Olivia Wilde has made herself into an up-and-coming director to watch after making a name for herself as an actress. The actor-turned-director has one award-winning comedy under her belt and is entering the revival of the erotic thriller this fall withDon’t Worry Darling.  

Wilde revealed to Maggie Gyllenhaal for Interview magazine that her less-than-ideal acting roles influenced her directing style today. 

After casually joking about making “5,000 times more shitty movies'' than Gyllenhaal, Wilde said, “But I’ve been in some really bad ones, and now I think, 'I did those to learn all the cautionary tales that would help me define myself as a director: how I will never speak to a crew, how I will never speak to actors, how I will never schedule a movie.' All of that comes from those bad experiences.”

Wilde made her big screen debut in 2004 with The Girl Next Door, and then landed the role of the bratty, bisexual bad girl on the influential teen drama The O.C. It was her role opposite actor-director Mark Duplass in the 2015 thriller, The Lazarus Effect, that had a lasting impact on Wilde’s career. 

“I remember making this tiny horror movie with Mark Duplass many years ago, and he was so understanding of this really terrible schedule that we had,” Wilde said. “The movie was very challenging for all these seemingly avoidable reasons, so I’d go back to the trailer and want to talk mad shit. And Mark said, ‘Until you direct a movie, you really can’t understand how difficult it is. Go direct, go produce, and then you’ll understand,’ and he was right.”

Although this is Wilde’s second directorial movie, the actress-director stepped into a supporting role in Don’t Worry Darling “out of necessity.” 

“We basically ran out of money and I needed someone who would take a really low salary, but I wanted it to be someone who understood the role,” Wilde said of casting herself. “It got to the point where it was down to the wire and our casting director was like, ‘Olivia, why don’t you just do it?’  The funny thing is, when I asked director friends how that experience would be, I just happened to ask a bunch of dudes, and they all said, ‘Oh, it’s so great.'”

Olivia Wilde on acting and directing in her second directorial film 'Don't Worry Darling'Olivia Wilde in 'Don't Worry Darling'Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Gyllenhaal, curious like we all are, asks what “dudes” told Wilde that the experience was great. Olivia revealed that Bradley Cooper was “a great supporter” of directing and starring in the same feature, which Cooper did for the Oscar-winningA Star is Born.

“But what I realized once I started was that all of these men had done this in comfortable shoes, and I swear part of it is that I was in a fucking bustier and heels and a wig,” Wilde said. 

Wilde wore a few different hats during the making of Don’t Worry Darling, and the recent scandals that seemingly came to light after Wilde’s and Gyllenhaal’s interview are revealing that Wilde might have been overwhelmed with the number of roles she took on. 

In July, Page Six, citing anonymous sources, reported that Don't Worry Darling lead actor Florence Pugh has had a falling out with Wilde, which kick-started gossip and speculation online. That has been fueled by Pugh severely limiting her promotional press for the film. Page Six published a report claiming that Pugh was unhappy about Wilde’s and Harry Styles’ relationship, which reportedly began on the set while Wilde was still in a relationship with then-fiancé Jason Sudeikis. 

Pugh has not spoken out about why she limited her appearance on the press tour, but The Wrap spoke to three executives on the film and discovered that Pugh has a scheduling conflict, choosing to be on set for Dune: Part Twoand Christopher Nolan’sOppenheimer instead of doing the press tour for Don’t Worry Darling. 

The unusual lack of participation in the promotion of the film by its lead actor suggests that Pugh was not commented on by Wilde during her profile for Variety. Instead, the director praised Pugh’s performance in the film, talking about the controversial moment in the trailer when Styles’ character performs oral sex on Pugh’s character. 

Olivia Wilde on acting and directing in her film 'Don't Worry Darling''Don't Worry Darling'Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Female pleasure, the best versions of it that you see nowadays, are in queer films. Why are we more comfortable with female pleasure when it’s two women on film?” Wilde asks. “In hetero sex scenes in film, the focus on men as the recipients of pleasure is almost ubiquitous.”

Pugh expressed her frustration over the reception of the movie’s trailer, criticizing viewers for reducing the entire film to one sex scene.

“When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry,” Pugh said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”

Wilde has faced criticism for the controversy that is surrounding the film’s production, mainly for dating the star of her own movie—something male directors have done for decades without the repercussions that Wilde is facing. 

Remember when everyone wanted Cooper to break up with his partner so he would date his A Star is Born co-star Lady Gaga? While some were uncomfortable with the pairing, no one outwardly criticized Cooper for his actions, and most of the anger was targeted at Lady Gaga for breaking “girl code.” 

Olivia Wilde on directing 'Don't Worry Darling'Olivia Wilde on the set of 'Don't Worry Darling'Credit: Courtesy of Olivia Wilde

Whatever happened between Wilde and Pugh is likely going to stay between them, and the same goes for Wilde’s relationship with her current and former partners.

What we can focus on is Wilde’s work as a director, and her ability to trust herself in the roles she takes on.

“In a way, you’re proving yourself at several different stages, and I found that because it was working well, they were giving me a lot of leeway and trust,” Wilde told Gyllenhall. “If my instincts weren’t panning out, I would’ve had to go against my instincts to try to fit what they needed, which would’ve been hard.”

Don’t Worry Darling premieres on Sept. 5 at the Venice Film Festival, and will open in theaters on Sept. 23. 

What are you expecting from Don’t Worry Darling? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Interview Magazine