Deadline reported that the positive test “came up during routine testing.” The person who tested positive was “not a member of the principal cast but someone who was in close enough proximity to them that the shutdown was deemed necessary to find out if anyone else on the production has been exposed.”
Filming wrapped a few months later in February 2021. Florence posted a lengthy Instagram message thanking the countless people in front of and behind the camera who helped make the film.
“We were very aware what it meant when we all agreed to this job. It was a COVID movie. One that could get shut down at any moment and of course, we did,” Florence wrote. “However, despite these new shooting restrictions and guidelines, I can’t tell you how energised these people in my photos have been. How inspired, how hard working no matter what the circumstances. We’ve had people leave and people join and each time we’ve been met by beautiful, crazy talented beings. Despite the new on set rules, every single person delivered their A game and it’s the many long list of names like those above and in the credits at the end of movies that actually get this hard, messy, fun weird job done. So… one final thank you to this amazing crew. You are the best bunch of jammy jammy dodgers and we are so grateful for you! I look forward to watching what we made.”
Cast member Asif Ali also celebrated the end of filming with a group cast photo that included Harry, Olivia, Florence, and more. “GIGANTIC congratulations to EVERYONE involved in making this beautiful film during these very trying times,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’m so happy I got to learn, play, and build with these shiny gems. I wish I took more pics but I didn’t want to get fired lol. DONT WORRY DARLING is coming!!”