Don't Worry Darling director Olivia Wilde has assured doubters that Florence Pugh didn't helm any of the upcoming thriller, despite talk of the contrary. The filmmaker – who made her directorial debut with Booksmart in 2019 – says the Marvel star was "hired to act" and did just that during the movie's four-month shoot.
In recent months, several controversies and behind-the-scenes theories regarding the film's production have emerged online, from a supposed spat between Wilde and Pugh to the details surrounding Shia LaBeouf's exit from the project in 2020. One alleged that Pugh and cinematographer Matthew Libatique were forced to oversee some scenes while Wilde struck up a romance with co-lead Harry Styles.
"It is very rare that people assume the best from women in power," Wilde said of the "baseless rumors" in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair. "I think they don't often give us the benefit of the doubt. Florence did the job I hired her to do, and she did it exquisitely.
"She blew me away. Every day I was in awe of her, and we worked very well together. It is ironic that now, with my second film – which is again about the incredible power of women, what we're capable of when we unite, and how easy it is to strip a woman of power by using other women to judge and shame them."
She went on to say that Pugh "fulfilled every single expectation [she] had of her" and that it's "laughable" that people believe she had the time on set to be distracted "I was there before everyone. I was there after everyone," Wilde argued. "And it was a dream. It’s not like this work was not enjoyable. It was just all-encompassing."
Written by Wilde's frequent collaborator Katie Silberman, Don't Worry Darling follows Pugh's Alice, as she discovers that her idyllic life in 1950s suburbia may not be quite as perfect as it seems. Desperate to uncover the truth, Alice starts looking into Victory Project, the mysterious organization that set her and her husband Jack (Styles) up in the company town when he took a job with them.
Her investigation soon sparks tension among their neighbors and angers Jack's boss Frank (Chris Pine), while her increasing hysteria threatens her relationship. Will Alice be able to keep her head long enough to learn what's really going on? Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, KiKi Layne, Dita Von Teese, and Wilde round out the supporting cast.
Don't Worry Darling arrives on the big screen on September 23. In the meantime, fill out your watch list with our picks of the best Netflix thrillers.