Don’t Worry Darling: Olivia Wilde’s Racy Movie

‘Don’t Worry Darling,’ Should Make Harry Styles  Movie Star

In Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling, her second directorial outing after 2019’s indie high school coming-of-age story “Booksmart,” Florence Pugh and Harry Styles star as a married couple living in experimental utopia called Victory.
Pugh plays Alice, a housewife whose reality begins to crack, revealing disturbing truths underneath her seemingly perfect world. When the trailer for the sci-fi thriller dropped in May, social media was buzzing about Styles’ character, Jack, going down on Alice on top of a dining room table.

Wilde, 38, sees the world through post-feminist prism, and the women in her films drive action on their own, without the help of men.

“It’s all about immediacy and extreme passion for one another,” Wilde says of the film’s complicated central relationship. “The impractical nature of their sex speaks to their ferocious desire for one another. I think it’s integral to the story itself and how the audience is meant to connect to them. My early conversations with the cast were all about how the audience has to buy into the fantasy.”

Wilde’s acting credits include the medical drama “House,” Ron Howard’s “Rush” and Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell.”

Without makeup, except a smudge of leftover eyeliner, Wilde looks more like a film student than one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming directors.

“It’s harder for women to get a second chance at directing,” Wilde says, recognizing that “Booksmart” was critical triumph but by no means a box office smash, making $25 million on a $6 million budget. “Fewer people will invest in the second film of a woman than a man,” she says. “I was so lucky. My movie didn’t make a billion dollars. It struck enough of a nerve of the cultural zeitgeist that I was allowed to have another opportunity. I really feel that I have earned the right to say I’m a director.”

This small group includes Elizabeth Banks, Jodie Foster, Greta Gerwig, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Hall, Angelina Jolie, Regina King, Barbra Streisand.
Warner, the studio behind the film, could use an original hit outside the realm of comic-book movies, particularly since the company, post-Discovery merger, is undergoing public turmoil.

Don’t Worry Darling has generated many headlines. It’s the project where Wilde met Styles, now her boyfriend.

It’s also linked to an incident in April at CinemaCon where Wilde was served custody papers from her former fiancé, “Ted Lasso” actor Jason Sudeikis, as she took the stage in Las Vegas to promote the movie to exhibitors.

Sudeikis said in a statement that he had “no prior knowledge” of the ambush and “would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner.” Since then, a judge has granted Wilde’s request to dismiss Sudeikis’ petition, which asked for Otis and Daisy to eventually reside with him in New York.

“It was my workplace,” Wilde says, referring to the CinemaCon incident without naming Sudeikis, with whom she was in relationship from 2011 to 2020. “In any other workplace, it would be seen as an attack. It was really upsetting. It shouldn’t have been able to happen. There was a huge breach in security, which is really scary. The hurdles that you had to jump through to get into that room with several badges, plus special COVID tests that had to be taken days in advance, which gave you wristbands that were necessary to gain access to the event — this was something that required forethought.”

CinemaCon was supposed to be professional milestone for Wilde, who was about to screen footage from her movie. She didn’t miss a beat when she was interrupted by the mysterious envelope — she just carried on with her presentation. “I hated that this nastiness distracted from the work of so many different people and the studio that I was up there representing,” she says. “To try to sabotage that was really vicious. But I had job to do; I’m not easily distracted.” She adds, “But, you know, sadly, it was not something that was entirely surprising to me. I mean, there’s a reason I left that relationship.”

She states, for the record, that she splits custody; the kids go back and forth between her and Sudeikis week to week. (Wilde first moved to London a few years ago with her family because that’s where Sudeikis films “Ted Lasso,” and now splits her time between the U.K. and L.A.) When Wilde is with her children, she’s entirely with her children, she says. She makes breakfast every morning, never misses bedtime and takes them to school herself. “They are my world,” she says. “They are my best friends.”

Wilde says, “The only people who suffered were my kids, because they’ll have to see that, and they shouldn’t ever have to know that happened. For me, it was appalling, but the victims were an 8- and 5-year-old, and that’s really sad. I chose to become an actress; I willingly walked into the spotlight. But it’s not something my children have asked for. And when my kids are dragged into it, it’s deeply painful.”