Don’t Worry Darling director Olivia Wilde says the trailer for her upcoming satirical thriller was censored at the last minute, which she seemed to attribute to the “puritanical society” we live in and America’s recent “lack of eroticism” in film.
The movie centers around a 1950s housewife, played by Florence Pugh, who bucks against the seemingly idyllic society she lives in when something strange and sinister appears to be going on underneath the artifice of its surface.
The finished trailer for Don’t Worry Darling already features a sex act that has proved to be a conversation starter for many. Still, when Wilde was asked about the role of frank depictions of female sexuality in her films, she said there was even more content that was cut. Wilde told the Associated Press,
“There’s a lot that had to be taken out of the trailer. The MPA came down hard on me and the trailer at the last second and I had to cut some shots, which I was upset about because I thought they it took it up another notch. But of course we still live in a really puritanical society. I do think the lack of eroticism in American film is kind of new. Then when it comes to female pleasure, it’s something that we just don’t see very often.”
Wilde went on to remark that a notable exception when it comes to unabashed depictions of female pleasure in movies can be found in “queer cinema,” in her opinion, saying, “female characters are allowed to have more pleasure” in that genre.
“Audiences aren’t as puritanical as corporations think they are. And yet people get upset. I mean, people are upset with me already over this. I think it’s a testament to the film. We want to be provocative. The idea is not to make you feel safe.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Wilde cited films such as Requiem for a Dream and The Truman Show as influences for Don’t Worry Darling, among many others, perhaps hinting at the movie’s dystopian themes. In addition, Wilde said the “iconography of the 1950s,” including the architect Richard Neutra, as well as the contemporary photographer Alex Prager, were major influences on her and cinematographer Matty Litbatique.
Wilde added that she hopes people show up to watch the film for whatever reason that interests them, whether you’re a “1950s car fanatic” or “simply going because you’re a fan of our incredible cast,” which includes Wilde herself, Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Kate Berlant, Nick Kroll, and many others.
Don’t Worry Darling — which was written by Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, and Shane Van Dyke — hits theaters Sept. 23, 2022.