Olivia Wilde has taken the time to further address the swirl of rumors of off-screen drama around her new release “Don’t Worry Darling,” touching on a popular internet theory that her leading man, Harry Styles, spit on his co-star , Chris Pine, during the Venice Film Festival premiere for the thriller.
“Harry did not spit on Chris, in fact,” Wilde told Stephen Colbert in a clip from Wednesday’s episode of “The Late Show,” released online a few hours before the full interview broadcasts on CBS.
The late-night host joshes the director a little bit, responding with a hurried whisper: “Only time will tell. We shall see.” The interaction brought Wilde into a laughing fit.
“I think it’s a perfect example of, like, people will look for drama anywhere that they can,” the director said, explaining her interpretation of the rumor’s popularity.
In the full conversation, Wilde acknowledged the negative online chatter around the film.
“The whole experience has sort of changed my way of thinking about the internet,” Wilde said. “But, really, it’s kind of ironic, because all of this is really what the film’s about. The film is about the narratives we are fed and whether we choose to accept them or question their sources.”
Wilde also touched on allegations made by Shia LaBeouf that he was not fired from “Don’t Worry Darling.” The actor, who was later replaced by Styles, released screenshots of text conversations between himself and the filmmaker, alleging that he chose to leave the production due to a lack of rehearsal time.
“Early on in the process of making the film, as the director, I tried to mediate a situation between people to try to see if they could work together happily,” Wilde said. “Once it became clear that it was not a tenable working relationship, I was given an ultimatum. I chose my actress — which I’m very happy I did. At the time, was I bummed that we weren’t able to make it work? Yes. Did information about him come to light later that made me confident we made the right decision? Yes.”
“We had to replace Shia,” Wilde continued when Colbert asked if she fired Shia LaBeouf. “When he gave the ultimatum — him or Florence — I chose Florence.”
A representative for Pine was quick to deny that the actor was spit on by Styles following the film’s Sept. 5 premiere, calling the narrative “a ridiculous story” and “a complete fabrication.”
Styles later jokingly acknowledged the rumor during a concert at Madison Square Garden, two days after the hypothesized incident: “It’s wonderful, wonderful, wonderful to be back in New York. I just popped very quickly to Venice to spit on Chris Pine. But fret not, we’re back!”
The supposed salivation scuttlebutt is only one off-screen narrative that has dogged “Don’t Worry Darling” over recent weeks. Star Florence Pugh and Wilde did not pose together on the Venice red carpet, fanning the flames of rumors that the two had a falling out during production on the film.
“Florence is a force,” Wilde said at the film’s Venice press conference when asked to “clear the air” about the online discussion. “As for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, the Internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute; I think it’s sufficiently well-nourished.”
Warner Bros. will open “Don’t Worry Darling” in theaters Friday.