This article contains existential spoilers
At the time of writing, the internet at large is still arguing about whether Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine at the premiere of the pair’s beleaguered new thriller, Don’t Worry Darling. It’s only the latest juicy (but in this instance probably not that delicious) slice of drama from the film’s production and subsequent review-panning debut, which has included the kind of intriguing nonsense that expensive PR bods spend considerable time micromanaging on big budget projects so it never sees the light of day, but because Don’t Worry Darling has a much, much lower budget than, say, last year’s Eternals, which also (briefly) starred Styles, the wheels have basically completely come off now, with a new tidbit emerging from the cast and crew on average every few hours. On the flipside, Don’t Worry Darling really didn’t need any of that expensive PR, because people have been talking about this thing nonstop.
The film follows Florence Pugh as Alice Chambers and Styles as her workaholic husband Jack, and is set in the 1950s. Olivia Wilde directed it. There’s a mystery involved. Chris Pine is there. Who cares. The internet has decided that the most important thing to focus on is every other thing that’s happened since the movie was first greenlit, so here comes the part where I try to sum it up for you.
First off, it’s important to know that Don’t Worry Darling didn’t always star Styles as Jack. Shia LaBeouf was originally cast in the role, but was replaced with Styles. There are conflicting reports over why this transpired. Shia said the actors weren’t given enough time to rehearse. Director Wilde had a different story, saying LaBeouf’s process “was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions.” So Shia brought the receipts, which included screenshots and a video of Wilde begging him to stay. A trial date had meanwhile been set for a lawsuit against LaBeouf for sexual battery by ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs for April 17, 2023, which is likely the reason most people imagined he was replaced on the movie, but that happened a little later.
In January 2021, it was reported that Wilde and Styles had begun dating during production on Don’t Worry Darling, and in April Wilde was served some child custody papers live on stage at CinemaCon, filed by her ex, Ted Lasso creator Jason Sudeikis. Talk of a feud between Wilde and star Pugh then started circulating, with the “proof” being anything from posts about the movie that weren’t liked or shared, or aversion to certain discussion of the project by Pugh.
Which brings us to this week and the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where Pugh showed up later than the rest of the core cast after jetting in from the set of Dune 2, and seemingly did not want to interact with Styles or Wilde – who are now rumored to have suddenly broken up – during the occasion.
Leading up to the premiere, Pine had done his best to make his way through interviews with the press, though various commentators had joked that he appeared to check out mentally and emotionally as Styles talked a baffling game about the acting profession. But as Styles finally took his seat next to Pine to watch Don’t Worry Darling in Venice, a video of the event emerged that has now been slowed down and zoomed in on more times than the Zapruder film in JFK. Did Styles spit on Pine and then act like he’d got away with it, or did literally nothing happen other than a jetlagged Pine found his sunglasses in his lap after briefly forgetting where he put them? You be the judge, I guess.