Olivia Wilde has made it clear she wants “no assholes” on the set of her movies, including her most recent directorial outing, “Don’t Worry Darling.” Reports emerged in September that Shia LaBeouf had been replaced by Harry Styles due to a scheduling conflict, when in reality Wilde had him fired due to poor behavior on the set. Wilde has opened up about that policy to fellow filmmaker Emerald Fennell, a recent Golden Globe nominee for Best Director for “Promising Young Woman,” in the latest entry of Variety’s “Directors on Directors” series.
“Someone, who’s a very established actor and director in this industry, gave me really terrible advice that was helpful, because I just knew I had to do the opposite,” Wilde said. “They said, ‘Listen, the way to get respect on a set, you have to have three arguments a day. Three big arguments that reinstate your power, remind everyone who’s in charge, be the predator.’ That is the opposite of my process. And I want none of that.”
Wilde continued, “I think that it is an unfortunate part of the kind of the paradigm, that has been created over the last 100 years, the idea that great art has to come from a place of discomfort and anxiety. That the pressure cooker has to get to a point where it can be something intense and valuable in that way. I do think it may be a uniquely female instinct to say, ‘Look, we can be nurturing. And we can multitask.’ It doesn’t mean that anyone needs to be uncomfortable. And it doesn’t mean that I have to constantly remind you of my my position, because I don’t think anyone on a set has ever forgotten who’s in charge. It’s in fact, an incredibly hierarchical system.”
Wilde, who previously directed “Booksmart” to major acclaim, added, “If anything, I think we’d all benefit to sort of remove the hero narrative from that structure, and to acknowledge that a director is a sum of all these parts, that we have the opportunity to delegate to all these incredible people that we’ve asked to come on board.”
“The no assholes policy, it puts everybody on the same level,” Wilde concluded. “I also noticed as an actress for years how the hierarchy of the set separated the actors from the crew in this very strange way that serves no one…I think actors would actually like to know more about what’s happening there when you’re pulling my focus? What is that lens change? But the idea of, don’t bother the actors and keep them separate, and don’t look at them. I think it makes everyone quite anxious.”
LaBeouf’s alleged firing from “Don’t Worry Darling” took place about three months before singer and actress FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against LaBeouf alleging sexual battery and abuse. The lawsuit accuses LaBeouf of violent attacks, including strangulation, and of knowingly giving FKA Twigs an STD. Wilde was one of several women in Hollywood to show support for FKA Twigs on social media.
Filming on “Don’t Worry Darling,” which is set in the 1950s and co-stars Florence Pugh and Chris Pine, has been off and on in Southern California due to the pandemic. The doesn’t yet have a release date.