A celebrity’s job is first and foremost to entertain the masses. Consider me fully entertained and wholly immersed in the ongoing turmoil that is the making and release of Don’t Worry Darling.
From the moment it was announced that Olivia Wilde would be helming the film, it has been plagued with controversy and never-ending discourse. The highly anticipated, star-studded psychological drama is arguably one of the most scandalous Hollywood productions in recent memory. Hollywood press tours nowadays tend to go very smoothly, with few bumps in the road, so Don’t Worry Darling’s dramatic, extremely public unraveling is juicy entertainment at its finest.
It doesn’t seem like the messy drama will be ending anytime soon, since it won’t be hitting theaters until Sept. 23. Since we can’t get enough of it, we’ve ranked every single key player in the saga based on how much their involvement has impacted them, from who is coming off worst to who seems to be—at least for now—emerging the most unscathed.
14. Olivia Wilde
What began as an exciting sophomore directorial effort from a well-known actress-turned-filmmaker has transformed into a nightmare. Ever since it was reported that Wilde began dating her leading man, Harry Styles, during filming and in the wake of her split from Jason Sudeikis months prior, it started going downhill. (In a new interview with Vanity Fair, she called rumors that she had cheated on Sudeikis “complete horseshit.)
She has endured it all: She has faced misogynistic abuse from Styles’s fans for dating him and people picking sides in her clash with Pugh. She was served custody papers onstage during CinemaCon, and her movie has been receiving terrible reviews from critics who had high expectations (it currently sits at a 42 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). Say what you will about her, but Wilde has without a doubt taken by far the biggest hit of this chaotic mess.
Don’t Worry Darling’s production and press are the ultimate PR nightmare, and it somehow keeps getting even more intricately worse. While we entertain ourselves with this drama, let’s be sure to take a moment of silence for every publicist involved in attempting to clean up this massive on-going mess.
12. Harry Styles Stans
Crossing the Harry Styles fanbase is like asking for a death sentence. They have strong negative feelings about almost every woman the pop star has been romantically linked with, and the majority of them have been sending extremely wicked energy toward Wilde.
His fans have fed the fire with conspiracy theories, crafting intricate,likely false stories, like one about Pugh apparently directing DWD herself because Wilde was “too busy with Styles.” They have spent the past two years in the trenches fighting for their lives over the British star, to the extent that they’ve disregarded his infamous “Treat People with Kindness” motto in favor of bullying Wilde for existing.
11. Harry Styles
DWD’s leading man has been good at avoiding and ignoring all chaos, posing for the cameras before returning to his private life (which is so private that he refuses to be publicly associated with his girlfriend). His leading actor debut hasn’t proven to be very strong, with a clip of his highly questionable acting going viral and reviews almost unanimously agreeing that he can’t match the talents of his counterpart.
At Venice, it appears as though he was unable to string together any coherent responses to questions he was asked, famously telling an interviewer, “My favorite part about the movie is that it feels like a movie.” He also managed to make little-to-no eye contact with and avoided being near Wilde and Pugh all throughout. Here’s the cherry on top: for a good few hours on the evening of Sept. 5, everyone on the internet chose to believe that he spit on Chris Pine (he later joked about it during his Madison Square Garden residency on Wednesday night), and it genuinely can’t get any better than that.
10. Shia LaBeouf
The story of Shia LaBeouf’s departure from being DWD’s initial leading man has been twisted and interpreted several times The original reasoning cited scheduling conflicts, before reports came out that he was fired due to poor on-set behavior, prior to FKA Twigs’ abuse allegations and lawsuit in 2021. His most recent claim is that he quit the film due to a lack of rehearsal time.
Trying to clear his name in relation to DWD, he provided Variety with video evidence supporting his side of the story. The video, in which Wilde refers to Florence Pugh as “Miss Flo,” showed that Wilde had asked him to stay onboard and work things out and appeared to blame Pugh for the drama. While Wilde may have been in the wrong, it shouldn’t change the fact that LaBeouf is an actor with a long history of abuse allegations.
9. Jason Sudeikis
Olivia Wilde’s former partner of nine years and father of her children doesn’t come out of this debacle as squeaky clean as he probably thinks he has. Custody papers were served on his behalf while she was onstage presenting DWD to thousands of industry executives—hardly a gracious or mature thing to do. (He has denied that he orchestrated the stunt.) But he’s likely somewhere out there enjoying watching this all go down as he awaits Ted Lasso’s Emmy sweep, so it could’ve been worse for him.
8. Makeup, Hair, and Fashion Stylists
Who would’ve thought the drama would start to involve the celebrities’ glam squads? It all began when Pugh’s stylist, Rebecca Corbin-Murray, posted some dazzling pictures of the actress with the shady caption “Miss Flo.” Then Wilde’s stylist, Karla Welch, chimed in with a vague Instagram story post saying there was “more to the story.” The plot thickened with a photo of Pugh’s glam squad sporting “Miss Flo” T-shirts. Is it a little petty? Sure, but it’s funny as hell.
7. Florence Pugh
It has long been reported that Hollywood darling Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde had a falling out at one point during the production of the film, beginning with the rumor that Pugh was unhappy with Wilde’s romance with Styles. (Wilde has denied that a falling out occurred.) The actress has distanced herself from the film in the lead-up to the Venice Film Festival.
After Pugh skipped DWD’s press conference reportedly due to Dune: Part 2 filming obligations, she arrived totally unbothered just mere minutes after the conference ended, with an Aperol spritz in hand and a wide smile on her face. Pugh walked the red carpet premiere that same night but kept her distance from Styles and Wilde, making it crystal clear that something was definitely going on. Miss Flo won’t be doing any additional promotion for the film, and she has an army of stans ready to fight for her, so she has rightfully earned a place near the top.
6. Chris Pine
Up until the Venice Film Festival came around, Chris Pine was cruising through the film’s drama, up to the point where most people didn’t even realize he was in it. He found himself caught in the crossfire during the film’s 12 hours of glory at the festival, starting with the press conference, during which he looked completely zoned out (thanks for the memes, king). Then, he got paired up with Styles for an interview that captures Pine astral projecting while his co-star says a whole lot of nothing.
This brings us to what is perhaps the greatest installment of the drama: #SpitGate.
When a video of Pine awkwardly clapping and looking down as Styles takes his seat inside the theater first landed on our radars, nobody gave it too much thought. Then, it all escalated when people began to hyper-analyze it and speculate that, perhaps, Styles, whose lips seemed to purse as he was angled toward Pine, spit on the actor.
Many people, including my mother, genuinely believed this theory—it’s a delicious one, especially as internet sleuths found videos from multiple angles—but publicists were quick to clear it up. Obviously, Styles didn’t spit on Pine, but it’s a damn good thing to have a laugh about. Pine has certainly emerged as the hero of this entire situation; if this won’t convince you he’s the best Chris, then I don’t know what will.
5. Gemma Chan
Like most of the supporting cast, Gemma Chan has been overshadowed by the drama and the people at the center of it, so much so that she was barely asked a single question at Venice’s press conference. She and Pine practically buddied up during the event and took on the roles of keeping the peace by standing and sitting in between Wilde, Styles, and Pugh on the red carpet as if they were parents separating their kids from fighting each other. I’d do anything to know what thoughts were swirling around in her mind throughout.
4. Nick Kroll
One of the last people you’d likely expect to be in DWD is the man behind Big Mouth, Nick Kroll He skipped the press conference at Venice and made a surprise appearance at the festival’s premiere, during which he smooched Harry Styles during the brief standing ovation, so he’s clearly coming out of this a champ. Kroll will probably do a couple more press appearances for DWD, but he’ll ultimately emerge unscathed.
3. Dakota Johnson
Once upon a time, Dakota Johnson was originally part of DWD’s ensemble, back when her pal Shia LaBeouf was still onboard. She made the right decision when she dropped out to star in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, which went on to earn multiple Oscar nominations. To say that Johnson dodged a major bullet is an understatement.
2. Chronically Online People
Those of us addicted to Twitter, or any other form of social media, are all pretty much aware of every single detail regarding DWD at this point. It’s nearly impossible to avoid getting sucked into it regardless of whether or not you know what the movie itself is about. It’s been mostly entertaining as hell, and it’s rare for celebrity drama of this caliber to exist nowadays, so we’re eating it all up.
The celeb feuds that do occur tend to have a shelf life of 3 days to a week before we collectively move onto the next juicy topic (we have DeuxMoi to partially thank for this), so this low-stakes conflict is a glorious reward to the terminally online, pop culture-obsessed individuals who spend far too much time on their phones.
1. Kate Berlant and Kiki Layne
There’s a 90 percent chance you had no idea comedy queen Kate Berlant had a supporting role in the film, and we can’t blame you. While other members of the ensemble have made it known that they’re in DWD, Berlant has been far too busy being too cool and funny in her one-woman show, Kate, off-Broadway. As the audience enters the theater, she sits on a bench in the lobby wearing a sign that says “Ignore Me,” and that’s the exact energy she’s bringing to DWD’s press. Berlant is much better off not being involved, but we also desperately need to hear her take on everything that has gone down.
As for Kiki Layne, we don’t know what she’s been up to (booked and busy with good quality roles, one can hope), but she’s definitely making the right decision by not participating in the press tour either. Layne and Berlant got their checks and went on their merry way, which makes them the real winners of it all.