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

A comprehensive rundown on whatever the hell is going on in Hollywood. 

Like a lot of people my age, I’m a big fan of Harry Styles. I also love pop culture and media analysis in general. I’m fascinated by everything entertainment, from stan culture to the ins and outs of the film industry. When it was announced that Harry Styles would be starring in a new psychological thriller, I was pretty excited. Little did I know that this seemingly small piece of news would set the pop-culture world into a flaming hellscape full of theories, reviews, and never-ending drama— and I can’t get enough.

The Don’t Worry Darling drama feels like it goes on forever. It seems like every single celebrity is somehow involved. The original screenplay was written by Dick Van Dyke’s grandsons! New information appears almost daily— and it’s starting to get confusing. So, I’ve decided to take a deep look into the drama and compile it all in one place— starting at the very beginning. 

Summer 2019

To understand how the film got its start, we need to go back to 2019. The film’s original screenplay was finished sometime this year before appearing on the 2019 Black List, a survey of the “most-liked” screenplays not yet produced. The list is voted on by production company executives, which gives the winners some prestige in the eyes of the rest of Hollywood. 

This next part is a bit fuzzy. I can’t find any concrete explanation as to how Olivia Wilde got attached to the project. But fresh off of her directorial debut, Booksmart, and her passion as a female director, I can see why she was chosen to direct. The film then entered numerous bidding wars before New Line Cinema landed the job to be the production company for the film.

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Spring 2020

Then, we fast forward a bit to April 2020. The first round of casting was unveiled to be Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Shia LeBeouf, and Dakota Johnson. This would change relatively quickly. Both LeBeouf and Johnson left the film before shooting even began. This was reported to be due to scheduling conflicts, but more recent news has led people to believe otherwise. Remember this for later. 

Fall 2020

In September, Harry was announced to be joining the film. The only ‘drama’ at this point was jokes on Twitter about Harry landing a lead role with a resume consisting of only ‘Dunkirk’ and an episode of ‘iCarly.’ Production for the film began in October 2020 and lasted until February 2021. During those first few months, the conversation around the movie was fairly tame.

Set pictures of Harry prompted people to comment on his 1950’s-esque hairstyle, bloody tuxedo, or sharp, brown suit. Then his director and co-star, Olivia Wilde, began popping up in more of these Paparazzi photos. But it wasn’t until Styles brought Wilde as a date to his manager Jeff Azoff’s wedding that people began to wonder if these two were more than just scene partners. 

So…where’s the drama? It’s no secret that workplace relationships might not be the best idea. Not to mention the slight ambiguity around the ending of Wilde’s last relationship. Wilde broke up with long-time partner Jason Sudeikis sometime around November 2020. So, the time between relationships for Wilde was not very long. 

Styles’ relationship history has been a hot topic for many years. From being deemed a ‘womanizer’ at as young as 16 to having his sexuality constantly debated, “who is Harry Styles dating” has become a question many people want to know the answer to. 

Styles has since spoken out about this phenomenon and his uncomfortability being under such rigid assumptions, telling Rolling Stone: “Sometimes people say, ‘You’ve only publicly been with women,’ and I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone. If someone takes a picture of you with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a public relationship or something.” 

With both of these perspectives in mind, some people believe Wilde and Styles aren’t even truly together. Whether or not the couple is in true love or just PR, it’s undeniable that this pairing has caused some interesting conversation around the film. 

Fall 2021/Winter 2022

Let’s fast forward a bit to the end of 2021. The first teaser for Don’t Worry Darling dropped on September 13th and the attitude towards the film is still generally good— in the public eye at least. Styles and Wilde are photographed more and more, with Wilde even being seen at many of Style’s ‘Love on Tour’ concert venues.

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Then, Wilde was on the cover of vogue. In the cover story interview, she stated that she wanted her audience to, “realize how rarely they see female hunger, and specifically this type of female pleasure.” This was the first of a few different instances in which Wilde seems hyper-focused on the more sexual aspects of the film. Which sounds fine until you actually watch the movie. Speculated by fans and confirmed by screening attendees, some of the “pleasure” Wilde is referring to is rape. There are also rumors that the set did not have an intimacy coordinator, which is a big red flag. Intimacy coordinators are a vital way to keep actors safe and comfortable on set.

The general messiness of it all has led Florence Pugh to distance herself from the film. It is rumored that Wilde and Style’s relationship caused problems on set for Pugh, such as less rehearsal time. It is even rumored that Pugh had to step in for Wilde as director for some of the film’s scenes, but Wilde quickly denied this. 

For some context, before Don’t Worry Darling, if Florence Pugh was in a movie, you could expect some epic behind-the-scenes photos and promotion. While the star has posted about the film on her social media, she has been notably missing from press events. While many fans, myself included, were looking forward to a Harry-Florence press-junket interview, it seems like we might never get one. 

Spring/Summer 2022

Olivia Wilde, on the other hand, has taken many opportunities to promote her beloved film. The director attended CinemaCon in April 2022 and held a presentation in which she presented footage from Don’t Worry Darling to other industry professionals. During the presentation, Wilde was served legal papers in a mysterious manilla envelope. It was later confirmed that these papers were from her ex-fiance, Jason Sudeikis, pertaining to custody issues surrounding their two children. Wilde was very upset by this occurrence, telling Variety “It was my workplace. In any other workplace, it would be seen as an attack. It was really upsetting. It shouldn’t have been able to happen.”

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Off-screen drama aside, it felt like the film could redeem itself if it was actually any good. Unfortunately, the first screenings of the movie had some critics bashing Style’s acting and Wilde’s directing (or lack thereof). So it was looking grim for the film to be critically acclaimed, but Style’s involvement was always going to bring viewers. And all press is good press, right?

On August 26th, 2022, Shia LeBeouf challenged this notion. LeBeouf denied claims that he was fired from the movie, saying that he quit due to a lack of rehearsal time. Shia’s statements may be deemed as rumors, but he came with receipts. One video even shows Wilde essentially begging LeBeouf to sign back onto the film and work out their differences. This does not bode well for the director as LeBeouf has been accused of being both difficult to work with and abusive to his partners. For a long time, LeBeouf denied these allegations. In an odd turn of events, he took accountability for his abusive actions in an interview released THE DAY AFTER he came forward about quitting Don’t Worry Darling.

September 2022

At this point, things weren’t looking amazing for the cast’s next big outing, the Venice film festival, which occurred only days after LeBeouf dropped those bombshells. Florence was MIA and Harry was essentially living at Madison Square Garden so he could sing about fruit. Chris Pine was notably silent about everything which led fans to make memes insinuating that he had no idea about the drama at all (the actor does not have any social media which fueled this joke). 

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The drama that went down at the Venice Film Festival alone could go on for pages, so I’ll try my best to highlight the best parts. But for all of the minute details, check out this article from Vanity Fair. 

The first event of the day was the long-awaited press conference. Noteworthy happenings include Pugh’s absence and Harry’s odd answers. Styles is known for his slow talking and ability to dodge unwanted questions, but his answers this time around didn’t seem very thought-out. When asked about the film, Styles responded “The thing I like about the movie is that it feels like a movie.” While I’m obsessed with the memes this has inspired and can almost understand what Styles means, I can admit this was not the best way to get his point across. 

Although this might seem a bit nitpicky, many have attributed Styles’ lack of care during the DWD press conference to a lack of connection to the film and his character. A few days later, Styles appeared at another press conference. This time he was representing his other film, My Policeman, which is set to release on Amazon Prime on October 21st. Compared to his words on DWD, fans and critics generally perceived his answers about My Policeman to be much more eloquent and thoughtful. 

Instead of just ‘feeling like a movie’, Styles commented on his pull to My Policeman by saying “For me the reason why the story is so devastating is the wasted time…Wasted time is the only thing in life you can’t control, that you can’t have back, whatever kind of life you’ve lived when you get to the end you think back on the time spent with the people you love. I mean, I’m assuming— I haven’t died.” Now there’s the cheeky, yet still intellectual Styles we know and love.

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Going back to Venice, the next portion after the press conference was the red carpet. Pugh joined the rest of the cast (along with her iconic and adorable Grandma) in a stunning sparkly look. This was just after posting on Instagram with the caption “I’m Here.” addressing the rumors that she might ditch the event altogether. 

As for Harry and Olivia, the only suspicious activity on the carpet was the lack thereof. The two stars almost seemed to be ignoring each other. Had they broken up? Were they told to stay apart for PR reasons? The world may never know. It is interesting to note that news outlets did begin reporting their “breakup” around this time. 

The cast then filed into a theater for the screening section of the premiere. There is a video from this moment in which, while going to sit down, Harry looks like he may have spit on Chris Pine. The rumor was somewhat debunked, though, with Styles joking about it at his next show. Soon after coming on stage, the singer remarked: “It is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful to be back in New York. I just popped very quickly to Venice to spit on Chris Pine. But fret not, we’re back!”

The film received a long standing ovation from viewers. During the hullabaloo, Harry (who was not seated near Olivia, btw) got up and went over to greet comedian Nick Kroll, who has a supporting role in the film. The two go in for what looks like a hug, before deciding to throw in a quick kiss. While it was likely a joke, being that Kroll is married, the action definitely fanned the flames of the Holivia breakup speculation. 

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That just about wraps up everything we know about the Don’t Worry Darling drama. Many fans still believe some pieces of the story are unknown to the public. And believe it or not, I’m sure there is some drama we do know of that I missed. It will definitely be interesting to see how the conversation around the film changes once some NDAs expire. I don’t think this will be the last time people talk about Don’t Worry Darling, which will be released on September 23rd.

Is all press good press? I think we’re about to find out. 

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Emily is an Associate Editor for Her Campus UConn. She is a junior at the University of Connecticut studying journalism and communication. Emily enjoys writing about pop culture, lifestyle, film, and TV. Emily is a Copy Editor for The Daily Campus and the Social Media Chair for UConn Creative Writing Club. She also co-hosts and edits a pop culture podcast called ‘Girl Talk.’ Passionate about all things creative, Emily is often writing poetry, reading a book, or trying to teach herself a new skill. In her spare time, you can find Emily sipping on a coffee, crafting a new Spotify playlist, or obsessing over her dog.