Who knew someone not even in Olivia Wilde’s movie would take up so much time and energy during her Don’t Worry Darling press tour?!
As the director has been promoting her new psychological thriller, she’s been faced with an onslaught of harsh headlines to navigate her way through. First, there’s the drama with her leading lady Florence Pugh. Then there was the s**t show of a premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this week, including rumors she may have already broken up with her boyfriend Harry Styles. And, now, she’s yet again addressing why she cut ties with Shia LaBeouf, who was initially cast instead of Harry.
As we’ve already reported, for the August cover story of Variety, the Booksmart filmmaker claimed she fired Shia for his “combative energy” on set, saying she needed to do everything in her power to create a “safe” environment for her cast and crew. Shia quickly clapped back — with receipts! In text and video shared with the outlet, the Even Stevens alum argued it was he who decided to leave the film, supposedly because the actors weren’t given enough time to rehearse. He also included a video of Olivia begging him to return, pretty much proving his point.
So, what does she have to say for herself?? In a new interview with Vanity Fair out on Thursday, Olivia tried to put the fracas into context:
“This issue is so much more nuanced than can be explained in private texts released out of context. All I’ll say is he was replaced, and there was no going forward with him. I wish him the best in his recovery.”
Olivia went on to insist she called him on the phone and fired him, saying:
“My responsibility was towards [Florence]. I’m like a mother wolf. Making the call was tricky, but in a way he understood. I don’t think it would’ve been a process he enjoyed. He comes at his work with an intensity that can be combative. It wasn’t the ethos that I demand in my productions. I want him to get well and to evolve because I think it’s a great loss to the film industry when someone that talented is unable to work.”
As a reminder, Shia was accused of abuse and sexual battery a few months after he left the film.
VF did a little reporting about the whole situation, too. A source told the mag LaBeouf really was unhappy with the limited amount of rehearsal time available to him and Pugh. In turn, the Little Woman actress was said to be uncomfortable with his intensity on set. Other rumors have suggested Florence felt the entire timeline with casting and rehearsals was wrong — though this VF piece doesn’t address those suppositions.
Ultimately, Shia supposedly gave an ultimatum to Olivia: keep him around or pick “Miss Flo” instead. Olivia chose Florence, and then reportedly allowed Shia to believe what he wanted about the choice — that he was quitting instead of getting canned. Thus, causing all this confusion. So says the source, at least. But what about the receipts LaBeouf brought later?? Hmmm…
By the time Jason Sudeikis’ ex-wife recast the leading role with the former One Direction star, the rest was history. Olivia explained her thought process in picking Harry out of the crowd:
“My thing with Harry was that I knew he was fearless. I’d rather work with a non-actor who’s fearless than a trained actor who is full of hang-ups and baggage and judgment. What I love about working with singers and dancers is they commit 100 percent because, as a dancer, if you don’t commit 100 percent, you get hurt. With singers, it’s the same. If they sing at 30 percent, that song doesn’t work. I think actors sometimes think they can get away with 30 percent.”
Makes sense. Seems like she was looking for someone super committed to the job and willing to listen to her direction, something she maybe wasn’t getting with her ex-leading man… Simply put: this drama is still complicated AF! Whose side of this unexpected feud are you on? Do you think Olivia’s statement makes up for her video to Shia?? Will he clap back again?? Sound OFF with your theories (below)!