At this point, the mythology surrounding Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” looms larger in pop culture than the film itself ever will. The daily influx of news about infighting between Wilde and her stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles has resulted in endless gossip, memes, and even an intense debate about whether or not Styles spit on fellow cast mate Chris Pine. (He didn’t, but the fact that fans were even asking should tell you something.)
Many theorize the highly publicized drama is a result of friction between Wilde and Pugh that began on set, with Wilde’s attempts to cast Shia LaBeouf and subsequent relationship with Styles cited as potential catalysts. But Matthew Libatique, the film’s director of photography, sees things differently.
In a new appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Behind the Screen” podcast, Libatique denied witnessing any tension between cast and crew while shooting the psychological thriller. The longtime cinematographer knows a thing or two about film sets, having previously worked Darren Aronofsky and Bradley Cooper among other accomplished filmmakers. Libatique claims that Wilde’s shoot was mainly notable for how smoothly it went.
“This was probably the most harmonious set I’ve ever been on,” said Libatique. “Olivia built a team that believed in her and she believed in each and every body on the set. When I hear that there are rumors of acrimony on the set, I reject it. It wasn’t apparent at all.”
The two-time Oscar nominee doesn’t deny that the film’s press tour has come with its fair share of problems, but he believes that those issues did not begin until after filming was complete.
“Whatever happened, it happened way after I left and started doing something else,” he said. “I was never witness to anything and I didn’t feel anything. You know, you get a feeling that there might be something going on, and I didn’t feel anything.”
Still, despite the film’s negative reviews and the fallout that it created, Libatique remains bullish on Wilde’s directing career.
“She’s extremely visual and open, and likes to take many chances,” he said. “She could do anything.”
Warner Bros. will release “Don’t Worry Darling” in theaters on Friday, September 23.