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

What on earth was going on behind the set of Olivia Wilde’s new film?

Don’t worry darling, no spoilers for the movie ahead!

As an avid fan of Miss Florence Pugh, something I’m sure readers will come to realise as I upload more content about the actress, it can be argued that I would obviously take the side of the 26-year-old ‘Little Women’ star in the recent drama that has occurred on the set of her latest acting job. But it seems I am not alone. The set of Director Olivia Wilde’s new film ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ seems to have been an extremely toxic work environment from the get-go.

What with the film being released over a month ago, one can assume that no new information (or rather drama) will surface. Hopefully. So, here’s your guide to what exactly happened on set and why it led to hatred of Harry Styles, Florence Pugh refusing press and Shia LaBeouf attacking the director herself.

Harry Styles: Should he stick with the singing?

Promotions for the film began in 2019 and I was more than excited. As trailers got longer, the excitement grew, and I could not wait for September 23rd to arrive. However, towards the end of August, I found myself wanting to go for other reasons. The first was the terrible snippets of Mr Styles’ acting that were released in further extended trailers at the end of August. Previously known in the acting world for his role in Dunkirk, Harry was set up to be a positive addition to the movie. You only have to see some of his shows to know that he is a natural entertainer. Or so it seemed. Though I hadn’t even seen the film yet, the chosen clips of Mr Styles’ acting circling the internet seemed comical and forced, especially as compared to some of the award-winning actors he was performing opposite. Now, I know that in 2022 it is a risky game to say a bad word against Harry Styles, but I certainly wasn’t alone in this opinion. Tiktok was flooded with people imitating a particular scene in which Harry’s character shouts, “I gave you all of this Alice!”. Since seeing the film I can say that the performance wasn’t as bad as we all assumed from that initial clip, this seeming to be his ‘worst moment’. Perhaps the scene was just there to entice those wanting to have a laugh at some more of his acting. But I must say (without bias) Miss Pugh carried the film.

Florence refuses to promote!

What makes this interesting though, is that despite her huge role, Florence didn’t seem at all happy to be in the film. She refused to do any promotion of the movie and her social media holds no proof that she ever took part at all. In fact, she is said to have failed to ‘like’ a post of the trailer and ignored Wilde’s post praising her leading lady captioned, “Watching this woman work was such a f###ing thrill! Cannot wait to show you more. @florencepugh @dontworrydarling”.

One factor that seems to have had an effect on her pride of this film is the blatant use of sex scenes to promote the movie. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in August 2022, she explained her concerns about this type of promotion.

“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,” Pugh told the publication. “It’s not why I’m in this industry.”

She believed the film was deserving of attention outside of these scenes and the vulgar promotion offended her. But this wasn’t the only reason it was rumoured she wasn’t enamoured with the movie’s production.

On-set romance rumours…

On top of this though, Florence was clearly uncomfortable with the Director’s relationship with Harry Styles on set. Harry joined the cast of Don’t Worry Darling on September 11th 2020. Wilde claimed in Styles’ cover story for Vogue’s December issue that when they got the news, she and her costume designer “did a little victory dance”. Just a couple of months later the director and Mr. Styles were seen holding hands, an insider telling PEOPLE that “Everyone saw it coming. During breaks, he’s hasn’t been able to stay away and visited her trailer.”. While we would all like to assume the pair were professional on set, the above statement makes this feel less likely and it can be assumed that it was an uncomfortable place to be working, especially after Olivia Wilde was served custody papers while promoting the film at CinemaCon.

A source told Page Six that Pugh took issue with “seeing Olivia and Harry all over each other” while Wilde was allegedly still with her ex, Jason Sudeikis.

So what has Shia LaBeouf got to do with any of this?

Before Harry Styles became leading man of the film, the cast consisted of Shia LaBeouf as Jack Chambers. In December 2020 it was believed that Olivia Wilde fired the actor due to his past assault allegations and his behaviour on set. According to Variety, insiders claimed that LaBeouf “exhibited poor behavior and his style clashed with the cast and crew, including Wilde, who ultimately fired him.”


In August 2022, Shia LaBeouf denied Wilde’s claim that he was fired. Variety published an email that he had sent to the director, including this accusatory line.

“You and I both know the reasons for my exit. I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse.”

He also provided a video that Wilde had sent him in which she almost begs for him to come back, saying that she was “not ready to give up” and stating that the situation might be a “bit of a wake up call for Miss Flo”. (side note: Florence Pugh’s makeup team later wore jumpers with this nickname on them, a little clapback at this condescending section of the video. Her stylist then captioned the reveal of her look with a simple “Miss Flo”).

In the end of the email Shia simply explains that he wishes for the record to be set straight, that his daughter will one day read these claims and he wishes for her to read the truth. He “humbly” asks her this: “as a person with an eye toward making things right, that you correct the narrative as best you can.”

It seems dishonesty circled the set of Don’t Worry Darling.

Venice Film Festival? More like DWD meet and greet.

As fans waited at the Venice Film Festival entrance, the atmosphere was a little too like a concert crowd. So, when Harry Styles turned up and the screams of hundred of teenage girls started up, I was so disappointed. At any film festival there is going to be excitement over the appearance of celebrities, but the event felt more like a Harry Styles show than a festival celebrating film! This paragraph is a pet peeve of mine more than anything, but the time spent signing posters over the time spent talking about the movie seemed very outbalanced.


If you haven’t heard of spit gate, where have you been? As well as Florence Pugh’s absence at the press conference and Harry’s uncomfortable meet and greet, Venice Film Festival also gave us cast members spitting on cast members to gossip about! Apparently. In a viral video, Harry Styles appears to spit on Chris Pine as he sits down, stirring up further rumours about bad relations on set. This, however, was quickly disproven and the video (seen below) eventually died down. It seems people really wanted to strain as much dismay out of this film as they possibly could!

The cast took it lightly though, Harry Styles saying the following once he got back to the UK:

“Just popped back from Venice after spitting on Chris Pine.”

– Harry Styles

All an advertising scheme?

The apparent trials of Florence Pugh, branded as an outcast from the rest of the crew and painted as a strong independent woman seem eerily familiar after seeing the movie. The story, for those of you who have not yet seen it, follows Alice, a woman trapped in a seemingly ‘perfect’ life and her refusal to accept that everything is as it seems. The film is about empowering a woman who decides to go against the grain and say no – can it truly be a coincidence that the leading lady did exactly the same thing in the lead up to the release? Whether this was just a coincidence or an elaborate advertising scheme, it really made watching the film all the more interesting (and promoted a lot more sympathy for Pugh’s character). Even the cover-up of the entire scandal felt very ‘Victory Project’-like – the cast and crew all saying the same things about the same situation until we believed them. Spooky.

So, what did I make of the film?

After seeing the film, it is now hard to separate the off-screen toxicity with that which occurs on screen. It was enjoyable, though forced in places, but not at all worth all the hassle. If any of you have seen Bryan Forbes’ “The Stepford Wives”, just watch that again – this essentially being a slightly scarier and star-studded version of the 1975 sci-fi horror. It is powerful in places with a brilliant twist but tailors off to a slightly disappointing end where nothing much happens. Perhaps had I not been expecting so much after all of the drama I would have been easier to please!

Rating: ***/*****

Hi! I'm Georgia, a third-year English Literature and Creative Writing student. I currently serve as campus correspondent for Her Campus and can't wait to see all of the amazing writing on our page! I am a massive fan of horror and thriller and am interested in a career in screenwriting – I'm sure there will be a few movie reviews on here from me! Sites such as Her Campus are so important as a space for people to read about what matters alongside things they are passionate about. Thank you for reading our pieces, all support is greatly appreciated x