Olivia Wilde talks working with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles on Don't Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde's follow-up to Booksmart, the mysterious sci-fi drama Don't Worry Darling, has everyone talking. And while there have been various controversies making headlines over the past few weeks, there remains a prescient, must-watch movie at the core of the conversation. Don't Worry Darling has a fantastic cast, including the always-great Florence Pugh and pop-star-turned-actor Harry Styles, the pair playing a happy couple living in a seemingly utopian town. Things soon turn sour – but saying anything more would be a spoiler.

In the latest issue of Total Film magazine, headlined by Halloween Ends, Wilde discusses Pugh and Styles' roles, talking specifically about Pugh's real-world outspoken nature and how that relates to her character. We also have an exclusive new image from Don't Worry Darling. Below's just a snippet of the full conversation in the magazine – details on how to get a copy below.

Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Total Film: Was it important that she and the rest of your cast were as outspoken in the real world as their characters?

Olivia Wilde: I think if you’re drawn to the material, then you have that sort of sensibility – this kind of story doesn’t appeal to people who don’t identify with it in some way. So it drew together a like-minded group of people. Certainly with this cast, we had this incredible group of real disruptors – people who are doing things in their own lives to shake up the system. 

And Florence as the heart and soul of the film and as our heroine – she, herself, has quite a formidable sense of justice. Authenticity is so important to her. The idea of playing a character who is willing to sacrifice everything she holds close because she cannot survive an inauthentic life – that is something that I think felt very close to Florence. She infused the character with her own sense of integrity. I would write her these notes from the edit bay, just like: 'I can’t believe how good you are. You’re just extraordinary.'

Casting was like: find someone who’s sort of politically aligned to the character; personally aligned to the character; can handle the amount of work expected; and is able to withstand the incredibly difficult emotional experience of being in a film like this.

TF: Is the same true of casting Harry Styles?

Wilde: When Florence and I met and talked about who would be her scene partner, it was always about: 'Well, who is going to understand what this story is really about? And who is going to be able to personalise it in the same way that the rest of us were?'

It’s impossible to fake that sensitivity to the big questions at the very heart of the story. The audience has to root for this relationship, and find authenticity and warmth in it. Harry brought a sensitivity, of what kind of admiring and loving and respecting Alice would really look like – in a way that we completely fall for. Because it is actually authentic. His character isn’t faking those feelings. It’s just that he... you know, we don’t want to give everything away. But all those feelings are authentic.

It’s attracting the people who just have a sense of this story being something that strikes a personal chord in them. That’s why I believe in just sending out material to people who you think are interesting, and whoever bites are the people who usually are right for the characters. I think if you have to beg someone to play a role, it’s not really for them.

That's just a taster of the Olivia Wilde interview in the new issue of Total Film, which is on newsstands this Thursday – while subscribers have their copies now! Order your copy of Total Film here or subscribe to Total Film here and never miss another issue. You can currently grab three issues for just £3!

Also in the new issue: Jamie Lee Curtis talking Halloween Ends, Sex Education breakout Emma Mackay discusses Emily and Barbie, and Billy Eichner reveals all about Bros. Plus, so much more! Halloween Ends reaches cinemas October 14.

Editor-in-Chief, Total Film

Jane Crowther is the Editor of Total Film magazine and the Editor-in-Chief of the Film Group here at Future Plc, which covers Total Film, SFX, and numerous TV and women's interest brands. Jane is also the vice-chair of The Critics' Circle and a BAFTA member. You'll find Jane on GamesRadar+ exploring the biggest movies in the world and living up to her reputation as one of the most authoritative voices on film in the industry.