Monday evening, Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde both attended the world premiere of the drama “Don’t Worry Daring” at the Venice Film Festivalbut they kept their distance – almost like they weren’t even in the same movie together.
Pugh had skipped the film’s press conference earlier in the day. When audiences in Venice erupted into a 4-minute standing ovation for the film, a teary-eyed Pugh – who was seated several seats away from Wilde – turned completely away from her director, as she faced (and was dancing with) her co-star Nick Kroll.
The film seemed to be well received in Venice. The audience cheered during one of the most climactic scenes and the ovation probably would have lasted longer if Pugh hadn’t headed out some three minutes into the applause, prompting the rest of the cast – with Wilde at the end – to follow her. During the ovation, Harry Styles and Kroll quickly kissed himself on the lips.
“Don’t Worry Darling” marks Wilde’s second directorial effort and her follow-up to the breakthrough “Booksmart.” Pugh and Styles play a newlywed couple living in the quaint experimental utopia called Victory. Pugh’s character grows increasingly suspicious that her husband’s luxurious business – which is working on a top-secret project that promises to change the world – may be hiding some disturbing secrets. Then all hell breaks loose. “Booksmart” writer Katie Silberman penned the screenplay.
The drama followed “Don’t Worry Darling” in Venice thanks to social media rumors that Wilde and Pugh got into a fight on set. Pugh missed the film’s press conference due to filming demands for the ‘Dune’ sequel, but she arrived in Venice in time to walk the red carpet for the world premiere. Any possibility of awkwardness on the mat has been meticulously considered by festival and Warner Bros. staff. Discovery, who gave the main set of the film a healthy window between each of their red carpet appearances, avoiding any drama.
Wilde was first on the red carpet, followed by Styles and finally Pugh. Styles, whose powder blue suit was surprisingly toned down for the singer-actor, was extremely attentive to the screaming fans – many of whom had lined up outside the Sala Grande in the searing heat since the early hours of the morning.
While the “As It Was” singer was busy signing autographs on the red carpet, Pugh made her spectacular entrance in a sparkly off-the-shoulder bodysuit, smiling at the cameras and catching the attention of cheering fans. Like Styles, Pugh also took his time to wave and hug fans and pose for selfies. At one point, she warmly embraced festival director Alberto Barbera, stating that it was her very first time at the festival. She also gave a long hug to “Don’t Worry Darling” producer Miri Yoon.
In between, the stars joined the extended team at Warner Bros. Discovery and their co-stars Gemma Chan, Chris Pine and Nick Kroll. But aside from a casting photo with Wilde, the trio of Pugh, Wilde and Styles were kept apart on the red carpet, surrounded at all times by their reps or other cast members (Marisa Tomei gave Styles a particularly warm welcome ).
“Florence is a force,” Wilde said earlier today at the Venice press conference when asked to “clear the air” of rumours. “We are so grateful that she is able to do this tonight [for the red carpet] although it is in production on “Dune”. I know, as a director, how upsetting it is to lose an actor even for a day, so I’m very grateful to him, and to [‘Dune’ director Denis Villeneuve] to help us. And we’re going to celebrate his work tonight. I can’t say how honored I am to have him as a leader. She is incredible.”
Wilde added, “When it comes to all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise, the internet feeds on itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute; I think he is sufficiently well fed.
Reviews of Venice’s “Don’t Worry Darling” were mixed, with Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman call him “more showy than convincing” with an “over-telegraphed and very heavy plot plot”. Gleiberman had more praise for Pugh and Styles, writing that the former “holds the film’s center with a spark of eagerness that melts into a wary detective’s gaze”. Styles, meanwhile, has “a wholesome craftiness that characterizes him as a natural movie actor.”
“Don’t Worry Darling” premiered out of competition. Warner Bros. has often brought one of its big hits of Oscar season to Venice, including Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s ‘A Star Is Born’ (an out-of-competition premiere that resulted in eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and a win for Original Song) and Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” (a competition track that won the Golden Lion, garnered 11 Oscar nominations, and won two awards for Actor and Original Score ). Whether or not ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ can continue Warner Bros.’ the festival’s success at the Oscars remains to be seen.
Savage told CinemaCon earlier this year, “Don’t Worry Darling” was inspired by psychosexual thrillers like “Fatal Attraction” and “Indecent Proposal.” The director also cited ‘Inception’, ‘The Matrix’ and ‘The Truman Show’ as inspirations, saying the film is “a love letter to films that push the limits of our imagination”.
Warner Bros. will open “Don’t Worry Darling” in theaters on September 23