Olivia Wilde Fired Shia LaBeouf From Don't Worry Darling So Florence Pugh 'Felt Safe'
Olivia Wilde in Don't Worry Darling courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Olivia Wilde is finally sharing her account of firing Shia LaBeouf from her movie Don’t Worry Darling — and replacing him with her now-boyfriend, Harry Styles.

“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his [LaBeouf’s] work. 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,” Wilde told Variety. “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.”

(Update, August 26: LaBeouf disputes her account, and says he wasn’t fired — he quit.)

When Harry Styles replaced Shia LaBeouf in September 2020, the reasoning for LaBeouf’s exit was reported by the studio as a scheduling conflict, Variety notes. About four months later, in January 2021, FKA Twigs, LaBeouf’s former partner and Honey Boy co-star, sued LaBeouf for sexual battery, accusing LaBeouf of putting her through “relentless” abuse during their relationship. Following the lawsuit, LaBeouf and his agency, CAA, parted ways, and he entered an inpatient facility.

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The reason that Wilde says she let Shia LaBeouf go came down to her desire to make sure that lead actress Florence Pugh — who plays housewife Alice opposite Styles’ Jack, which would have been LaBeouf’s part — felt “safe” and “supported” on set. The trailer reveals that Pugh and Styles share multiple sex scenes in Don’t Worry Darling.

“A lot came to light after this happened that really troubled me, in terms of his behavior,” Wilde said. “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.”

Enter Styles, who Wilde said had actually been her first choice for the role before Shia LaBeouf was hired. Styles was supposed to have been on tour — y’know, because he’s a pop star — during the shoot, but then the pandemic hit and he was suddenly free.

“We found the perfect Jack, and luckily, it’s kind of magical that it ended up being our first choice,” Wilde said.

Don’t Worry Darling arrives in theaters on Sept. 23 from Warner Bros. Pictures.

Main Image: Olivia Wilde in Don’t Worry Darling courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures