Don’t Worry, Darling — it’s just publicity… isn’t it?

Olivia Wilde’s film under fire after the release of a clip starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh

Internationally renowned English singer-songwriter Harry Styles is not particularly known for his acting prowess. Though he performed well in Christopher Nolan’s 2017 award-winning film “Dunkirk,” he had less than six minutes of screen time and was largely silent during it. This is decidedly not the case in “Don’t Worry Darling,” a psychological thriller that casts Styles alongside critically acclaimed stars Chris Pine and Florence Pugh.

The movie follows the journey of a 1950s housewife named Alice (Florence Pugh) who is living in an experimental utopian community with her husband, Jack (Harry Styles). Suddenly, events of a disturbing nature begin to unfold. Eventually, she is given cause to suspect that the community is more corrupt than it seems.

The official Twitter account for “Don’t Worry Darling” recently released a short clip from the movie depicting an argument between Styles’ and Pugh’s characters. Unfortunately, Styles’ acting in said clip is not at all reminiscent of his fairly well-received performance in “Dunkirk.”

His accent was what fans picked out first. It seems forced and unusual, like that of an American actor who couldn’t afford a dialect coach. It wavers from Northern English to something that sounds both English and American. Which accent is intended? Styles himself may not know. Even more confusing was Pugh’s flawless American accent. The movie takes place in America, so could Styles be playing some sort of exchange-student-turned-billionaire-CEO? The fans have yet to figure it out.

Styles himself may not be the problem. It’s worth noting that Florence Pugh is an award-winning actress who gives a stellar performance in this clip. Styles’ acting understandably looks rather silly next to hers. But that begs the question of why Styles? Why did Olivia Wilde choose to cast a pop star rather than an actor who matches Pugh’s ability? Her reasoning was partly revealed in a recent Variety interview.

“We need whoever was going to play Jack to be instantly lovable and someone who was deeply charming and empathetic,” Wilde explained.

It appears that personality was extremely important to Wilde during the casting process, which may have turned the tide in Styles’ favor. It also coincides with her reasoning for the alleged firing of Shia LaBeouf back in 2020. According to another Variety interview, LaBeouf was rather “combative.”

“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,” Wilde said. It’s worth noting that only months later, LaBeouf was accused of abuse by three women, including his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs and the pop singer Sia. He later denied the accusations.

Whether he was fired or quit the project is also up for discussion, as LaBeouf released screenshots of his conversations with Wilde along with a video that seemed to indicate he had quit the project, and Wilde had in fact asked him to come back.

To add to the drama, Pugh will not be doing press for “Don’t Worry Darling.” Fans have speculated that this stemmed from a disagreement between herself and Wilde over pay; Styles was allegedly paid $3 million for the role of Jack, while Pugh was only paid $700,000.

With all of this in mind, the Venice film festival was a sight to behold. Pugh, after refusing to do press, only had one red carpet appearance. Admittedly, it was iconic. Pugh certainly dressed for the gays on this one, and fans have speculated that she was entirely aware of her fanbase and aimed to appease them during the red carpet appearance.

Even more iconic were the multiple Internet memes that Chris Pine managed to spawn during his press release. Among my favorites are the “dissociating” and “being spit on by Harry Styles” moments.

It’s safe to say that the drama behind “Don’t Worry Darling” has sparked much of the publicity surrounding it. Whether Wilde intended to drive traffic to the movie by casting such a prominent singer is up for debate. Intended or unintended, the drama and mystery surrounding this movie will undoubtedly fill the seats in movie theaters when it releases on Sept. 23. Fans of Styles, Pugh or plain old celebrity drama should plan to see it.