Olivia Wilde’s 2022 film Don’t Worry Darling got a lot of attention upon its release, not necessarily for the film itself, but because of the strange rumor mill surrounding it. Regardless, the film stands as a trippy reality questioning film in the vein of The Stepford Wives and The Truman Show with some solid performances from its lead cast. If you missed out on this one in theaters, you can stream it now on Netflix.
Don’t Worry Darling is streaming on Netflix.
Don’t Worry Darling is Olivia Wilde’s second directorial feature after her critically acclaimed debut Booksmart in 2019. The screenplay by Katie Silberman, based on a spec script by Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke, and Silberman, follows a housewife (Florence Pugh) in a seemingly idyllic company town who begins to suspect that the town has sinister secrets lurking underneath the surface. Chris Pine plays the charismatic, cult-like leader of the town, while Harry Styles plays the husband to Pugh’s character.
Along with the leading trio of Pugh, Styles, and Pine, the ensemble cast of Don’t Worry Darling includes Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Sydney Chandler, Nick Kroll, Asif Ali, Kate Berlant, Timothy Simons, Douglas Smith, Ari’el Stachel, and Dita Von Teese.
The star-studded cast received critical acclaim for their performances, particularly for Pugh and Pine, though the film wasn’t quite the critical success that Wilde’s previous effort was. The reviews were relatively mixed, with critiques falling on the story and predictability of it.
One of the biggest unsubstantiated rumors about Don’t Worry Darling is that Pugh and Wilde had conflicts on set, which were dismissed by various cast and crew members, including Wilde herself.
Weirdly, the most controversial aspect of Don’t Worry Darling was the rumor mill surrounding the production of the film. The first controversy involved Shia LeBeouf being cast and subsequently replaced by Harry Styles. Allegedly, Wilde had fired him over poor behavior and clashing with the crew, which LeBeouf later denied, saying that Wilde tried to keep him on board when talking to Variety.
However, Wilde denied LeBeouf’s claims in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying that he was fired from Don’t Worry Darling after Pugh said she was uncomfortable with his behavior. While LeBeouf did get removed from the film in one way or another, the rumor mill didn’t stop there. However, the other rumors surrounding the film were primarily unsubstantiated tabloid rumors.
One of the biggest unsubstantiated rumors about Don’t Worry Darling is that Pugh and Wilde had conflicts on set, which were dismissed by various cast and crew members, including Wilde herself. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique responded to the allegations, saying that the set of the film was “one of the most harmonious sets I’ve ever been on,” while Wilde said the rumors were “baseless.”
While it didn’t quite live up to the expectations people had of the film after Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, it’s still a solid thriller that is well-made with a top-notch cast.
Vice would later speak with the non-profit media watchdog group Media Matters, which found that the negative coverage of Wilde had largely been posted by right-leaning pages, which had made roughly 300 posts about Wilde in just a week’s time.
Additionally, a report by Input supported the theory that certain circles of Harry Styles‘ (who was Wilde’s boyfriend at the time) fandom were spreading negativity about Wilde on social media. The silliness of the rumor mill culminated with the widely circulated rumor that Styles spit on Chris Pine at the premiere of Don’t Worry Darling, which Pine’s representatives dismissed as “a ridiculous story.” In short, the tabloid cycle around the film turned out to be more of a rollercoaster than the actual film itself.
All the rumors surrounding Don’t Worry Darling didn’t affect the financial performance of the film at all, as it brought in around $87 million on a budget of $35 million. While it didn’t quite live up to the expectations people had of the film after Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, it’s still a solid thriller that is well-made with a top-notch cast. It might not necessarily surprise you or keep you guessing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the watch.
Hopefully, Olivia Wilde won’t have to put up with as many rumors while making her next directorial effort, Perfect, which is currently set for a 2024 release date. Perfect will tell the story of American gymnast Terri Strug, who has to overcome an injury to compete in the 1996 Olympics. Wilde is also on board to direct a female-centric film in Sony’s Spiderverse in the future, but you can check out Don’t Worry Darling on Netflix now while we wait for more news on that.