Noted Gender Theorist Olivia Wilde Puts Worries to Rest on Colbert

Finally, the ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ press tour is boring

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Olivia Wilde is seen in Midtown on September 21, 2022 in New York...
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kate berlant innocent

Did you catch Don’t Worry Darling director Olivia Wilde on Colbert last night? Literally “don’t worry, darling” if you didn’t. Despite the high drama of the movie’s press tour, it was pretty boring.

In a profoundly unfunny and overly long interview, Wilde cleared up a number of points of gossip about her sophomore film out tonight — whether Shia LaBeouf was fired or quit (it’s complicated), if Harry Styles really did spit on Chris Pine (no), if she and Florence Pugh are in a feud (no one would ask a male director that — aka, yes).

Wilde really leaned into the sexism of it all, pointing out that male directors have long been much more monstrous than female directors who may or may not beef with their leads or make the decision to let someone go. She is right: she is not Hitchcock. But it is the job of the director to lead a harmonious workplace, and if chaos breaks out, well, it’s not not on the director also. There are many bad bosses that are women. Just look at, like, Glossier.

Above it all, Wilde has kind of managed to spin whatever happened on the Don’t Worry Darling set as actually what the movie Don’t Worry Darling is about, which is that everything looks perfect, but underneath the surface there’s tension. Right? Or that it’s about a woman speaking up against a system that seeks to oppress her. Is Olivia Wilde Florence Pugh’s character in all this? Is she Chris Pine? It’s been hard to know what she’s talking about whenever she redirects attention towards the movie, because most people haven’t seen it. The most refreshing thing anyone could have done at any point during this press cycle would just be like, “haha, it was a mess!” Who can relate!

The mannered “nevertheless, she persisted” tone of it all suggests that things were not fine, very stressful, and perhaps Wilde’s creative future is more at stake than it was a month ago. Don’t Worry Darling is hovering around 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but so did Steven Spielberg’s early film 1941 and also the 2007 remake of Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid. But both Spielberg and the Farrelly Brothers managed to bounce back and win Oscars, so there’s hope for Olivia Wilde yet.