A much-anticipated Don’t Worry Darling press conference at the Venice Film Festival started out friendly, with star Harry Styles fielding a majority of the questions ‚ until a reporter asked director Olivia Wilde why co-lead Florence Pugh wasn’t present, amid reports that Pugh and Wilde did not get along on set.
When asked to “clear the air and address if there’s been a falling out” between the two, Wilde didn’t directly answer and instead praised Pugh’s performance in the film. She also said Pugh wasn’t present because she was filming Denis Villeneuve’s Dune 2 in Budapest, and said she was grateful Pugh would be present at the premiere screening Monday.
“Florence is a force. And we are so grateful that she’s able to make it tonight despite being in production on Dune. I know, as a director, how disruptive it is to lose an actor, even for a day. So I’m very grateful to her, grateful to Denis Villeneuve for helping us. And we’re really thrilled we’ll get to celebrate her work tonight. I can’t say enough how honored I am to have her as our lead. She’s amazing in the film. And as for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, I mean the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute anything to it.”
A Hollywood Reporter writer immediately attempted to follow up, with a question about Shia LeBeouf. Wilde told Variety that she fired LeBeouf, but LeBeouf responded with what he said was evidence that he quit the shoot due to a lack of rehearsal time.
The press conference moderator promptly shut down THR’s LeBeouf question before the reporter could even finish articulating it. The moderator stated that Wilde’s previous internet comment had already answered that question, as Don’t Worry Darling actors Chris Pine and Gemma Chan, who also attended, looked on.
Pugh has praised many involved in the production on social media, but a perceived lack of praise for Olivia Wilde has inspired speculation. BuzzFeed cited a source who said they clashed both “personally and professionally.”
Timothée Chalamet is also starring in Dune 2, but was present at Venice to talk about his press duties for Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All, which premiered at the festival on Saturday.
Soon after the news conference ended, Florence Pugh took to Instagram to announce her arrival in Venice, with her grandmother:
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She also spawned a “Miss Flo” meme, in which fans on Twitter embraced a narrative in which she breezily blew off the news conference in order to relax in purple Valentino and drink a cocktail:
little miss olivia said “scheduling conflicts” and here flo is pic.twitter.com/G87NYcijvB
— mads 📡 (@tobesofreaks) September 5, 2022
Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde, premieres Monday at the Venice Film Festival.