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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

A look at the behind-the-scenes drama of Don’t Worry Darling

Florence Pugh is easily one of the most loveable stars of Hollywood today, from “Cooking with Flo” to her incredible fashion sense, she is loved and adored by many. She is also one of the most talented stars in Hollywood today. Yet, Pugh, who rose to fame with Ari Aster’s Midsommar and her Oscar-nominated turn as Amy in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, has recently been caught up in the controversy surrounding her latest role as Alice in Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling.  

Don’t Worry Darling follows Alice (Pugh), an ordinary housewife who comes to realize that her reality might not be quite as peaceful as she believed. The film also stars Harry Styles as Alice’s husband, Jack, along with Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Nick Kroll, and Gemma Chan. The film is also directed by Wilde, with a script originally written by brothers Carey and Shane Van Dyke, and later reworked by Katie Silberman (who Wilde also collaborated with on her 2019 directorial debut Booksmart). The film has been in the press since the day it was announced, originally for its star-studded cast, and more recently for its behind-the-scenes drama.  

Believe it or not, Styles was not the leading man originally cast opposite Florence Pugh. Rather, it was Shia LaBeouf who was originally cast in the role of Jack. But, LaBeouf left the film in August of 2020, and rumors quickly followed about his departure. LaBeouf, according to VARIETY, claims to have quit due to a lack of rehearsal time. Wilde on the other hand, claims that LaBeouf was fired, saying in a recent VARIETY interview, “He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their own work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them.” There seems to be no reason to not believe Wilde’s claims about LaBeouf – he is facing a suit from his ex-partner (and co-star in Honey Boy) FKA Twigs for sexual battery, which goes to court in April. Said suit, as well as past conflicts involving LaBeouf, seem to fully justify Wilde’s claims, until you watch the video that was allegedly sent to LaBeouf from Wilde on August 19, 2020 (VARIETY). In this video, tweeted by @hellopugh, Wilde is seen begging LaBeouf to return to the film, and goes as far as to say, “I think this might be a wakeup call for Miss Flo.” Wilde seems to imply that not only does she know about LaBeouf’s intense acting methods, but she is also aware of their danger, and is willing to subject Florence Pugh to them. The very Florence who Wilde claimed was the star with who she was so desperate to work alongside.  

According to MSN, Florence Pugh has given no explicit comment about this behind-the-scenes drama. Rather, she has let her actions speak louder than words. Pugh has canceled much of her press for Don’t Worry Darling, even skipping out on press at the Venice Film Festival, where she only walked the carpet and attended the premiere. Pugh even showed up late to the carpet and recorded a video of herself strutting in a gorgeous purple outfit while drinking an Aperol spritz. Pugh seems to be making a statement, that is setting herself free from the film and its toxicity and is moving on to bigger and better things.  

Various actions of other members of the cast, including Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, and Nick Kroll, seem to prove that they are steadfastly TeamFlo. They were all seen cheering on Pugh both on the Venice carpet, and at the premiere; they did not show this same warm energy to Olivia Wilde. Additionally, Pugh seemed rather uncomfortable during the standing ovation following the screening of the film, during which she seemed to avoid eye contact with Wilde, and she then left early. And to top it all off, Pugh’s stylist, Rebecca Corbin-Murray posted a series of photos showing Pugh in her stunning gown for the premiere, and simply captioned it, “Miss Flo”.  

Ultimately, the truth of what went down behind the scenes isn’t really known. The drama also seems to be deeply layered, with some cast members seemingly giving Styles the cold shoulder at the premiere, where he always appeared to be ignoring Wilde. But one thing is for sure, Florence Pugh remains adored, and as the reviews come rolling in, it grows ever clearer that even in the mess, Florence remained a head above the rest.  

Lauren Deaton is a second-year student at the University of Pittsburgh, she is currently serving both as Chapter Chair and Writer. She most frequently writes about entertainment topics– including music recommendations, topics of representation, and anticipated movie lists. Lauren is double majoring in English Literature and Media and Professional Communications with a focus on Public and Professional Writing. She is also pursuing a Film and Media Studies minor and is a member of the Honors College. She recently completed a communications internship with the Fletcher Free Library and will be beginning a research position with the Language and Literacy Division at Pitt during the Fall 2023 semester. In the future, she hopes to work in publishing helping to increase access to representation. She is also a writer for Studio 412 a creative outlet on Pitt’s campus and is a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority. Lauren loves her dog, her friends, her family, and everything reading, coming of age and cold brew related.