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Is Olivia Wilde a victim of Hollywood’s gender bias?


Is Olivia Wilde a victim of Hollywood’s gender bias?


In recent weeks, the internet has been buzzing with chatter about the soon-to-be-released film, Don’t Worry Darling, which stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles and is directed by Olivia Wilde.

Speculations and allegations are swirling around the movie’s intimate scenes, the relationship between Olivia and Harry, and purported tensions between the lead actress and director.

What is happening, and why should all female directors be concerned?

You might recognize Olivia from her acting roles in shows like House and The OC, as well as films such as Tron: Legacy.

She transitioned into directing with the critically acclaimed 2019 teen comedy, Booksmart, and quickly established herself as a formidable talent.



Her latest project, the stylish feminist thriller Don’t Worry Darling, sparked a fierce bidding war among studios.

The film tells the story of a seemingly content ’60s housewife (played by Florence) who starts to question her ideal life.

Such a response is exactly what a breakthrough filmmaker should expect, but it is not always guaranteed for women.

Consider the female directors behind Mamma Mia, Twilight, and 50 Shades of Grey, and the men who helmed their sequels.

However, Don’t Worry Darling has been embroiled in controversy since its debut at the Venice Film Festival (the film hits theaters on September 23).

To summarize, Olivia and Harry began a relationship on set during her separation from actor Jason Sudeikis, attracting unwanted tabloid attention and backlash from a vocal minority of aggressive Harry fans.

film’s promotional efforts centered on a sensual scene featured in the trailer, in which Harry’s character performs oral sex on Florence’s Alice.

Olivia embraced the provocative conversation, reportedly to Florence’s dismay, which exacerbated an already strained relationship, allegedly due to Florence’s unease with Olivia and Harry’s romance.

‘Male directors’ interpersonal conflicts don’t make headlines.’

Olivia contended that she had dismissed actor Shia LaBeouf – initially cast as the male lead – only for him to assert that he had quit, sharing a video of Olivia that seemingly corroborates his claim.

The director also had to dispel rumors that Florence received only a small portion of Harry’s salary, which would be disappointingly typical for Hollywood but not for a self-proclaimed feminist director.

Furthermore, Florence’s limited participation in the promotional tour, citing scheduling conflicts with the Dune sequel, fueled rumors of a rift.

Is this an authentic catastrophe, or are we subjecting Olivia to a stricter standard than her male counterparts?

Conflicts between male directors and cast members seldom make headlines.

Nor do their romances with actors typically incite the kind of hostility directed at Olivia (but not Harry) regarding their relationship.

Her seemingly deceptive statements about Shia hardly warrant this degree of furor.

However, these controversies could prove disastrous, particularly if the film underperforms at the box office.

Female directors who are deemed ‘difficult’ often don’t receive second chances.

Directors like David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) can engage in physical altercations with actors like George Clooney and continue working, while westerns director Sam Peckinpah could fire a gun on set and still find employment.

Conversely, someone like Olivia must exhibit flawless behavior in every situation, maintain friendly relations with all actors, create a successful film, raise her children, and appear immaculate to avoid criticism.

Even if some negative stories about her are true, we should question – as the film does – whether we’re perpetuating these unrealistic expectations and holding women back by adhering to them.

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