Director Olivia Wilde wanted her ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ cast not to have to worry about on-set safety.
Originally, Wilde played the lead role of Alice, a suburban housewife who begins to question her husband Jack and their 1950s town of Victory, California. Yet when Wilde decided she wanted a younger couple at the center of the film, she immediately thought of “Midsommar” star Florence Pugh and “Dunkirk” breakout (and international pop star) Harry Styles. However, Styles was on tour at the time and Shia LaBeouf was cast instead.
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As production began in 2020, Wilde realized LaBeouf had to be dropped.
“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work: his process was not conducive to the ethics that I demand in my productions,” Wilde revealed to Variety. “He 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.”
At the time, Wilde cited a “no-assholes policy” while the studio claimed LaBeouf had scheduling conflicts. Later that year, LaBeouf’s former partner and “Honey Boy” co-star FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against the actor for sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.
“A lot of things came to light after that that really troubled me, behavior-wise,” Wilde said. “For our film, what we really needed was an incredibly supportive energy. Especially with a film like this, I knew I was going to ask Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was for her to feel safe and supported.
The director of “Booksmart” added, “I believe that creating a safe and trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and the actors to protect them. That was my job.
As for LaBeouf, who is set to star in Abel Ferrara’s ‘Pedro Pio,’ Wilde added, “I find myself really wishing him health and growth because I believe in restorative justice.”
And everything turned out for the best, it seems. Due to the pandemic, Styles’ tour was canceled, freeing up her schedule to star in “Don’t Worry Darling” and, as Wilde puts it, wow her co-stars with a powerful scene that left her in tears (the good kind) on Position.
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