Don't Worry Darling drama timeline as it opens with surprisingly strong weekend

Don’t Worry Darling has officially proven a success, with a $19million (£17.5million) box office debut – but the release has been largely overshadowed by the mountain of drama surrounding the lead-up to the film.

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh star in the Olivia Wilde-directed psychological thriller, which follows a house wife who lives with her husband in an idealised community but starts to realise things aren’t quite right.

The film has divided critics and audiences but one thing that has kept people enthralled is the onslaught of chaos surrounding the movie, from the rumoured feud between Wilde and Pugh, and Shia Labouef’s reported firing (and his denial), to ‘spit-gate’ and two cast members claiming they were ‘cut from most of the movie’.

Struggling to keep up? Don’t worry, darling – we’ve got you.

September 2020: Harry Styles replaces Shia Labeouf

The drama began before filming even started, when it was announced that Shia Labeouf would be replaced by Harry Styles.

It was claimed this was down to ‘scheduling conflicts’ but both Labeouf and Wilde would later offer different recollections of what happened.

November 2020: Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis split

Wilde announced that she and Jason Sudeikis, her husband of seven years and father to her children Otis and Daisy, had filed for divorce.

It was said at the time that it was an amicable split.

December 2020: Shia Labeouf allegations

Claims about Labeouf’s alleged abusive behaviour towards two ex-girlfriends began to emerge.

 FKA twigs and Karolyn Pho filed a lawsuit against the Holes actor, accusing him of ‘relentless abuse’ and sexual battery.

Twigs said at the time: ‘It may be surprising to you to learn that I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship.

‘It was hard for me to process too, during and after I never thought something like this would happen to me…which is why I have decided it’s important for me to talk about it and try to help people understand that when you are under the coercive control of an abuser or in an intimate partner violent relationship leaving doesn’t feel like a safe or achievable option.’

Labeouf has said that while he accepted his ‘failings with Twigs are real and fundamental, they are not the narrative that has been presented.’

He added at the time: ‘There is a time and a place to deal with such things, and I am trying to navigate a nuanced situation with respect for her and the truth, hence my silence.’

I hurt a lot of people, and I’m fully aware of that. 

LaBeouf also addressed the allegations on Jon Bernthal’s Real Ones podcast, where he said: ‘I hurt that woman. 

‘And, in the process of doing that, I hurt many other people, and many other people before that woman. 

‘I was a pleasure-seeking, selfish, self-centered, dishonest, inconsiderate, fearful human being. When I think about what my life has become, and what it is now, like what my purpose is now… I need to be useful. 

‘And when I look at this #MeToo environment, there’s not a whole lot of dudes that are taking accountability.’

Although LaBeouf did not reference Twigs by name, he added: ‘I f**ked up bad. Like crash and burn type s**t. [I] hurt a lot of people, and I’m fully aware of that. 

‘And I’m going to owe for the rest of my life. [I have a] long list of people that I need to make amends to.’

January 2021: Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde first linked

Wilde and Styles had fans surprised when they were spotted holding hands at a wedding. It soon became clear they were together (although they have never publicly confirmed their relationship).

Wilde has since been seen attending Styles’ tour shows and they were most recently spotted enjoying a casual dinner in New York City.

April 2022: Olivia Wilde receives custody papers on stage

During a presentation at CinemaCon, Wilde was handed an envelope which was reported to contain legal documents from Sudeikis.

Wilde later told Variety: ‘It was my workplace.

‘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.’

She went on to say: ‘There’s a reason I left that relationship.’

However, a source close to Sudeikis said: ‘Mr. Sudeikis had no prior knowledge of the time or place that the envelope would have been delivered as this would solely be up to the process service company involved and he would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner.’

August 2022: Florence Pugh ‘limits press’

By now, publicity for the film was amping up, but posts on Pugh’s socials were nowhere to be seen.

As Wilde pointed out, she hired Pugh as an actress, not to post on social media.

However, it still seemed a little weird, culminating in a report saying that Pugh would be ‘limiting press’ – although it was said this was down to the actress’s filming commitments on Dune 2, which she was filming in Budapest at the time of Venice Film Festival.

At the same time, Wilde was heaping praise on Pugh, telling Variety: ‘She’s extraordinary. She’s clearly the most exciting young actress working today.’

She also told Vanity Fair: ‘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 – we’re talking about this.’

However, her interviews didn’t garner a response from Pugh, who largely stayed quiet on the film, until an interview with Harper’s Bazaar following the trailer release, which showed a steamy scene between her and Styles.

‘When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry…Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger,’ she said.

August 2022: Olivia Wilde claims she fired Shia Labeouf

Speaking to Variety in the lead-up to the film’s release, Wilde addressed Labeouf’s departure.

‘His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job,’ she said.

However, Labeouf denied the claims, insisting that he chose to walk away from the project, and even reportedly shared years-old texts between the two to back this up.

According to Variety, the Holes actor got in touch in the days after their interview with Wilde was published, and forwarded them an email he had sent to the director where he said he was ‘confused by the narrative that I was fired.’

I chose my actress, which I’m very happy I did.

‘You and I both know the reasons for my exit,’ he said. ‘I quit your film because your actors & I couldn’t find time to rehearse.’

In an email in which he wished Wilde’s family well and spoke about his own family, including his wife Mia and five-month-old daughter, LaBeouf went on to warn that ‘if lies are repeated enough in the public they become truth… firing me never took place, Olivia.’

He suggested she was ‘pushing that story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings’ but insisted it ‘is not the truth.’

Attached to the email were screenshots of texts allegedly sent between LaBeouf and Wilde in 2020, in which he said he would have to back out of production and, after an in-person meeting, the director allegedly wrote: ‘Thanks for letting me in on your thought process. I know that isn’t fun.

‘Doesn’t feel good to say no to someone, and I respect your honesty.’

She later allegedly sent LaBeouf another message which appeared to suggest she wanted to keep him in the role saying she was ‘not ready to give up on this yet.’

The director also appeared to refer to issues between LaBeouf and co-star Pugh, asking if ‘Miss Flo… really commits, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point and if you guys can make peace — and I respect your point of view, I respect hers — but if you guys can do it, what do you think?

‘Is there hope? Will you let me know?’

Later questioned about Lebeouf’s claims by Stephen Colbert, Wilde said she ‘tried to mediate a situation between people to try to see if they could work together happily.’

‘Once it became clear that it was not a tenable working relationship, I was given an ultimatum,’ she added. ‘I chose my actress, which I’m very happy I did.’

September 2022: Venice Film Festival

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There’s almost too much to cover, but here’s a rundown of what went down at Venice, where a press conference for Don’t Worry Darling, and the film’s premiere took place:

  • Pugh did not attend the press conference, but arrived at Venice minutes afterwards, with what appeared to be an Aperol Spritz cocktail in hand. She later attended the premiere with the rest of the cast – and appeared to applaud Wilde at one point.
  • Wilde dodged a question about any reported ‘feud’ with Pugh during the press conference. She said: ‘Florence is a force; we are so grateful she is able to make it tonight [to the premiere] despite being in production. As for all the endless tabloid gossip and noise out there, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel I need to contribute to it. It’s sufficiently well-nourished.’
  • Wilde did not answer a question asked about Labeouf.
  • Pugh’s stylist appeared to weigh in on the drama, sharing a photo of Pugh and captioning it ‘Miss Flo’ – presumably a reference to Wilde’s reported phone call to Labeouf.
  • Styles spat on Chris Pine (or so the internet believed for a good couple of hours). He later jokingly addressed the moment during a tour show, while Pine’s rep denied it happened.
  • Styles kissed Nick Kroll. Cute!
  • Styles famously declared the movie ‘felt like a movie’. No further comment.

September 2022: Reports of a screaming match’ between Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde

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Speculation about Pugh and Wilde amped up again when Vulture reported that a ‘screaming match’ between the pair took place on set.

Warner Bros bosses allegedly intervened to ensure that Florence would still participate.

Top executives were reportedly also unhappy with how Olivia has treated her promotional duties for the film, which finally hit cinemas this week.

‘Olivia is either a mad genius who figured out a way to make people more aware of the movie in a way that just drives up the box office,’ a source told the publication.

‘Or she doesn’t have any self-awareness that she is f**king up her movie.’

We are happy to put our names on this, as real people who worked on the film.

However, a group of 40 crew members have since joined together to deny this report, claiming in a letter that the ‘allegations about unprofessional behaviour on the set of Don’t Worry Darling are completely false’.

They told People that Wilde is ‘an incredible leader and director who was present with and involved in every aspect of production’.

‘There was never a screaming match between our director and anyone, let alone a member of our cast,’ they continued. ‘We are happy to put our names on this, as real people who worked on the film, and who have witnessed and benefitted from the collaborative and safe space Olivia creates as a director and leader.’

It finishes: ‘We’re also thrilled that the movie is in theaters this weekend. We can’t wait for you to see it on the big screen.’

Miri Yoon, a producer for Don’t Worry Darling, also told the publication: ‘Rumors of screaming matches between our director and leading lady on set are completely unfounded. We truly hope you enjoy the movie.’

September 2022: Florence Pugh finally posts about the film

During the week of the film’s release, Pugh shared a string of sweet snaps from behind-the-scenes, including one with Wilde. The actress also shared a tribute to the cast and crew.

She ended her lengthy message by saying: ‘This film was such an epic story on such a large scale to shoot, all while during peak Covid times. For that I will always be grateful.

‘To all of you who helped make this, your dedication and love was seen daily – thank you. With that, here are some pics I took from this time. More to come! #dontworrydarling.’

September 2022: Kiki Layne claims she and co-star Ari’el Stachel were ‘cut from most of the movie’

The drama didn’t end with the release of the movie, with Margaret actress Kiki Layne writing on Instagram: ‘The best thing about #DontWorryDarling is that I was lucky enough to meet @arielstachel. They cut us from most of the movie, but we thriving in real life. 🙂🙂

‘‘Love you Ari ❤️❤️❤️❤️ #GotMyCheck #GotMyMan #EverythingHappensforaReason.’

Stachel also shared a TikTok, reacting to tweets that argued he should have been featured in the movie more.

‘When you end up on the cutting room floor. Go see Don’t Worry Darling,’ he wrote.

Don’t Worry Darling is out now.

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