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Olivia Wilde Debunks Florence Pugh ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Pay Disparity and Feud Rumors

Florence Pugh looking terrified in Don't Worry Darling

Don’t Worry Darling is the latest psychological thriller from director Olivia Wilde. Set in the 1950s, the film features a housewife named Alice (Florence Pugh) struggling with the changes in her life as her husband Jack (Harry Styles) seems to be involved in this new community that feels like a cult (run by Chris Pine). But one of the more troubling bits of news recently was that the star of the film, Florence Pugh, was only paid $700,000 for her role, to Harry Styles’ $2.5 million pay day. Now though, Wilde is saying that there’s no truth to the story.

In an interview with Variety, Wilde clarified in an email that Harry Styles was not paid more than lead actress Florence Pugh, despite what the site Showbiz Galore posted. It got around enough that many were questioning why Styles, who has significantly less credits to his name and is not the lead of the film, was paid so much more than the star and Oscar-nominee Florence Pugh. Wilde denied that being true.

“There has been a lot out there that I largely don’t pay attention to,” she wrote. “But the absurdity of invented clickbait and subsequent reaction regarding a nonexistent pay disparity between our lead and supporting actors really upset me. I’m a woman who has been in this business for over 20 years, and it’s something that I have fought for myself and others, especially being a director. There is absolutely no validity to those claims.”

What Variety does point out, though, is that neither Wilde nor Pugh commented on the supposed feud that is driving conversations on social media, and frankly, they’re right to ignore it. Wilde did make it seem a bit unlikely by praising Pugh and her work with Styles in Don’t Worry Darling, saying, “We were all brought so close by the bubble of the production. She was really a great supporter of his as someone who was newer to a film set. And he was such a great supporter of hers, as someone who understood it was her film.”

What is this “feud”?

The rumor started on TikTok when one user shared a “behind-the-scenes” story from another actor and reenacted it. The TikTok in question, told a story where a female director started up a relationship with her male lead, and by the end of the process, the female star was left directing the film. Those online ran with it and assumed it was talking about Don’t Worry Darling, and then further began looking at the posting habits of Florence Pugh in relation to this movie, and it has spiraled into an internet-wide conspiracy theory about what happened on set and how Pugh feels about the movie.

What the feud is doing is erasing the actual feelings and work of women to talk about what people think went down. It’s … frustrating, not only because we don’t know what actually happened but because we rarely get this sort of fodder from male-dominated projects, even for people who have a track record of being hectic (at best) on sets. We see things come out after the movie is done, or we hear stories years later, but it’s not like this, and it just feels like even if there were truth to it, this is happening based on the fact that there are multiple women involved in the film, and people needing to pit them against each other.

I’m happy there was clarification on the pay gap because this movie has been, for the most part, billed as Florence Pugh’s film, and thinking that a male love interest was being paid more than the starring woman didn’t sit well with me. Florence Pugh deserves all the coin coming her way and more, so at least it seems this of a Hollywood pay gap case wasn’t true.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.