Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller, starring Harry Styles, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine and Gemma Chan, has been engulfed by controversy and rumours over dramas both on and off the set, setting the internet alight.
And the film’s premiere at Venice Film Festival on Monday night only fanned the gossip flames further.
But while much of the talk has surrounded Wilde’s alleged rift with lead actress Pugh, it was leading men Pine and Styles who were the talk of social media this time.
In a viral clip, Styles has been bizarrely accused of spitting on Pine just as he takes his seat next to his co-star at the premiere.
Pine is seen clapping as Styles approaches, and then stopping and looking down at his leg — where Styles is alleged to have spat — and his expression changing.
However, a representative for Pine has now shut down the claims, calling them “ridiculous”.
“This is a ridiculous story — a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation,” they told People magazine.
“Just to be clear, Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine. There is nothing but respect between these two men and any suggestion otherwise is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist.”
The incident will be another unwanted spectacle for the film’s stars, who have already been the subject of several online rumours.
Chatter of a rift between Wilde and Pugh started when a video was shared by actor Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in Styles’s role.
In the video, Wilde is seen saying she wants to figure out a way LeBeouf can stay on as part of the film, after previously saying she fired him from the production to ensure that Pugh felt “safe” — something LaBeouf denied.
“I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo,” Wilde says in the clip shared by LeBeouf, who has been at the centre of abuse claims.
The clip, paired with Pugh’s limited involvement in the promotions for the film, have led fans to believe there has been a falling-out between the two actresses.
And during a press conference ahead of the film’s premiere in Venice, which Pugh did not attend, Wilde refused to comment on the rumours.
“I can’t say enough how honoured I am to have her as our lead,” Wilde said.
“She’s amazing in the film and as for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, I mean, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute, I think it’s sufficiently well nourished.”
Comments made by Pugh on the premiere’s red carpet added further fuel to the fire on Monday, after she was asked what she found “inspiring” about the film.
“I think it’s very very inspiring to see a woman push back and say ‘no’, and question everything” she said. “It’s very exciting to see a woman do that on and off camera.”
Wilde herself also became a tabloid fixture after the paparazzi caught on to her off-screen relationship with Styles. And then there was the CinemaCon moment, in which Wilde was served custody papers by her ex, Jason Sudeikis, during a presentation about her movie on stage in front of thousands of industry professionals and theatre owners.
Audiences at Venice gave Don’t Worry Darling a five-minute ovation, although early reviews have been less flattering. However, Pugh’s performance has been singled out as impressive.