Florence Pugh skipping 'Don't Worry Darling' press conference at Venice Film Festival

·4 min read

Florence Pugh will not participate Monday in a press conference for "Don't Worry Darling" at the Venice Film Festival as controversy surrounding the Olivia Wilde film continues to brew.

The top-billed star of "Don't Worry Darling" is currently busy filming the sequel to "Dune" in Budapest and therefore isn't scheduled to land in Venice until Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times has confirmed. Though she won't be able to make the "Don't Worry Darling" presser at noon, Pugh will still walk the red carpet for the premiere of the psychological thriller later that day.

The Wrap previously reported that Pugh wasn't likely to do any press for "Don't Worry Darling" outside of the Venice Film Festival because of her "Dune" commitments.

News of Pugh's limited presence at Venice comes shortly after a public spat between "Don't Worry Darling" director Wilde and actor Shia LaBeouf fueled rumors of conflict behind the scenes of the high-profile project.

Late last month, LaBeouf accused Wilde of lying about firing him from the film, which was originally supposed to star LaBeouf and Pugh as husband and wife Jack and Alice. However, Wilde recently claimed in an interview with Variety that she fired LaBeouf (and replaced him with pop musician Harry Styles) because his creative process “was not conducive to the ethos” she demands on her productions, provoking LaBeouf to defend himself.

Responding to the Variety interview, LaBeouf rejected Wilde's narrative and asserted that he “quit the film due to lack of rehearsal time.” In an email delivered to Wilde and published by Variety, LaBeouf dismissed the filmmaker's remarks as “attractive clickbait, as I am still persona-non-grata and may remain as such for the rest of my life." (LaBeouf's reputation has taken a dark turn in recent years due to allegations of assault and abuse leveled by his ex-girlfriend, singer FKA twigs.)

Around the time LaBeouf spoke out, a video of Wilde seemingly trying to dissuade him from leaving "Don't Worry Darling" surfaced online, further fueling speculation that the filmmaker wasn't telling the truth.

“I feel like I’m not ready to give up on this yet, and I too am heartbroken and I want to figure this out," Wilde tells LaBeouf in the clip.

"I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us. If she really commits, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point and if you guys can make peace — and I respect your point of view, I respect hers — but if you guys can do it, what do you think? Is there hope?"

Wilde's comment about making "peace" with "Miss Flo" prompted many to speculate that tension arose between Pugh, LaBeouf and possibly Wilde on the set of "Don't Worry Darling," which might offer additional insight as to why the Oscar nominee has scaled back her press tour duties.

In a recent interview with Harper's Bazaar, Pugh also lamented the media's fixation on intimate scenes between her and Styles leading up to the film's release.

“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.

"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.”

It's worth noting that Pugh was mostly absent from the press tour for the 2019 horror film "Midsommar" as well while shooting Marvel and Disney's "Black Widow."

Compounding the "Don't Worry Darling" controversy is an ongoing custody battle between Wilde and her former partner, Jason Sudeikis, to whom she was engaged for more than seven years before dating Styles. Last month, Wilde addressed the social media firestorm surrounding her relationship with the "As It Was" hit maker for the first time.

“What I don’t understand about the cruelty you’re referencing is that that kind of toxic negativity is the antithesis of Harry, and everything he puts out there,” Wilde told Rolling Stone.

“I don’t personally believe the hateful energy defines his fan base at all. The majority of them are true champions of kindness.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.