As you all know by now, an Olivia Wilde–directed thriller called Don’t Worry Darling is coming to theaters soon. Critics (including ours) definitely agree that it’s … a movie. But the film itself has been vastly overshadowed by a maelstrom of mess and intrigue that has parked itself directly overhead. The casting drama alone is enough to make your head spin: After Wilde supposedly dumped Shia LaBeouf as Florence Pugh’s co-star after (not quite denied) allegations surfaced that he had been abusive toward his ex FKA Twigs, she replaced him with her soon-to-be new boyfriend, Harry Styles (after splitting with her fiancé, Jason Sudeikis) — whom she is allegedly paying way more than Pugh. Just lots of discomfort all around, which everyone packed up and brought with them to the Venice International Film Festival. The loogie-shaped cherry on top came during a Don’t Worry Darling screening where some online onlookers thought they saw (but almost certainly didn’t) Styles spit on another of the film’s stars, Chris Pine.
It was all perfect fodder for “Into It or Not Into It,” a game our podcast Into It plays with its guests every week. So in this week’s episode, our own Rebecca Alter and Gaby Grossman weigh in with their thoughts on this highly peculiar news cycle. You can read their discussion below and then check out the latest episode of Into It — which features an interview with Michael R. Jackson, creator of the Tony-winning musical A Strange Loop — anywhere you get your podcasts.
Sam Sanders: Are we into or not into what I have affectionately been calling the Spit, or the Don’t Worry Darling press-tour drama?
Gaby Grossman: I was just on Twitter.com, where I read a tweet from one Miss Rebecca Alter that said, “slapping! spitting! honey the movie news cycle oughta buy me BREAKFAST after a year like this honey!”
Rebecca Alter: It’s been a lot.
There’s an image and a short video online that seems to show, at least some believe, Harry Styles going to take his seat next to Chris Pine but quietly spitting in Chris Pine’s lap as he sits down. Did you all think that’s real?
GG: No, I don’t. That just doesn’t seem like Harry Styles to me. Not on purpose. He’s just—
Wait, wait, whoa. Not on purpose?
RA: Oh my God. It was so deliberate.
GG: You think?
RA: I think he spat, but he held himself back from spitting an actual … from hocking an actual loogie, but I think he did it as a symbol of disrespect. Think of a 100-year-old Greek woman pretend-spitting at you; that’s the biggest disrespect, and I think that’s what he was doing there.
Harry Styles, the old Greek maid.
GG: I can’t imagine Harry doing that because he has a real image to cultivate.
But let me tell you something: When you are locked up in the vortex of crazy behind-the-scenes drama, everyone’s going to surprise you. Something about this movie, something about this combo of people, none of them are actually acting professional. Even Chris Pine, who I love, is going around purposely looking dead in the eyes at every event for this film. All of them are being a little bit petty. All of them have lost their minds.
GG: Do you think it was a true, I spit on you disrespect?
RA: Yeah. I think Harry Styles is a real Emperor Has No Clothes situation for me, where I think the rest of the world is beguiled by something that doesn’t have a lot of there there. I think he’s very cute, and he dresses very nice, and I think that’s the extent of what’s going on — so I don’t put it past him.
I like the music. I just feel like I need petty celebrity drama. It gives me strength. And I want all celebrities to occasionally do this. I think that the spit is white Hollywood’s answer to the Slap, and I’m all for the diversity, let’s open it up. It gives me sustenance, it gives me life. I just, oh, chef’s kiss. I am more into this than I ever thought I would be. I love it, love it, love it. So you both are into the drama?
RA: Into the drama.
I will give you both a point for that one. You both win. Congratulations to you both. Congratulations to petty celebrity drama.