ELLE Magazine has released their annual Women in Hollywood issue, with eight different covers featuring eight women who have made an impact in the industry this year. Among them are Michelle Yeoh, Sigourney Weaver, Issa Rae, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez, Ariana DeBose, Zoë Kravitz, and Olivia Wilde.
During her interview with the magazine, Olivia addresses all the controversy over Don’t Worry Darling, focusing on the media’s preoccupation on her relationships with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, on all the gossip off-screen, and on the unfair expectations that women in the spotlight have to contend with that their male counterparts don’t.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says and in particular how she frames certain situations – particularly her go-to approach which is basically “the tabloids did me dirty” – because there were a lot of unforced errors around the Don’t Worry Darling marketing strategy and press tour that came not from the tabloids and social media but by the actors themselves. People weren’t imagining Florence’s distance from the film and from Olivia, especially not in comparison with how she promoted and engaged with other films she’s been a part of.
That said, even though Olivia has made mistakes and may not have handled the sh-tstorm perfectly, I do appreciate that she at least didn’t run from it. She kept her commitments and she fought for her film, because there was so much on the line – more on the line for her than there would have been for a male director. We all know what happens to female directors when their films don’t perform to expectations.
And here is where I want to make the comparison with David O. Russell, again. Because he was pretty much invisible from the promotion for Amsterdam which has now opened and is an official box office bomb. Amsterdam’s reported production budget was $80 million and when you add marketing on top of that, you’re looking at a number well in excess of $100. This week THR reported that the film is looking at a loss of around $80-100 million. Amsterdam featured a star-studded cast. So did Don’t Worry Darling. But DWD was made for much less, around $35 million. DWD opened in #1 spot on its first weekend, so it pretty made back its budget and even though it definitely declined in subsequent weeks at the box office, right now it’s sitting at $70 million which means it can be called a success, not a big success, but it’s sits in the gain column, that’s a win for adult-themed dramas in this marketplace.
If Don’t Worry Darling imploded at the box office, though, the way Amsterdam did, Olivia for sure would have worn it and her future projects could have been in jeopardy. Will David O. Russell wear the losses of Amsterdam? He had a sh-tty reputation even before this film, with actors like Amy Adams talking about how abusive he was to her on set when they were shooting American Hustle. And Christian Bale just talked about it in GQ this month! Christian’s comments on the situation basically amounted to “yeah, David is a dick and Amy didn’t deserve how he treated to her but… hey… look at the end result! This is what you have to endure to get good art!”
But is it?
Well… yeah, according to so many of these artists who’ve condoned sh-tty men and their f-cksh-t since the beginning of time. As The Mary Sue pointed out, despite David O. Russell’s reputation, so many actors still want to work with him – like Christian and Margot Robbie and John David Washington, the film’s three leads, to say nothing of the rest of the ensemble.
So what impact will Amsterdam have on David O. Russell’s career? Will actors still want to be in his movies? Yes.
If that’s the case then, should actors still want to be in Olivia Wilde’s movies? YES. Because there’s a much greater chance that Olivia has learned from her mistakes on Don’t Worry Darling than David O. Russell, who has never been compelled to learn from his.
Here’s Olivia in LA yesterday wearing a “Pleasing” crewneck which, of course, is Harry Styles’s nail polish brand. Just in case there was any doubt about the status of their relationship.