As many of you are probably aware, Olivia Wilde made the decision in 2020 to fire Shia LaBeouf from her highly anticipated new film, Don’t Worry Darling. Now, she’s finally speaking out about what led her to that point.
As we’ve previously reported, the actress-turned-director enacted what she calls a “no a**holes policy” on set to create a safe and productive environment for cast and crew alike, which she detailed in an installment of “Directors on Directors” for Variety. She explained at the time:
“It puts everybody on the same level. I also noticed as an actress for years how the hierarchy of the set separated the actors from the crew in this very strange way that serves no one.”
Break those norms! There’s absolutely NO reason for division on set — everyone is there with the shared goal of making the best movie they can make.
While early reports of Shia’s departure from the hot new film cited scheduling conflicts, we know this to be a sort of scapegoat for industry members when things just aren’t jiving. It was later reported by Variety that the Transformers star had been fired for poor behavior, but Olivia never confirmed it… until now.
The Life Itself actress sat down with Variety for an interview published Wednesday where she cleared the air once and for all on the casting situation:
“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work. His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances.”
Damn, Shia… She continued:
“I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.”
When you’re in charge of such a large production, this is definitely the energy you need to have to avoid making it a one-person spectacle. We also know that shortly after his departure from the feature, ex-girlfriend FKA twigs accused him of sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. It sounds safe to speculate that Shia just wasn’t in the best frame of mind all around, and Olivia made the right decision by recasting the lead role of Jack, husband to Florence Pugh‘s Alice, with her now boyfriend Harry Styles.
The director added:
“For our film, what we really needed was an energy that was incredibly supportive. Particularly with a movie like this, I knew that I was going to be asking Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was making her feel safe and making her feel supported.”
We’re glad Olivia went with her gut — after all it’s her production and her responsibility to do what’s best for it. As for Shia, she noted:
“I find myself just really wishing him health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice.”
See her Variety cover (below):
That’s a lot to take in! What are YOUR thoughts on Shia’s on-set behavior? Do you think Olivia made the right move? Think Harry did the role justice? Let us know in the comments (below) and see the film September 23!
[Images via Variety/YouTube & WENN/Avalon]