Did Harry Styles actually spit on Chris Pine at the Don’t Worry Darling premiere? Is it linked to a dispute between Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh? Who cares? Cinema’s back baby!
In Don’t Worry Darling, a seemingly-idyllic 1950s community turns hellish after stay-at-home wife Alice (played by Florence Pugh) starts to question what her husband Jack (played by Harry Styles) gets up to when he goes to work for Victory, an eerily-named company that bankrolls their picture-perfect community in the California desert.
In the real world, a seemingly-idyllic Don’t Worry Darling press tour has turned hellish after fans started to dig into the behind-the-scenes drama of the shoot, claiming to unearth, among other things, a feud between Pugh and director Olivia Wilde and… a video of Harry Styles spitting on Chris Pine at the film’s premiere?
Yes, the drama has reached such heights that we’re out here analysing whether the Harry’s House musician-turned-actor (and Dazed cover star) did in fact spit on his co-star in front of the international press. Maybe cinema isn’t dead after all. But how did we get here? What’s in the water in Alice and Jack’s desert commune, besides a healthy dose of valium for the doting housewives?
In case you haven’t been avidly following the drama on Twitter over the last few days, we’ve attempted to sum up the drama so far below.
Did Harry Styles just spit on Chris Pine?? #DontWorryDarlingpic.twitter.com/V79mMi8CQs— Matt Ramos (@therealsupes) September 6, 2022
FIRST, LET’S TAKE A STEP BACK
Hopes were high for Don’t Worry Darling when the first full trailer for the psychological thriller dropped back in May. The preview promised lavish parties in sleek interiors filled with mid-century furniture. The head of Victory, Frank (Chris Pine) lent things a creepy edge, alongside Alice’s hallucinations and a cult-like army of men in red jumpsuits. Harry Styles, it seemed, would single-handedly close the orgasm gap.
Just as things started to get weird in the trailer, however, an undercurrent of unease began to surround the actors and director during this week’s Venice Film Festival, where the film had its star-studded premiere.
FLORENCE PUGH WAS NOTABLY ABSENT
Florence Pugh’s apparent reluctance to promote Don’t Worry Darling first caused a stir earlier this year, as fans pointed out that the actor hadn’t shared much footage from the upcoming film on social media, despite being a prolific poster about previous projects. She did, eventually, post a short teaser captioned “Not long now!” in August, though, and otherwise her quiet feed was written off as the result of other obligations, such as Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, or Dune 2.
However, the conspiracies were reignited after Pugh limited her promotional appearances late last month (again, this was said to be due to working on Dune). She did, however, turn up at the Venice premiere, but even then she missed the press conference and photocall beforehand, arriving late by jet and then strolling through Venice with an Aperol Spritz.
Venice !!! pic.twitter.com/UZFML98va9— Florence Pugh Media (@FPDMedia) September 5, 2022
During the conference itself, Olivia Wilde was asked to “clear the air” about her rumoured rift with Pugh, and told Variety: “Florence is a force. We are so grateful she’s able to make it tonight despite being in production on Dune.[...] I can’t say how honoured I am to have her as our lead. She’s amazing.”
“As for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, the Internet feeds itself,” the Booksmart director added, “I don’t feel the need to contribute; I think it’s sufficiently well-nourished.” In other words: no, Olivia Wilde will not clear the air.
THE CASTING OF SHIA LABEOUF CAUSED TROUBLE FROM THE OUTSET
Some have speculated that Olivia Wilde’s early decision to cast Shia LaBeouf, who was originally set to star as Jack in Don’t Worry Darling, was the cause of the tension between Florence Pugh and the director, even after LaBeouf dropped out due to alleged scheduling conflicts. In case you haven’t heard, LaBeouf was accused of physical and emotional abuse by FKA twigs in 2020, though he has denied all allegations.
Confusing matters further, Wilde claimed just before Venice that she actually fired LaBeouf over his “combative energy”, and to keep Pugh “safe”. LaBeouf responded by publishing a public email that included several texts from Wilde, claiming that he actually quit the production by choice.
A leaked video message from 2020 also appears to show Wilde asking LaBeouf to change his mind about leaving the film. “I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo,” she adds in the video – a phrase that has come back to haunt the dispute in shady stylists’ Instagram posts.
SOMEONE HOLD ME BACK— percy 🌊 || who the fuck is gonna stop us? (@percystardust) August 26, 2022
(the video olivia sent shia where she basically begged him to stay on the movie after ADMITTING that she knows shia makes florence uncomfortable) pic.twitter.com/ihlHOQlF6B
ADD A LITTLE HOLLYWOOD ROMANCE…
Other sources have suggested that Olivia Wilde’s relationship with Harry Styles – which apparently started during production – also caused problems on set. According to rumours, the director frequently “disappeared” with the leading actor while working, and also caused discomfort due to the proximity to her relationship with Jason Sudeikis. On the other hand, this criticism has been dismissed as sexist, since it’s unlikely that a male director dating his star – or casting her in a fairly graphic sex scene with another actor – would garner so much negative attention.
Nevertheless, the romance has added some extra spice to the controversy, and might be why so much has been made of the body language of the film’s key players at the Venice premiere. Florence Pugh, for example, apparently didn’t look Olivia Wilde in the eye once on the night. The seating arrangement was also, frankly, bizarre, keeping the supposed rivals (and film’s main stars) at a distance from one another.
WHICH LEADS US TO THE SPITTING CONTROVERSY
Where does Chris Pine fit into the puzzle? Well, it goes back to the body language – namely, Pine’s enthusiastic interactions with Pugh on the red carpet, where she reportedly remained distant from Styles and Wilde. Does this suggest that he didn’t get along with the director and her leading man either? Cut to Chris Pine’s soul departing his body as Styles talks about how his “favourite thing about the movie is that it feels like a move, it feels like a real go to the theatre film... movie”.
This supposed split down the middle of the production has lent some weight to the undeniable climax of the whole Don’t Worry Darling fiasco: Harry Styles slyly spitting (or not spitting, maybe) on Chris Pine’s leg as he took his seat to watch the premiere.
Does it look like Styles spat, and Pine reacted with utter disbelief? Yes, it kind of does. Is Styles invincible enough to pull it off in front of the cameras – in fact, would some people pay good money to have him spit on them? Probably, yes. Does he have a motive? If Pine really has taken sides against him and Wilde, then also, arguably, yes. Does that mean it actually happened? Unfortunately for lovers of gossip and Hollywood whispers, no.
In fact, representatives for Harry Styles and Chris Pine themselves have addressed The Spit. “This is not true,” say sources close to Styles addressing the claim, as reported by the Guardian. Sources close to Pine also stated: “There is nothing but respect between these two men.” Should we believe them? Let God and the internet be the judge of that. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy #SpitGate for what it really is: a new, spicy chapter in Hollywood’s long history of off-screen drama.
i can’t believe this is real pic.twitter.com/2foB8UWIFc— h (@rohmerfilm) September 5, 2022