Pretty sure I don’t have to recap for you how messy the Don’t Worry Darling promotional tour has been. It was messy even before the tour started, with online speculation building over months about whether or not Florence Pugh was over Olivia Wilde, Darling, and refusing to support the film. And then of course Shia LaBeouf crashed the party, which preceded the craziness in Venice with the Phantom Spit, and Miss Flo showing up late for five minutes before peacing out to work on another movie.
Olivia is in the middle of all this. And this is some heat. But she can’t peace out because she’s the director, and she’s a producer on the film, and she’s part of the cast too. This is her work. She has spent years on this project – it’s not an option for her to run away and hide from the headlines. So last night she showed up on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for a three-segment interview, and did not run from the questions.
Colbert went there with her. He asked her about Shia, he asked her about Florence, and he asked her about the Phantom Spit. And if her appearance on the show was a performance – of course it was a performance, she was there to perform the task of convincing people her movie isn’t a sh-tshow and that they should go see it – she, in my opinion, killed it. She showed her work.
With the Shia situation, she basically said that there was a lot of context missing from the texts and the video that was released and that, in the end, as a director, she was trying to “mediate” a situation between two actors and when that didn’t work, she chose one actor over another. Everything else, all the other interpretations of it, she says, is just semantics.
Whether or you buy this explanation or not is up to you. But I can tell you that are people out there who will buy it, she’s appealing to them, to women who’ve been in leadership positions who’ve had to finesse a compromise between two individuals on opposing sides. And with Colbert, she managed to explain this without trashing the side she eventually abandoned and without sounding defensive.
And that’s the delicate balance, right? Because she really was there to defend herself and her movie. And she has taken some hits, it would be easy to give into the temptation to come out firing and aggressive – but this wasn’t Olivia’s energy during Colbert’s interrogation. Not when she answered about Shia and not when she was asked about whether or not she’s feuding with Flo and not when she was talking about whether or not Harry Styles spat on Chris Pine. Even when she refers to how out of control the internet can be when it runs away with its own, she manages to pivot that back to what Don’t Worry Darling is about: the narratives we do or don’t choose to accept and or challenge. Which tells me that maybe she’s learned from a few weeks ago during her interviews when she was repeatedly falling back on blaming tabloid media.
That’s not to say that Olivia, through the entire Don’t Worry Darling journey, has done no wrong. No one is specifying exactly what went down on this set and it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever get a detailed play-by-play. All we know for sure is that the story has taken on a life of its own, and she’s emerged as one of the villains. She was already being harassed online by Harry Styles’s fans and all of this has only amplified that hate. So what I appreciate is that she meeting all this controversy face-first. She’s not tapping. She’s still showing up – she has no choice but to show up because she’s fighting for her career.
And that’s where she and Colbert end up in this interview. She’s a female director in an industry where female directors don’t get many opportunities and male directors get all the opportunities, including the opportunities to f-ck up over and over again. Colbert cites Hitchcock as an example who was notorious for how abusive he was to the actors, and is still held up as a genius. Colbert is the one who points out that whatever Olivia did or didn’t do is NOTHING compared to Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick or David O Russell. But there is a very big risk of her experiencing a major directorial setback because of how this Don’t Worry Darling situation is unfolding.
This post is titled “Olivia Wilde takes the stand” and in a way, being on Colbert did feel like she was giving testimony in her own defence, willingly. But should she even be on the stand?
The aforementioned David O Russell is currently promoting a film right now called Amsterdam with an all-star cast that includes Christian Bale, John David Washington, Margot Robbie, and Rami Malek, among others. Sarah recently wrote about David O Russell’s f-cksh-t. And Gawker published a recap of all the times he was a piece of sh-t on and off the set of his movies. NOBODY is talking about that to him right now. And if they did, I have a hard time believing he could handle it as well as Olivia. So Olivia and Colbert aren’t wrong when they finish off their conversation by pointing out the inequality.