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Don't Worry Darling (2022)
Don't Worry Darling (2022)

Don’t Worry Darling’s Olivia Wilde talks sex scenes, casting Harry Styles

The Florence Pugh-starring psychological thriller will make viewers realise ‘how rarely they see this type of female pleasure,’ says the director

Olivia Wilde has discussed what to expect from Don’t Worry Darling, describing the upcoming film as “The Feminine Mystique on acid”, and noting that it was inspired by a meeting with Gloria Steinem at a gathering in New York, shortly after the election of Donald Trump.

Scheduled to hit cinemas next year, The psychological thriller casts Harry Styles and Florence Pugh as a young married couple, who live among a utopian desert community in 1950s California. On the one hand, Alice (played by Pugh) is seduced by her seemingly-perfect life, but on the other, she begins to uncover “disturbing” secrets under the surface.

In a new interview with Vogue, Wilde says that Don’t Worry Darling revolves around one question: “What are you willing to sacrifice in order to do what’s right? If you really think about it, are you willing to blow up the system that serves you?”

In the meantime, however, we’ll also get to see Harry Styles and Florence Pugh making out (see: the 11-second teaser that dropped earlier this year) alongside scenes inspired by thrillers such as Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal. These films are “really sexy, in a grown-up way,” Wilde notes. “I kept saying, ‘Why isn’t there any good sex in film anymore?’”

By the sounds of it, we’ll no longer be asking that question once Don’t Worry Darling is released in September 2022. Discussing one sex scene, Wilde adds that she intends to make her audience “realise how rarely they see female hunger, and specifically this type of female pleasure” on the big screen.

Back in February this year, Wilde also praised Harry Styles for giving Pugh the spotlight in the film (his character, Jack, is a supporting part to Pugh’s lead role). “No joke, it is harrrrrd to find actors who recognize why it might be worth it to allow for a woman to hold the spotlight,” she said at the time, adding of Styles: “Not only did he relish the opportunity to allow for the brilliant Florence Pugh to hold center stage as our ‘Alice’, but he infused every scene with a nuanced sense of humanity.”

In the new Vogue interview, the Booksmart director once again speaks about her difficulty casting Jack. “I cannot tell you how many men read the script and said, ‘Unless it’s a two-hander, unless I’m in as much — or more — of the script than she is, it’s not worth it,’” she says. “And it’s not their fault. They’ve been raised with this kind of innate misogyny as a part of their society: ‘If I don’t take up enough space, I won’t seem valuable.’” 

“Actresses — highly trained, highly valuable actresses — have appeared in supporting roles in countless films,” she continues. “We don’t think about it in terms of, ‘My role is not as big as his.’ It’s, ‘Oh, it’s a good role. It’s a role where I have a brain.’”

Don’t Worry Darling is also set to star Wilde herself, alongside Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll and KiKi Lane. The release date is currently scheduled for September 23, 2022.

Revisit Dazed’s 2021 cover interview with Harry Styles — in which he discusses his move into acting in recent years — here.