As much as I hate to admit it, I spend way too much time on social media, especially Twitter. But recently, it’s become a chore to check it because there’s only one story dominating the online space. For the last few days, my entire timeline has been hijacked by the behind-the-scenes drama of Don’t Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde’s new thriller, which premieres on September 23 in the UK.
The film had a glitzy world premiere in Venice last night, but the film itself has had to give up the spotlight for all the clips and hot takes posted on social media. The latest is a clip of Harry Styles sitting down next to Chris Pine and Pine conveniently just glances down as Styles sits down. The internet has now decided that Styles must have spat on Pine.
This is obviously untrue. First, why would Styles spit on anyone? Second, Styles is a seasoned musician and celebrity who knows that his every move is being watched and dissected by the general public.
— JZMaclin (@Mac70J) September 6, 2022
Regardless, social media had gone into a frenzy over the clip, which is just another nail on Don’t Worry Darling’s coffin. At this point, it seems completely unrelated and moot whether or not the film is any good, because the larger story is of the dynamics between the cast and director Wilde.
To quickly recap, Olivia Wilde is, or at least was, in a relationship with Harry Styles after she split from her husband, Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis. Styles replaced Shia LaBeouf in the film, but LaBeouf said he quit instead of being fired from the film as Wilde claimed. Wilde said she did this to create a safe environment on her set, after LaBeouf was accused of very serious abuse on the set of Honey Boy.
Many have also read much into Florence Pugh’s silence. The star of the film has not shared the film’s trailers on her social media accounts and she most recently said she wouldn’t be doing any press for the film outside of the Venice premiere. She also completely skipped the Venice press conference, during which a reporter was stopped by the festival staff from asking about LaBeouf. A clip in which Wilde asks LaBeouf to come back to the film and refers to Pugh as “Miss Flo” has also surfaced.
It seems like an unusually twisty tale and it’s become increasingly difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not. The internet has a way of skewing our perception of the truth and in the case of Don’t Worry Darling, it seems like the truth is whatever the internet decides it to be based on their own alliances.
Twitter is especially rampant when it comes to celebrity gossip and people are hungry for those likes. (Do you even exist if your tweet doesn’t have hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes?) It’s so easy to repost a clip of Harry Styles sitting down and caption it “NOT HARRY STYLES SPITTING ON CHRIS PINE?!?!?!!!!!”
Much has also been said about the press conference in which Harry Styles awkwardly answered a question and muttered something about the movie being “like a movie”. People were quick to post Chris Pine’s vacant expression and interpret it as they felt appropriate. One said he looked like he had no idea what was going on, another one said he must have been raging on the inside.
Someone even called the entire press tour Pine’s Joker-moment, referring to the makings of the infamous DC villain. But what was Pine supposed to look like, how was he supposed to act? The question wasn’t directed at him and, in all honesty, press conferences and junkets can be awfully tedious on the talent, I presume.
we’re witnessing chris pine going through his joker moment in real time pic.twitter.com/NpI8Owv4xy
— franklin (@leohoratio) September 5, 2022
We’ll most likely never know exactly what the real story of Don’t Worry Darling is. Are Pugh and Wilde feuding? Did Wilde want LaBeouf back in the film? Are all the cast at war with each other? Does Chris Pine have any clue about what’s going on? Clips from the press conference as well as the screening itself are circulating online, but we seem to be lacking any type of media literacy.
The story around the film is partly constructed by tabloids that are chasing click by creating gossip. The saying “no smoke without fire” probably applies here – the entire cast is acting very strangely but no one addressing it isn’t helping – but it’s also very easy and financially beneficial to create a narrative around two women, both very much in the public eye, feuding with each other. It’s juicy, it’s intriguing, it’s a little sexist. We’re drawn to the drama; it’s like that cliche saying about a car crash: we can’t take our eyes off it.
— Trina Watters (@trinawatters) September 5, 2022
We all contribute to the needless, pointless online tsunami of rumours and gossip, most of which is based on people interpreting actions, looks and facial expressions without insider knowledge of the real dynamics of the film’s stars. Who could blame us? The gossip gives us a break from our own, often depressing, lives. It allows us to immerse ourselves into someone else’s life, it brings us closer to these celebrities, who we often lift up to god-like pedestals.
But even gods are fallible and we may never know exactly what the deal is with the cast of Don’t Worry Darling. It doesn’t matter, the spotlight will be on something else in a couple of days time and we’ll have something else to obsess over and retweet frantically.