Full of intrigue, ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ dazzles Venice

VENICE, Italy (AP) — 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 crowded the edges of the red carpet trying to catch a glimpse of him. His enthusiastic welcome did the madness of Timothée Chalamet seen on Friday seem modest in comparison.

Star Florence Pugh also made a movie-star entrance to the Lido by donning a sparkling off-the-shoulder Valentino and, like the styles, stopping to talk to fans as she walked down the carpet.

At the end of the premiere, the audience stood to a standing ovation of “Don’t Worry Darling” for five minutes, and Styles could be seen on the balcony giving co-star Nick Kroll a big hug. Still, the day of the premiere did little to calm the intrigue over the film and its stars. Some even noted who sat next to whom in the theater.

Many responded to the film’s press conference earlier today, hoping that reports of behind-the-scenes tensions with Pugh would be addressed or clarified. Wilde, before the premiere, said she didn’t want to contribute to the “endless tabloid gossip” and “noise”.

“The internet feeds on itself,” Wilde said. “I don’t need to contribute, I think he is considerably well fed.”

Pugh is in the midst of production on massive blockbuster “Dune 2” (also a Warner Bros. joint) and is expected to return directly from his Venice obligations. Although the star of the film, she did not attend the press conference as her flight had yet to land.

“Florence is a force and we are very grateful to him for having succeeded tonight,” said Wilde. “As a director, I know how upsetting it is to lose an actor for even a day.”

The behind-the-scenes drama rarely extends beyond inside industry gossip, but the question of exactly what happened during the making of “Don’t Worry Darling” has become a source of intrigue. world. The lack of clarity on everything from Shia LaBeouf’s departure from the film at the start, to Pugh’s perceived lack of public support for the project on his social media accounts has been simmering on TikTok and Twitter for some time, then reinforced by a report in the Hollywood Puck newsletter, citing various unnamed studio and production sources.

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Wilde, for his part, has been nothing but ardent about his lead actor. In an interview with The Associated Press, she spoke at length about Pugh’s extraordinary talent saying that what she did with the role was “singularly brilliant” and that Alice’s character is a “heroine for the ages”. .

Still, questions remain as to why Pugh hasn’t posted much about the film on his Instagram. She didn’t highlight the trailer, or say anything about getting into Venice.

It should be noted that Chalamet, co-star of Pugh’s “Dune 2,” had an equally brief stint in Venice for her film “Bones and All.” This will likely be the only appearance he makes on behalf of this film, but no one has written headlines about Chalamet “limiting” his press engagements.

Wilde herself also became a tabloid staple after paparazzi discovered her off-screen relationship with Styles. And then there was the CinemaCon moment, in which Wilde was served with custody papers by his ex, Jason Sudeikisduring a presentation of his film on stage in front of thousands of industry professionals and theater owners.

Then for the past few weeks, all the little threads seemed to flare up all at once. Much of that was fueled by LaBeouf, who came out of the woodwork to challenge a two-year-old account that he had been fired from the project. Ultimately, her role went to Styles.

Wilde, in a Variety cover story, is not directly quoted as saying she fired him. She offered, “His process was not conducive to the ethics I demand in my productions. It has a process that in some ways seems to require combative energy, and I personally don’t think that’s conducive to the best performance.

In response, LaBeouf sent private emails, text messages and video messages to Variety to prove that he had indeed quit due to lack of rehearsal time. The video message, in which she tries to convince LaBeouf to stay on as Jack, was later leaked online in which Pugh calls out “Miss Flo.”

The press conference moderator cut off a reporter who tried to ask about LaBeouf, saying Wilde had already answered that in his comment on “tabloid gossip” and noise.

LaBeouf, who will head to court next year over allegations of abuse by his ex, FKA twigs, is also in Venice this year with the movie “Padre Pio.”

The press conference stayed true to the themes of the film, a mid-century style psychological thriller about a 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 metaphor… everything that is beautiful is also sinister. It is by design.

The film is presented out of competition at the festival in anticipation of its theatrical release on September 23.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

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For more information on the Venice Film Festival, visit: www.apnews.com/VeniceFilmFestival