We’re Worrying, Darling.

The gossip emitted from Warner Brother’s newest film, Don’t Worry Darling, has made headlines for its problematic plot and set.


Some of the main cast from Don’t Worry Darling pose for a photo on the red carpet at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival. From left to right: Nick Kroll, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Sydney Chandler, Harry Styles, Gemma Chan. (Stephanie Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

When there is more talk about production problems than the actual movie itself, is there really cause to worry, or is this just the usual buzz that surrounds any movie that has so many A List players involved?

After “Booksmart,” Olivia Wilde’s successful 2019 directorial debut, many were anticipating her next project. 

It would come in the form of a sci-fi/psychological thriller pulled from the Black List, an annual survey identifying the “most-liked” motion picture screenplays not yet produced. 

That’s right. Don’t let the title fool you. As much as the name and some clips may make it seem like an old school romance film, “Don’t Worry Darling” is actually a sci-fi psychological thriller. 

Based on a spec script written by Dick Van Dyke’s grandsons Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke, Wilde brought on Katie Silberman one of the writers of “Booksmart” to flesh out the script and adapt it for film.

With Wilde at the wheel, a bidding war for the film ensued, with New Line Cinemas emerging victorious.

Since the beginning filming in September of 2020, the September 23, 2022 release had been anticipated by movie fans everywhere. 

Touted as part “Stepford Wives,” part “Get Out,” part “Pleasantville,” the film did not lack for inspirational story lines or plot design. But perhaps that was part of the problem.

But even before people could begin putting in their two cents about plot holes and the difficulty of creating modern psychological suspense a la Jordan Peele, there was trouble in the little town of Victory.

The movie focuses on the lives of Alice and Jack Chambers. Jack Chambers is played by Harry Styles, while Florence Pugh plays his wife Alice Chambers. However, this pairing almost didn’t happen. 

Shia LaBeouf was originally cast in the film to play the role of Jack Chambers. LaBeouf ended up leaving the film due to scheduling issues, but people tried to twist that. 

Director Olivia Wilde claimed in her Variety story that his process wasn’t safe for the actors and staff on set and that he was fired from the film. “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,” said Wilde.  However, LaBeouf retaliated saying: “Firing me never took place, Olivia. And while I fully understand the attractiveness of pushing that story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings. It is not the truth.” The alleged real reason for Shia LaBeouf’s departure from the film is because he and his co-stars couldn’t find time to rehearse. Wilde and LaBeouf settled things in person on August 16, 2020. He “officially” quit the film the next day and two days later he stirred up the settled pot. 

LaBeouf released a video that Wilde sent to him on August 19, 2020. In the clip, the director expresses her concern about LaBeouf’s departure from the movie. “I feel like I’m not ready to give up on this yet, and I too am heartbroken and I want to figure this out,” she said, “You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo…” 

See, this is where the drama starts to get unnecessary. Olivia Wilde takes a dig at the lead actress in the film, Florence Pugh, by calling her the condescending nickname Miss Flo. “…and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us. If she really commits, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point and if you guys can make peace,” Wilde continues. Along with the video, texts between Shia LaBeouf and Florence Pugh were also leaked. In all of the text messages, there doesn’t appear to be any combativeness like Wilde alludes to. 

As for the Olivia/Shia/Florence portion of the drama, the main factor was bad communication and misinformation. The articles and misleading quotes were very unnecessary and it was probably an issue that could have simmered down by just talking it out. However, in Hollywood, there’s no communication without a camera or a quote. 

After Shia LaBeouf resigned, the role of Jack Chambers was recast and given to pop artist Harry Styles. At the time of casting, he and Olivia Wilde were simply coworkers, but it evolved once filming began. Sorry, fellow Harry Styles fans, I know their relationship is a sensitive topic. The pair sparked their romance on set, nearly a year after Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis called off their engagement and ended their relationship. Fans and haters all speculate that Olivia Wilde cast Styles just to get close to him and for what his status would bring to the movie, and not for his actual acting abilities. 

Admittedly, as someone who greatly admires both Harry Styles and numerous other actors in the film, the drama really made the film gain traction. 

The movie was highly entertaining on its own and it’s always exciting to see a director’s second film, but the juice surrounding this one made it all the more popular. 

Putting the drama aside, the film itself was a roller-coaster of emotions. “Honestly, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time,” said Mikayla Ratino ‘24. “The plot twist was insane and it’s worth watching for sure.” 

It’s difficult to talk about it without giving away any spoilers, but I will give you a warning – don’t blink. I’ll admit, I was definitely falling asleep during some of the movie, but it made me miss some key plot points I wouldn’t have missed if I was fully awake. 

I’m a huge fan of Harry Styles, so obviously I felt obligated to watch the movie (and wear my Harry merch while doing so). But if you’re not a fan of him or anyone in the film, I still definitely recommend you go see it! The movie is completely thrilling on its own. 

Hearing about celebrity drama is completely enthralling to our society, and I don’t blame anyone! Getting to know some bits of the ins and outs of the lives of A-listers just makes us want to come back for more. 

The Don’t Worry Darling drama definitely kept me refreshing my social media feeds, just waiting to see the latest development. 

 Is DWD going to generate any Oscar buzz to go with its gossip buzz? The word on the street is probably not, but the film has already made much more than its $35 million budget. Warner Brothers is certainly happy that Harry Styles was on board.