It was the first time the team behind Don’t Worry Darling faced the world’s press, ahead of the film’s Venice premiere tonight and following days of controversy involving Shia LaBeouf’s withdrawal from the project and questions over Florence Pugh’s absence from today’s press conference.
But they needn’t have worried, darling, because the festival’s press conference moderator prevented an awkward question about LaBeouf’s history with the project, preferring instead to pepper the team with questions about costumes and cinematography.
Wilde addressed Florence Pugh’s absence only to repeat the party line, that “Florence is a force; we are so grateful she is able to make it tonight [to the premiere] despite being in production.” She refused to engage with speculation that suggested there might be other reasons. “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.”
Styles acknowledged the dark side of social media. “There’s a lot of negative sides,” he said, “They’re pretty obvious for anyone to see. But it’s always important to remember there are positive things happening in the world because of it as well.”
As well as praising his fans, he noted, of his career shift, “Music and acting opposite in a lot of ways, making music is a really personal thing and there are aspects of acting where you’re drawing from experience, but for the most part pretending to play someone else. That’s what I find the most fun about it. What I like about acting is I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Ever since Olivia Wilde first introduced her sophomore directorial effort, Warner Bros/New Line’s Don’t Worry Darling, at CinemaCon last April, followed by a steamy trailer a few days later, anticipation surrounding the film has escalated — for various reasons. Rarely had a press conference here in Venice been so anticipated – the festival on Sunday alerted badge holders about a “rush line” for last-minute admission should seats remain available – and questions were largely friendly, with the moderator leaning heavily on her own prepared questions.
As Deadline reported on Sunday, Pugh wasn’t at the press conference because her flight from the Budapest set of Dune 2 doesn’t land until later in the afternoon. She will walk the red carpet, do the photo call, and watch the movie which screens at 7pm local time. She will then jump right back on a plane to get back to work Tuesday morning.
Attention surrounding Don’t Worry Darling has only increased after a candid and provocative cover story on Wilde by our sibling publication Variety, followed by La Beouf’s social media refutation of Wilde’s assertion she fired him.
Don’t Worry Darling follows Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) who seem lucky to be living in the idealized community of Victory, an experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. The 1950s societal optimism espoused by their CEO, Frank (Pine) — equal parts corporate visionary and motivational life coach — anchors every aspect of daily life in the tight-knit desert utopia.
While the husbands spend every day inside the Victory Project Headquarters, working on the “development of progressive materials,” their wives — including Frank’s elegant partner, Shelley (Chan) — get to spend their time enjoying the beauty, luxury and debauchery of their community. Life is perfect, with every resident’s needs met by the company. All they ask in return is discretion and unquestioning commitment to the Victory cause.
But when cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice finds herself questioning exactly what they’re doing in Victory, and why.
The film opens domestically on September 23.