After much anticipation, Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry Darling finally had its world premiere Monday night at the Venice International Film Festival.
Before the film, hundreds of screaming Harry Styles fans swarmed the edges of the red carpet trying to get a glimpse of him. His rapturous reception made the Timothée Chalamet mania seen on Friday seem modest in comparison.
Star Florence Pugh also made a movie star entrance on the Lido donning a sparkling, off-the-shoulder Valentino and, like styles, stopping to talk to fans on her way down the carpet.
By the time the premiere was over, audiences took to their feet, giving Don't Worry Darling a five-minute ovation, and Styles could be seen in the balcony giving his co-star Nick Kroll a big hug. Yet premiere day did little to tamp down intrigue about the film and its stars. Some even took note of who was sitting next to who in the theater.
Many keyed in on the film's press conference earlier in the day, with hopes that reports about behind-the-scenes tension with Pugh would be addressed or clarified. Wilde, before the premiere, said she didn't want to contribute to “the endless tabloid gossip" and “the noise.”
“The internet feeds itself,” Wilde said. “I don’t need to contribute, I think it’s significantly well-nourished.”
Pugh did not attend the press conference as her flight had not yet landed.
“Florence is a force and we are so grateful that she is able to make it tonight," Wilde said. "I know as a director how disruptive it is to lose an actor even for a day."
Behind-the-scenes drama rarely extends beyond internal industry gossip, but the question of exactly what happened in the making of Don’t Worry Darling has become a source of global intrigue. Lack of clarity about everything from Shia LaBeouf’s departure from the film early on, to Pugh’s perceived lack of public support for the project on her social media accounts have been simmering on TikTok and twitter for some time.
The moderator of the press conference cut off a reporter attempting to ask about LaBeouf, saying that Wilde had already answered that in her comment about “tabloid gossip” and noise.
The press conference stuck to the themes of the film, a mid-century styled psychological thriller about a picture-perfect couple Alice (Pugh) and her husband Jack (Styles) who live in an experimental community in the desert.
“We were really interested in the kind of problematic nature of nostalgia itself,” Wilde said. “In this film everything is a metaphor...everything that is beautiful is also sinister. That is by design.”
The film is playing out of competition at the festival in the lead up to its September 23 theatrical release.
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