The film, which premieres at the festival today (Monday 5 September), follows the story of a Fifties couple – played by Harry Styles and Florence Pugh – whose idyllic lives are overturned when Pugh’s character Alice uncovers her husband’s dark secret, after one of the neighbourhood housewives goes missing.
Despite the frenetic buzz around Don’t Worry Darling, Wilde’s press run for the movie has been mired by controversy for some time.
In a recent interview, the actor-director claimed she fired LaBeouf in 2020 in order to create a “safe, trusting environment” on set, saying that his acting process “was not conducive to the ethos” that she demands in her productions.
However, LaBeouf, who is currently awaiting trial after being sued for “relentless abuse” by his former partner, the British musician FKA twigs, denied being fired.
He sent Variety a video he claimed to have received from Wilde, which shows her asking him not to quit the project.
During the press conference for Don’t Worry Darling on Monday, a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter tried to ask Wilde about LaBeouf but was “shut down” by the moderator, as seen on video.
Shortly after the conference, Alex Ritman confirmed that he “just tried to ask Olivia Wilde a question about Shia LaBeouf” at the conference but “the festival wouldn’t let me”.
Well, I just tried to ask Olivia Wilde a question about Shia LaBeouf at the DON'T WORRY DARLING press conference, but the festival wouldn't let me. #Venezia79
— Alex Ritman (@alexritman) September 5, 2022
The Independent has reached out to La Biennale de Venezia, which organises the festival, for comment.
The festival organisers apparently suggested Ritman’s question had already “been answered” as part of Wilde’s comments on the alleged feud with Pugh, who skipped the press conference.
“Can you just clear the air and address whether there has been a falling out there and if so why, because it’s something that people are discussing?” one reporter asked Wilde during the conference.
The director responded: “Florence is a force and we are so grateful that she is able to make it tonight despite being in production on Dune. I know as a director how disruptive it is to lose an actor even for a day so I’m very grateful to her and Denis Villeneuve for helping us – we’re really thrilled we’ll get to celebrate her work tonight.”
She continued: “I can’t say enough how honoured I am to have her as our lead. She’s amazing in the film and as for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, I mean, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute, I think it’s sufficiently well nourished.”
Variety confirmed that Pugh’s absence from the panel was because the actor’s flight arrives into Venice after the press conference, but that she will walk the red carpet for the premiere later on.
Don’t Worry Darling is released in cinemas on Friday 23 September.