There are few times in Hollywood history where the drama surrounding a film’s release has managed to overshadow the film itself. If you regularly peruse any form of social media, then you might have heard some of the gossip surrounding Olivia Wilde‘s sophomore directorial feature, Don’t Worry Darling. Let’s pull back the curtain on the controversial production.
Harry Styles’ Casting Made Waves
In hindsight, this melodrama was set into motion as soon as Harry Styles hit the cast list. People certainly had concerns about his acting skills since he had only taken small roles before, but there was enough enthusiasm to wade off the nay-sayers—that was until things went a bit lopsided.
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Just three months after joining the film, Styles sparked romance rumors with director Olivia Wilde, granting the film its first taste of controversy. Styles’ addition to the film alone guaranteed that his legions of fans would be paying attention to its production. However, it was his relationship with Wilde that opened the floodgates. Since news of the pair’s romance came only a couple of months after Wilde split from her fiancé Jason Sudeikis, people began to talk.
Wilde and Sudeikis’ split baffled fans, and even the SNL alum admitted he was blindsided. The pair was together for nine years, engaged for seven, and they shared two children. Nothing seemed awry to the public when Wilde started production on Don’t Worry Darling. Yet, she decided to end things very shortly after meeting Styles for the first time. It was inevitable that people would question the timeline of Wilde and Styles’ relationship.
Not The First On-Set Affair
Here’s where we need to point out a glaring double standard. Men in Hollywood—directors included—cycle through relationship after relationship without anyone batting an eye. Olivia Wilde is far from the first director to romance a leading actor or actress. Plenty of men have even ended their marriages doing so.
James Cameron’s affair with Suzy Amis on the set of Titanic spelled the end of his marriage to Linda Hamilton. Kenneth Branagh cheated on his then-wife Emma Thompson with Helena Bonham Carter while directing her in Frankenstein. There are plenty of more examples where those came from—but not a single one of these indiscretions drew the backlash that Wilde’s has.
Wilde Is Getting Hit From All Sides
Wilde’s romantic relationship with Styles hasn’t been the only tidbit from the film feeding the rumor mill. From a feud with Shia LeBeouf to rumored tension with Florence Pugh, Wilde has been getting it from every side. Still, there’s no denying that her romance with Styles is at the core of the gossip.
Most recently, a video circulated in which Styles appeared to some to be spitting on cast-mate Chris Pine, which only fed into the rumors about tension and drama within the cast. However, Pine’s rep quickly cleared up the drama and denied that Styles spit on his co-star:
“Just to be clear, Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine. There is nothing but respect between these two men and any suggestion otherwise is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist.”
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We can’t help but wonder if Don’t Worry Darling would have come under so much scrutiny in the first place had it not been for Wilde and Styles’ relationship. Without their sordid romance, there would be no other reason to suspect tension between Styles and his fellow cast members.
For the sake of fairness, Hollywood owes it to Wilde—one of the only female directors to find mainstream success—to forgive this minor scandal. Wilde is a filmmaker, and her personal life doesn’t dictate the quality of her work.