Olivia Wilde fired Shia LeBouf because she wanted a safe, trusting environment
Olivia Wilde covers the latest issue of Variety, as we discussed yesterday. The piece was full of melodrama, shade, weird framing and gossip. I didn’t even excerpt any of the stuff about Shia LaBeouf, so let’s devote a post to that mess. When Wilde was putting Don’t Worry Darling together, Shia was one of the first actors she hired after Florence Pugh. She hired Shia for the main husband, the role played by Harry Styles now. She ended up firing Shia, at least according to her, in pre-production and hiring Harry Styles last minute. Then the FKA Twigs lawsuit/abuse story broke and it all looked connected. Here’s what Olivia said about it to Variety:
With her key actor in place, Wilde teamed up with Pugh to find their Jack. Wilde liked Styles’ work in “Dunkirk,” and had heard from producers on the film that the musician was “an absolute dream, and went above and beyond in terms of being prepared.” Pugh was also enthusiastic about the idea of Styles joining the film, Wilde says — but he was touring and unavailable. Eventually, Shia LaBeouf landed the part.
But in 2020, as production was just starting, Wilde made the decision to fire LaBeouf. The studio cited a scheduling conflict. Now, for the first time, Wilde speaks about the situation: “I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work. His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.”
A few months after LaBeouf’s exit from “Don’t Worry Darling,” his ex-girlfriend and “Honey Boy” co-star, FKA Twigs, sued him for sexual battery. (The lawsuit goes to trial in April.) The next month, LaBeouf split from his agency, CAA, and entered an inpatient facility.
“A lot came to light after this happened that really troubled me, in terms of his behavior,” Wilde says. “I find myself just really wishing him health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice. But for our film, what we really needed was an energy that was incredibly supportive. Particularly with a movie like this, I knew that I was going to be asking Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was making her feel safe and making her feel supported.”
Apparently, Shia is currently disputing some of this version now. I absolutely believe that Olivia habitually frames situations so that she’s both the heroine and the victim, so I could see her fudging some of this story. But I think the broad strokes are correct – there was something “off” about Shia and the vibe was wrong. He has always been a Method actor and he has a reputation as a giant douche as a coworker, even beyond FKA Twigs’ #MeToo story.
Now, all that being said, I don’t think Harry Styles is really going to get it done in this role. It’s funny that the Variety piece was all “there’s Oscar buzz” and Olivia is all “Harry is amazing, he’s a true actor!” The movie hasn’t even premiered in Venice yet. And I have serious doubts about how the critics will respond. This is one of the clips which was just released this week. It’s… so bad. It’s not just Harry’s completely dodgy accent work, it’s Florence’s bored line reading when it’s time for Harry’s closeup. A big YIKES.
— Don’t Worry Darling (@dontworrydarlin) August 24, 2022
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, ‘Don’t Worry Darling’.
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