Wilde now says she DID FIRE Shia and dismisses rumors Pugh had to step in to direct the film because she was too distracted by Harry Styles
"Don't Worry, Darling" ... because director Olivia Wilde is attempting to put the drama surrounding the film -- which has created a frenzy online -- to rest once and for all.
In a wide-ranging interview with Vanity Fair for its October 2022 cover story, the 38-year-old star -- who graces two covers of the magazine -- opened up about what she described as "baseless rumors and gossip" surrounding "Don't Worry Darling," including her reported falling out with the film's lead actress Florence Pugh.
While there have been several rumors about what allegedly went down behind the scenes during filming, one major rumor states that Wilde -- who both directed and starred in the film -- was so "distracted" and infatuated by her relationship with male lead Harry Styles on the set that she alienated Pugh, and that others, such as Pugh, had to step in to direct.
When asked about the rumor, Wilde gave a lengthy response, calling the claim that she was "distracted" on set "laughable," while also praising Pugh, which she has consistently done.
"It is very rare that people assume the best from women in power," she began. "I think they don't often give us the benefit of the doubt. 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."
She continued, "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.”
"The idea that I had five seconds in the day to be distracted by anything is laughable," Wilde added. "I was there before everyone. I was there after everyone. And it was a dream. It's not like this work was not enjoyable. It was just all-encompassing."
After pointing out that Pugh's character Alice experiences a "cataclysmic existential breakdown" throughout the film, she shared some details about her approach as a director, and how she approached Pugh specifically.
"My tendency is to be everyone’s best friend and to socialize, and I think she often just needed the time and space to focus, so the way I supported her was to give her space and to be there if she needed anything," Wilde said. "Florence was very focused on turning out that performance, which I can assure you took all of her energy."
Matthew Libatique, the cinematographer of the film, supported Wilde's comments, saying, "It was one of the most harmonious sets I’ve ever been on, and I'm in the middle of the storm."
Vanity Fair noted that Pugh didn't comment. The fact that the actress has not done much press for the film and will not -- aside from her recent appearance at the movie's premiere at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend -- as well as not sharing almost anything on social media has fueled rumors in the press about a potentially icy relationship between her and Wilde.
Wilde had nothing but praise for Pugh and slammed the media over the "baseless rumors" about them regarding the film.
"Florence is one of the most in-demand actresses in the universe," she explained. "She's on set on 'Dune.' I gather that some people expect for her to be engaging more on social media. I didn’t hire her to post. I hired her to act. She fulfilled every single expectation I had of her. That’s all that matters to me.”
Following the Venice Film Festival -- in which fans noticed apparent tension and awkwardness between the cast -- Wilde said she continues to support Pugh. "Florence's performance in this film is astounding," she told Vanity Fair. "It's just baffling to me that the media would rather focus on baseless rumors and gossip, thereby overshadowing her profound talent. She deserves more than that. As does the movie, and everyone who worked so hard on it."
Wilde also addressed the ongoing drama and back-and-forth between her and Shia LaBeouf, who was originally cast to play Jack, the husband of Pugh's character Alice.
Last month, Wilde did an interview with Variety in which she said LaBeouf's "combative energy" and "process" were "not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions," leading to his exit. Styles replaced the actor in the film.
Following Wilde's interview, LaBeouf sent her an e-mail, which he also shared with Variety -- pushing back on any insinuation he was fired, and claimed that he exited the project "due to lack of rehearsal time."
However, Wilde told Vanity Fair that during the film's preproduction, Pugh expressed that she was uncomfortable with LaBeouf. As a result, Wilde said she picked up the phone, called LaBeouf and fired him herself. (A rep for Wilde previously told Looper: "Olivia has never uttered the words 'I fired him.'")
"My responsibility was towards her," she said to Vanity Fair. "I'm like a mother wolf. Making the call was tricky, but in a way he understood. I don't think it would've been a process he enjoyed. He comes at his work with an intensity that can be combative. It wasn't the ethos that I demand in my productions. I want him to get well and to evolve because I think it's a great loss to the film industry when someone that talented is unable to work."
As part of his response to Wilde's comments when he spoke to Variety, LaBeouf also sent receipts to support his claim in the form of text messages between himself and Wilde, as well as a video. The clip, which was leaked, went viral as it appeared to show Wilde urging LaBeouf to stay on the project. At one point, she said, "I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo." Vanity Fair wrote that Wilde sent LaBeouf the video "apparently before Pugh registered her discomfort with the actor."
An insider told the publication that the truth is somewhere in-between -- claiming that yes LaBeouf did want more rehearsal time with Pugh, while the actress was not exactly comfortable with his level of intensity. Meanwhile, the source also claimed that Wilde chose Pugh over LaBeouf but let the actor believe he was quitting to spare him any embarrassment.
In addition, alleged text messages between Pugh and LaBeouf -- apparently exchanged during preproduction -- leaked online recently. Reacting to the texts, Wilde said, "This issue is so much more nuanced than can be explained in private texts released out of context. All I'll say is he was replaced, and there was no going forward with him. I wish him the best in his recovery."
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Meanwhile, also during her interview, Wilde shut down the rumor that she began her romance with Styles, 28, before she had split from former fiancé Jason Sudeikis, with whom she shares son Otis, 8, and daughter Daisy, 5.
"The complete horses--- idea that I left Jason for Harry is completely inaccurate," she said. "Our relationship was over long before I met Harry. Like any relationship that ends, it doesn’t end overnight."
"Unfortunately, Jason and I had a very bumpy road, and we officially dissolved the relationship towards the beginning of the pandemic," she added. "We were raising two kids during lockdown, so we co-parented through that time. Once it became clear that cohabitating was no longer beneficial for the children, it became the responsible thing to not, because we could be better parents as friends who live in different houses."
The October 2022 issue of Vanity Fair hits newsstands on September 20.