Everything We Know

Everything We Know About Don't Worry Darling

We dig into all the details of Olivia Wilde's mysterious sophomore directorial effort starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine.

by | July 14, 2022 | Comments

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What is the Victory Project? If the characters in Olivia Wilde’s upcoming psychological thriller were to ask about the truth behind this seemingly picture-perfect bit of 1950s American suburbia, the response they would likely get is the title of the film: “Don’t Worry Darling.”

Luckily, we aren’t about to dismiss your questions about Wilde’s new movie ahead of its theatrical premiere this fall, so here’s everything we know about Don’t Worry Darling.

It’s Olivia Wilde’s Second Feature Film as Director

Olivia Wilde on the set of Booksmart

(Photo by Francois Duhamel/©Annapurna Pictures)

Olivia Wilde got her start as an actress, appearing on TV in the medical drama House and in films like Tron: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens, and Drinking Buddies, but she’s demonstrated a real talent as a director, too. Her directorial debut, 2019’s female-focused high school buddy comedy Booksmart, was widely acclaimed. Don’t Worry Darling does not appear to be the heartfelt, feel-good romp that Booksmart was, though, and it will be interesting to see how Wilde handles this new genre. She has genre experience in her filmography, and she’s proved that she has the potential to be a great director.

When Wilde announced Don’t Worry Darling as her next project in August 2019, 18 different studios engaged in a bidding war, with New Line Cinema ultimately winning. Warner Bros. is distributing the film.

The Plot Feels Like The Truman Show Meets The Matrix Meets The Manhattan Project

Olivia Wilde, Nick Kroll, and Chris Pine in Don't Worry Darling

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Unlike so many movies these days, Don’t Worry Darling is not a remake, nor is it based on any pre-existing book, comic, or other known property. The script that would eventually become Don’t Worry Darling was written by brothers Carey and Shane Van Dyke, and it earned a spot on 2019’s Black List — an annual round-up of acclaimed and buzzed-about screenplays that haven’t been produced yet. Katie Silberman, who wrote the screenplay for Booksmart, did a rewrite of the script and wrote the final screenplay.

Here is the official synopsis for Don’t Worry Darling:

“Alice and Jack are lucky to be living in Victory, the experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. Life is perfect, with every resident’s needs met by the company. All they ask in return is unquestioning commitment to the Victory cause. But when cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice can’t help questioning what they’re doing in Victory, and why. Just how much is Alice willing to lose to expose what’s really going on in paradise?”

Olivia Wilde presenting Don't Worry Darling at CinemCon 2022

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Speaking at CinemaCon in April 2022, Wilde gave some indication of what sort of vibe people could expect from the film. According to Variety, the story was inspired by movies like Inception, The Matrix, and The Truman Show.

“Imagine a life where you have everything you could want. Not just material, tangible things… like a beautiful house, perfect weather and gorgeous cars. But also the things that really matter, like true love or the perfect partner or real trusted friendships and a purpose that feels meaningful,” Wilde said at CinemaCon. “What would it take for you to give up that life, that perfect life. What are you really willing to sacrifice to do what’s right?” Wilde asked. “Are you willing to dismantle the system that’s designed to serve you?”

The first and, so far, only trailer for the movie premiered in early May. It’s an effective, eerie trailer that offers a good sense of what the vibe of the movie will be without spoiling too much in terms of plot. The swingin’ party at the beginning and the chic ‘50s aesthetics all look quite nice, but they soon give way to ominous threats, a sense of unease, and building action as it becomes clear that this is not just a normal period piece. Something is very, very wrong in Victory.

The Cast Features Big Names and Rising Stars

Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Florence Pugh (Black Widow) stars as Alice, the wife who seems to be asking too many questions about the Victory Project. Opposite her is Harry Styles, who is best known for the band One Direction but who has since made successful forays into acting, appearing in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and the post-credits sequence of Marvel’s Eternals. Styles plays Jack, Alice’s husband and an employee who works on the Victory Project.

In addition to directing, Wilde appears in the movie herself, playing Bunny, another one of the wives who live in Victory. Gemma Chan (Eternals), KiKi Layne (The Old Guard), and ​​Kate Berlant, a comedian who has had small roles in movies like Sorry to Bother You and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, also appear to be playing wives. Sydney Chandler, actress and daughter of Kyle Chandler, stars as well.

Chris Pine (Wonder Woman) plays Frank, who seems to be a higher-up at the company behind the Victory Project, and he menaces Alice at one point in the trailer. Nick Kroll (Big Mouth), Douglas Smith (Big Love), Ari’el Stachel (The Band’s Visit), Asif Ali, and Timothy Simons (Veep) also star.

Filming Wrapped in February 2021, But Was Delayed Due to COVID

Olivia Wilde and Chris Pine on the set of Don't Worry Darling

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Filming for Don’t Worry Darling began in October 2020 and concluded in February of 2021. It was halted for two weeks in November when somebody on the set tested positive for COVID-19. In an Instagram post celebrating the end of filming, Pugh went to great lengths to praise everybody who worked on the movie for getting it made despite the ongoing pandemic.


This Movie Is Why Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles Are Dating

Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles

(Photo by Neil Mockford/Getty Images)

Don’t Worry Darling is a notable movie for fans of celebrity gossip, because Olivia Wilde and leading man Harry Styles started dating after they met while making the movie. According to Us Weekly, the pair hit it off almost immediately and made the relationship public in January of last year. Wilde had previously been engaged to Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis, with whom she has two children, but they broke off their engagement in November 2020. Styles is reportedly not the cause of the split.

During Wilde’s presentation at CinemaCon, somebody got on the stage and handed her an envelope. It was later revealed that she had, in fact, been served child custody papers. Sudeikis said he was unaware the papers would be delivered like that.

Don’t Worry Darling opens in theaters everywhere on September 23, 2022.

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