Olivia Wilde: ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Wage Gap Rumors and Florence Pugh Feud Are ‘Invented Clickbait’

Olivia Wilde: ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Wage Gap Rumors and Florence Pugh Feud Are ‘Invented Clickbait’

Olivia Wilde says “don’t pay attention” to any rumors swirling around the “Don’t Worry Darling” set.

The highly publicized production of “Don’t Worry Darling” starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a couple caught up in a suburban conspiracy has been the subject of wagging tongues for months.

Not only did director Olivia Wilde fire Shia LaBeouf prior to FKA Twigs’ sexual abuse claims against him, but replacement actor Styles and Wilde are now romantically linked. A rumored rift between Pugh and Wilde on-set has also been fueling the idea of a “Don’t Worry Darling” feud, with Pugh seeming to disagree with Wilde on the film’s message on female sexuality.

And don’t forget, there’s also the long-standing rumor that international pop star Styles was paid over three times more than Oscar nominee Pugh. Website Showbiz Galore originally reported that Pugh was paid $700,000 for the film, while Styles made $2.5 million. There were no sources cited, and Warner Bros. did not comment on their salaries.

But Wilde dispelled all unbecoming rumors in a recent cover story in Variety. In fact, Pugh was always Wilde’s first choice to play Alice, one half of the couple at the heart of the film. That is, after Wilde passed on the role herself to skew younger for the lead.

Wilde first saw Pugh in Ari Aster’s “Midsommar,” which debuted in 2019.

“I had been blown the fuck away by her,” Wilde gushed. “I loved the film, but I loved her. I was just like, ‘Well, she’s extraordinary. She’s clearly the most exciting young actress working today.’”

As for the salary claims, Wilde denied the wage gap.

“There has been a lot out there that I largely don’t pay attention to,” the “Booksmart” director said. “But the absurdity of invented clickbait and subsequent reaction regarding a nonexistent pay disparity between our lead and supporting actors really upset me. I’m a woman who has been in this business for over 20 years, and it’s something that I have fought for myself and others, especially being a director. There is absolutely no validity to those claims.”

Wilde continued, “The whole culture of celebrity gossip is interesting as a distracting tool to numb people from the greater pains of the world. Escapism is really a very human quality, searching for something to anesthetize the painful reality of so many people’s lives. I don’t blame people for seeking escapism, but I think the tabloid media is a tool to pit women against one another and to shame them.”

Wilde feels we’re all complicit in the collective takedown of women, especially in terms of criticizing female creatives and filmmakers and pitting them against each other.

“Listen, I’m not asking for any sort of pity. My life is extraordinary. I’m thrilled with my life,” Wilde said. “But I do wish, for the betterment of society in general, that we would all disengage from a cycle of bullying and hatred. We’ve just lost empathy, and we just don’t give people the benefit of the doubt — specifically women. We just assume the worst from women, and I don’t know why.”

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