Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Don’t Worry, Darling: The Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde Movie Better Be Worth All the Public Feuds, Romances, and Rumors


The question now is, will we survive the hype for “Don’t Worry, Darling”?

Pop superstar Harry Styles and Florence Pugh star in what looks like a remake of “The Stepford Wives” directed by OIivia Wilde. The movie opens officially on September 23rd, but first premieres at the Venice Film Festival. It may also be shown at the Telluride Film Festival, but not in Toronto where Styles “serious” movie, “My Policeman,” is getting a big premiere.

The PR around “Don’t Worry, Darling” seems unabated at the moment. First of all, Styles is on the cover of Rolling Stone in a fairly fact-free piece that skirts many salient issues including Styles’ sexual orientation (he’s straight, but loves to leave the door open, very English), and his relationship with Wilde (are they really a couple?).

Then there’s Wilde, who has two children with “Ted Lasso” actor Jason Sudeikis. It seems as though she and Styles might have had an affair during the “Darling” shoot, which broke up her association with Sudeikis. A few months ago, during a public event, Sudeikis served Wilde with custody papers (I would hate to be those kids, but love to be their therapist). Wilde is talking about the process serving moment in the publicity for the movie, of course, because why not? (Wilde, PS, has some pedigree: she’s the daughter of well known writers Alexander and Leslie Cockburn. The latter even ran for Congress in 2018. Wild, no?)

Wait: there’s more. Pugh has talked about the sensationalizing of the movie’s sex scenes (which I’m told are not that hot). She’s also been rumored to be feuding with Wilde because she disapproved of the Wilde-Styles affair while they were all shooting the movie.

In other words, no one will stop talking even if they’re not saying anything. And it’s only August 25th! How will we make it another month?

Of course, all of this may be moot once “Don’t Worry, Darling” is shown at the Venice Film Festival. That should be on or around September 1st, a date fast approaching. The only problem there is, as with most festivals, Venice is a closed environment. There are standing ovations, a lot of swooning around stars, and not much reality in the reactions to films. The first thing you hear is, “Everyone loved it.”

Back in the real world, so to speak, “Don’t Worry, Darling” was screened this week in New York and L.A. for a very limited group of press. (Not me, “too soon” was the response I got.) From what I can tell, there was muted enthusiasm. A lot of the movie’s success will ride on the wild popularity of Styles, whose fans will crowd theaters opening weekend to see their idol. If they turn out for the movie the way they’ve come to his live shows, Warner Bros. will have a hit.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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