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Olivia Wilde Explains Why She Was So Nervous Filming Her Movie With Harry Styles And Florence Pugh

Olivia Wilde in The Change-Up
(Image credit: Original Film)

Olivia Wilde doesn’t seem like an anxious person to me. The actor has always been a bastion of cool, and her dry wit is present in nearly every interview she conducts. In addition, she knocked the ball out of the park with her directorial debut Booksmart, a feat that many a film student would kill for. So it may surprise fans to find out that, when it came to the production of her second film Don’t Worry Darling with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde was a bit on edge. 

Olivia Wilde was the latest celebrity to grace the cover of Vogue, and the accompanying interview touched on everything from her mother’s career as a journalist to the decidedly cheeky art gracing the walls of her Los Angeles home. Ahead of the release of her second directorial venture Don’t Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde revealed that she’d originally been quite nervous to begin filming. She explained: 

If you can make a comedy that works, you tend to stay in that world, because it can be incredibly lucrative... Sophomore slump is a real thing... [I asked Jordan Peele] ‘How terrifying was it to make your second film?’ And he said, ‘Oh, so terrifying, so much scarier than the first.

The dreaded sophomore slump can indeed be a major source of anxiety for any artist, but even more so for a celebrity who’s constantly in the public eye. Olivia Wilde’s teen comedy Booksmart was extraordinarily well-received, but her success guaranteed that her next project would be inspected under a microscope. A similar phenomenon happened to Jordan Peele when Get Out became a huge hit. His follow-up Us was thankfully acclaimed by fans and critics alike, but dodging the sophomore slump is easier said than done. 

Olivia Wilde is also jumping genres. While Booksmart was undoubtedly a heartfelt comedy, Don’t Worry Darling seems to be a stylish, moody thriller. With the tonal shift comes higher expectations: critics and audiences tend to expect more from dramas. After all, no one walks into a new buddy comedy in the hopes of viewing a cinematic masterpiece. But a film by Chloé Zhao or Denis Villenueve is another matter entirely. 

Another facet of the obsession with Don’t Worry Darling: the inclusion of Harry Styles. Olivia Wilde has been dating the British pop star for the majority of 2021, and the fact that he stars in her next film was quickly noted by media outlets and bloggers. Combine the hype for another Wilde film with the IRL romantic side plot, and voila: a perfect storm of public scrutiny. 

All things considered, Olivia Wilde seems to be handling her transition from actor to director fairly well, and she even got into a happy relationship in the process. Whether Don’t Worry Darling lives up to the hype remains to be seen, but anticipation is high.

Don’t Worry Darling won’t hit theaters until September 23, 2022, but you can catch Olivia Wilde’s first directorial effort Booksmart on Hulu. 

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.