Olivia Wilde is moving her career behind the camera, but this photo is a testament that she’s still very comfortable in front of it. She’s modeling through a LOT of hoo-ha and her eyes are still drilling into me. That’s not easy, even if I do wish someone had taken a second to brush her hair.

It’s very interesting to me that Variety’s press release and headline helpfully focus more on Olivia’s professional accomplishments and the talent of her cast, but that the piece itself kicks off with orgasms and the URL is “olivia-wilde-harry-styles-sex-scenes-dont-worry-darling.” They know what the people are Googling, so might as well get those hits. (That’s not a criticism. They are a business, and right now business is rough.) But the piece itself eventually ranges much further than that, covering how Olivia chose Don’t Worry Darling after the critical success of Booksmart; how she picked the winner of that famous 18-studio bidding war; how she hired and fired Shia LaBeouf, which she handles with admirable delicacy, though I found myself wishing she’d go nuclear and say, “It was a bad gamble, I regret it, he’s the worst, and I wanted to punt him into the sun.” Anyway, what I’m saying is, there’s plenty of meat on this bone.

But of course, there’s also the rest. I don’t envy Olivia Wilde’s task in promoting Don’t Worry Darling, because there are so many side stories that threaten to overshadow the film itself. Her relationship with Harry Styles casts an unavoidable shadow because they met on the film, and she has to dance around the fan harassment she’s experiencing, plus those rumors (or fictions) that Florence Pugh doesn’t like her or the film itself or both (which may not be helped by Pugh’s rep declining comment for this piece, citing Flo filming Dune II, but… I mean, these women are both professionals, so even if the rumors are true, they’re gonna crush them at all their joint public apperances). She’ll also have to start swimming upstream against the temptation to reduce the movie just to Harry Styles, er, dining out on Florence on-camera. It helps for buzz, but after a minute you don’t want that to be the only thing people discuss; you want them to talk about you and your actors and how great you all are. That’s all thorny enough, without also having to talk about that time your ex’s process server handed you custody papers on stage in Las Vegas while you were presenting your movie’s first clip. Truly, I have no idea what to make of that whole situation, except that it sucked for literally everyone. And with this shot fired, it’s possible that will end up being the dominant part of the discourse until the movie premieres in Venice:

“In any other workplace, it would be seen as an attack. It was really upsetting. It shouldn’t have been able to happen. There was a huge breach in security, which is really scary. The hurdles that you had to jump through to get into that room with several badges, plus special COVID tests that had to be taken days in advance, which gave you wristbands that were necessary to gain access to the event — this was something that required forethought.”

CinemaCon was supposed to be a professional milestone for Wilde, who was about to screen footage from her movie. She didn’t miss a beat when she was interrupted by the mysterious envelope — she just carried on with her presentation. “I hated that this nastiness distracted from the work of so many different people and the studio that I was up there representing,” she says. “To try to sabotage that was really vicious. But I had a job to do; I’m not easily distracted.” She adds, “But, you know, sadly, it was not something that was entirely surprising to me. I mean, there’s a reason I left that relationship.”

Hoo boy! I’ve heard some people in that profession swear up and down that it’s absolutely possible Sudeikis simply gave the process servers parameters for when not to serve her, and they did the rest when they couldn’t pin her down elsewhere; I’ve also heard people say with certainty that there’s no way he didn’t have foreknowledge of the plan. I of course don’t know, but it hangs on him either way, which is karma if he planned it and very unfortunate if he didn’t. For the two cents it might be worth, my instinct is… we all contain multitudes, so it’s very possible Jason Sudeikis contains the thoughtful Ted Lasso parts we like AND a part that’s a total asshat. He can be many things, and maybe several or even the majority of them aren’t good. But one thing he does NOT strike me as is stupid. And wouldn’t you have to be, not to see the blowback on that one coming? I don’t intend that as taking his side. But sincerely, wouldn’t you have to be an utter moron not to see the many, many ways it was a cruddy idea with respect to your kids, much less yourself and your reputation? I can’t get past that. IS Jason Sudeikis that stupid?!? For his kids’ sake, I hope he was as surprised as everyone else. But she certainly is implying — not even implying, really, it’s pretty clear — that he was 100 percent aware. If that’s the case… woof, dude. Yikes on alllll of the bikes.

Oh, look, I just fell into one of the PR potholes myself. So let’s climb out of it with an unrelated quote that gave me a good laugh. Wilde talks in the piece about how female directors still aren’t given the same chances as their male counterparts, and have much shorter leashes. There is data in the piece about how few actresses have made the leap, and how women generally don’t get $100 million budgets for their movies, with a couple notable and only recent exceptions. As part of that, the writer notes that Nancy Meyers, whose films have made a billion dollars worldwide, still hasn’t been given that kind of stroke. Which led to:

“Could you imagine the production design of a $100 million Nancy Meyers movie?” Wilde ponders over another cup of tea. “Imagine the kitchen!”


[Photo: Zoe McConnell for Variety]
Tags: Variety