The ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ drama timeline, explained

don't worry darling harry styles olivia wilde florence pugh
Credit: Warner Bros.

With Olivia Wilde’s new film Don’t Worry Darling premiering at the Venice Film Festival the internet has been glued to the screens taking in all of the drama surrounding this film.

For those who have missed any part of this story that has developed over the past two years, you may be wondering what exactly has gone down. There are many pieces to this and while alone they might not seem to be such a big deal, together it appears to have caused drama between multiple parties of the film’s production.

To help get you up to speed, here is an outline of all of the components of the Don’t Worry Darling drama and a timeline to help keep things in perspective.

Don’t Worry Darling drama, explained

don't worry darling harry styles florence pugh
via Warner Bros.

Like any good story, there are multiple parts to this mess than have come together to provide one of the most dramatic film premieres of recent times. To fully understand what is going on here you’ll first need to get up to speed on all of the different interconnecting problems that took place on and off the set of the film.

Olivia Wilde and her relationships

Involved in all parts of this movie’s drama is its director, Olivia Wilde. To start things off, when production began on Don’t Worry Darling back in September of 2020, Wilde was still together with her now ex-partner Jason Sudeikis.

Meeting him on the set of the film, Wilde and leading male star Harry Styles would begin to craft a relationship. Just months following the announcement of Wilde and Sudeikis’ split in November of 2020, the pair of Don’t Worry Darling team members were spotted hand-in-hand at a wedding in January of 2021.

Earlier this year, during the CinemaCon, reveal of Don’t Worry Darling, Wilde was served papers regarding the custody of her children with Sudeikis on stage at the event. Wilde called this act “upsetting” and something that shouldn’t be allowed to happen when speaking to Variety. Continuing further she said that the act wasn’t surprising, “I mean there’s a reason I left that relationship.”

Back to Styles, the pair’s relationship has continued on since then with Wilde being spotted at many of Styles’ shows and while they both appeared at the drama-packed premiere of Don’t Worry Darling, they did so separately and appeared not to interact too much.

Shia Labeouf’s exit from the project

Now we have our base for Wilde’s situation in all of this, we get to where things began to heat up. Before Styles joined the project, the role of Jack Chambers was set to be portrayed by Shia Labeouf.

Right before filming in September of 2020, it was announced that Labeouf would be let go from the project. Speaking to Variety about this in August of 2022, Wilde claimed that she had made the decision after seeing how he worked and other personal issues related to the star.

“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. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.

A lot came to light after this happened that really troubled me, in terms of his behavior. I find myself just really wishing him health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice. But for our film, what we really needed was an energy that was incredibly supportive. Particularly with a movie like this, I knew that I was going to be asking Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was making her feel safe and making her feel supported.”

Unfortunately for Wilde, LaBeouf didn’t take kindly to the idea that he had been kicked off the project and came with the receipts. In a letter sent to Wilde, LaBeouf wrote “I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse.”

Going full scorched earth, LaBeouf also shared a video message he had received from Wilde asking him to stay and work things out, but also throwing shade at the movie’s leading star Florence Pugh, calling her “Miss Flo”. This takes us into the final part of this drama.

Florence Pugh’s part in it all

Fans started to notice things were strange when Pugh, who is typically active on social media, hadn’t shared updates regarding Don’t Worry Darling both during the filming process and as the release schedule began to roll out.

In July a report by Page Six claimed that Pugh had been uncomfortable about Wilde and Styles’ relationship which allegedly began before she had separated from Sudeikis. The report cites an insider who claims that some on the set were uncomfortable with the relationship, as Sudeikis and his children with Wilde had visited the set at the start of filming.

On top of this, other accusations suggest that Wilde’s on-set antics with Styles were unprofessional and angered stars including Pugh. It wasn’t just the production issues that caused conflict, but also the film itself.

While Wilde was vocal about bringing sex back to the big screen, Pugh wasn’t so happy about the sex focus that was on full display in the movie’s trailer. The star spoke about this in an interview with Bazar earlier this year.

“When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry. Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”

In the wake of the video shared by LaBeouf, Pugh has held out on doing media for the film outside of her appearance at its premiere. It isn’t clear if the actress will do any further promotion ahead of its September 23 release, but with this feud seemingly ongoing it does appear unlikely.

The film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival

Don’t Worry Darling was revealed to those in attendance at the Venice Film Festival and while the movie received a four-minute-long standing ovation alongside some ratings that would suggest the complete opposite, what really captured interest was the ongoing drama between the cast.

From Wilde and Pugh’s stylists throwing barbs at each other, the stars arriving separately and seemingly being separated by other cast members Chris Pine and Gemma Chan, all the way to Styles appearing to spit at a costar, the event had plenty of drama, and while it’s now over, there could be more to come.

You can relive all of the action from the premiere via social media’s best memes here.

Timeline of events

  • July 2019: Don’t Worry Darling is announced with Wilde confirmed to direct.
  • April 2020: The film’s cast is announced to star Pugh, LaBeouf, and Chris Pine
  • September 2020: Styles is announced to be replacing LaBeouf on the project.
  • September 2020: Filming stars on the movie.
  • November 2020: Wilde’s split from Jason Sudeikis is announced.
  • January 2021: Wilde and Styles are pictured together at a wedding.
  • February 2021: Filming finishes on the movie.
  • April 2022: Wilde is served papers during CinemaCon’s panel for Don’t Worry Darling.
  • August 2022: Fans begin to realize that Pugh has not been present promoting the film.
  • August 2022: Wilde says she fired LeBeouf to protect the stars.
  • August 2022: LeBeouf disputes claims about being kicked off the film and releases a video message from Wilde.
  • September 2022: The premiere for Don’t Worry Darling takes palace at the Venice Film Festival.