On Monday night, Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde both attended the world premiere of the drama “Don’t Worry Daring” at the Venice Film Festival, but they kept their distance — almost as if they weren’t even in the same movie together.
Pugh had skipped the press conference for the film earlier in the day. As the Venice audience erupted into a standing ovation for the 4-minute film, a tearful Pugh – who was sitting several seats away from Wilde – turned away completely from her director as she confronted (and danced with) her colleague. -Starring Nick Kroll.
More from Variety
The film appeared to be well received in Venice. The audience applauded during one of the most climatic scenes, and the applause probably would have lasted longer if Pugh hadn’t made her way to the exit about three minutes into the applause, prompting the rest of the cast – with Wilde at the end – to follow her. During the applause, Harry Styles and Kroll shared a quick kiss on the lips.
‘Don’t Worry Darling’ marks Wilde’s second feature directorial effort and follows up on her groundbreaking ‘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 wealthy company – which is working on a top-secret project that promises to change the world – may be harboring disturbing secrets. Then all hell breaks loose. “Booksmart” author Katie Silberman wrote the screenplay.
The drama followed “Don’t Worry Darling” in Venice thanks to rumors on social media claiming that Wilde and Pugh had fallen out on set. Pugh missed the film’s press conference due to the demands of filming the “Dune” sequel, but made it to Venice in time to walk the red carpet for the world premiere. Any possibility of embarrassment on the carpet was meticulously calculated by the festival and Warner Bros. staff. Discovery, who gave the film’s main ensemble a healthy window between each of their red carpet appearances, thus avoiding any drama.
Wilde was first on the red carpet, followed by Styles and finally Pugh. Styles, whose blue suit was unexpectedly softer for the singer-actor, was extremely attentive to the screaming fans – many of whom had lined up outside the Sala Grande, in the heat, since the early hours.
As the ‘As It Was’ singer was busy signing autographs up and down the red carpet, Pugh made her stunning entrance in a revealing, sparkly bodysuit, smiling for the cameras and commanding attention from excited fans. Like Styles, Pugh took her time greeting and hugging fans and posing for selfies. At one point she warmly hugged festival director Alberto Barbera, saying it was her first time at the festival. He also hugged ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ producer Miri Yoon.
In between, the stars joined the larger Warner Bros. team. Discovery and co-stars Gemma Chan, Chris Pine and Nick Kroll. But aside from a cast photo with Wilde, the trio of Pugh, Wilde and Styles were kept separate on the red carpet, surrounded at all times by their reps or other actors (Marisa Tomei gave Styles a particularly warm reception).
“Florence is a force,” Wilde said earlier in the day at a press conference in Venice when asked to “clear the air” about the rumours. “We’re so thankful that he can make it tonight [for the red carpet] despite the production on ‘Dune’. I know, as a director, how annoying it is to lose an actor even for a day, so I am very grateful to her and [‘Dune’ director Denis Villeneuve] for our help. And we will celebrate her work tonight. I can’t tell you how honored I am to have her as our leader. She’s incredible.”
Wilde added: “As for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, the internet feeds on itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute. I think he’s eating pretty well.”
Reviews of “Don’t Worry Darling” from Venice were mixed Variety Film critic Owen Gleiberman called it “more ostentatious than convincing” with an “overly telegraphed and very heavy-handed plot”. Gleiberman had more praise for Pugh and Styles, writing that the former “holds the film’s center with a spark of impatience that melts into the gaze of a wary detective.” Styles, meanwhile, has “a wholesome cunning that marks him as a natural screen actor.”
“Don’t Worry Darling” premiered out of competition. Warner Bros. has often brought one of the Oscar season’s big titles to Venice, including Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s A Star Is Born (an out-of-competition premiere that ended up with eight Oscar nominations, including best picture and a win for original song) and Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” (a competition title that won the Golden Lion, earned 11 Oscar nominations and won two acting and original score awards). Whether or not ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ can continue Warner Bros.’ Success from the festival to the Oscars remains to be seen.
Wilde told CinemaCon earlier this year that “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 sources of inspiration, saying the film is “a love letter to movies that push the boundaries of our imaginations.”
Warner Bros. will open “Don’t Worry Darling” in theaters on September 23.
Manori Ravindran contributed to this story.
The best of the variety
Sign up for the Variety newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Click here to read the full article.