“Don’t Worry Darling” speculation helped market the film despite negative rumors online

By Mikayla Silcox

Elm Staff Writer

Olivia Wilde’s movie, “Don’t Worry Darling,” made its premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 6 during the Venice Film Festival. While the celebrity cast of Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine should be the cause of the 1950’s psychological thriller’s popularity, “Don’t Worry Darling” gained its relevance during the festival after a multitude of behind-the-scenes speculation.

Since the movie’s filming in Nov. 2020, attention and traction for “Don’t Worry Darling” has been building. Rumors based on pictures from Twitter caused fans to believe that Wilde and Styles were having an affair on set.

This negative attention early on helped audiences gain a critical eye for the future onset drama. Through the continuation of Wilde and Styles’ affair, more rumors surrounding the cast were brought to light.

Just recently, before the movie’s premiere, Wilde’s integrity came into question when the narrative of her firing actor Shia LaBeouf, who was to play Styles’ character, was released.

During an interview with Variety, Wilde claimed she fired LaBeouf because he behaved combatively behind the scenes.

“Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job,” she said.

Initially, many believed that LaBeouf left the project due to sexual assault allegations. According to the New York Times, singer FKA twigs sued LaBeouf in December 2020 due to an abusive relationship.

Last month, however, LaBeouf showed texts between him and Wilde, where he said he would not be able to work on the film anymore because he “couldn’t find time to rehearse.”

The muddled situation confused many, and ended up making Wilde and LaBeouf look worse than they already did.

In Wilde’s unnecessary accusations of LaBeouf, ones that could selfishly hurt his career as an actor, she managed to skew the public eye.

First, the firing itself and Wilde’s comments on it gained traction for the unreleased movie. Using this publicity, Wilde hired Styles, who has a large fanbase, making it loudly known that Styles would be ‘nobly’ stepping into this role after the drama. While initial publicity helped draw interest into the film, LaBeouf’s recent testimonies keep “Don’t Worry Darling” a frequent gossip. After all, any publicity is good publicity.

More speculation ensued between Wilde and starring actress Pugh. During the Venice Film Festival, according to the representatives, Pugh could not make the panel due filming conflicts with “Dune 2.”

Fans were wary of this excuse, however, because Timothée Chalamet, who was also filming “Dune 2,” managed to make it out to represent his movie “Bones and All”.

Fans began to analyze and interpret all of Pugh’s interactions with the movie, including little details such as Pugh not promoting the movie on social media.

Wilde made an Instagram post with the caption, “To work with an actor as talented and brave as @flourencepugh is any director’s dream.” Fans on social media made an uproar, analyzing how Pugh did not comment on the post.

Further rumors that Wilde shut down speculated that inexperienced actor Styles was getting paid three times as much as Pugh. These were the initial reasons as to why Pugh was not promoting the film.

This controversy between Wilde and Pugh was also rumored to be a publicity stunt. But the attention from a poorly receieved movie would hurt Wilde more, tarnishing her reputation as a director in the future.

On a lighter, more meme centered level, humorous and lighthearted publicity was drawn to the movie during the film premiere.

#Spitgate was trending on Twitter, as a clip of what looked like Styles spitting on Pine during the movie premiere made its rounds. Pine denied Styles spitting on him, but the blown-out speculations of the situation seemed a more purposeful way to take attention away from Wilde’s drama.

The behind-the-scenes rumors and drama from the premiere caused “Don’t Worry Darling” to effectively make its way through a convergent series of social media platforms.

Wilde’s reputation as a director was dragged through the mud, yet on the flipside, it helped promote her movie. #Spitgate hopefully, and possibly purposely, detracted some of the negative attention away from Wilde, and laid down some lighthearted publicity.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Director Olivia Wilde has been a frequent figure in the gossip columns due to her upcoming film “Don’t Worry Darling” and behind-the-scenes drama, including her relationship with singer Harry Styles.

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