The original script was on the Black List
The story was created by Carey and Shane Van Dyke, and featured on the famed list of the best scripts in Hollywood that have yet to be produced. Wilde then brought on Katie Silberman, one of her co-writers on Booksmart, to perfect it.
It’s The Feminine Mystique on acid
Olivia Wilde described it as such in an interview with Vogue. She added that the focus of the film was to ask, “What are you willing to sacrifice in order to do what’s right? If you really think about it, are you willing to blow up the system that serves you?” The idea was inspired by a conversation with Gloria Steinem on how to respond to Trump’s election, in which the activist told Wilde not to pay taxes. “I said, ‘What?’ I own property. I have kids. I don’t think I can do that,” she replied. Then, it dawned on her that “this is why nothing will change. That was the beginning of Don’t Worry Darling. I was like, who’s that person who’s actually willing to destroy the structure that is built entirely for their comfort? That’s a selflessness on a level that I admire but admit is far from the way I live my life.”
It’s bringing back “good sex” in films—and yes, that means a steamy scene with Harry Styles
In the same interview, Wilde explained that psychosexual Adrian Lyne films like Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal were a big inspiration, as they’re “really sexy, in a grown-up way… I kept saying, ‘Why isn’t there any good sex in film anymore?’” The writer of the piece adds that one scene reportedly featuring “a hardworking Styles and a most gratified Pugh, is going to generate some serious attention—and, if the devotion of Styles’s fan base is any indication, hysteria—when Don’t Worry Darling is released. When I work up the blushing courage to ask Wilde about it, she gets technical, talking about overhead angles and wraparound shots, though she readily volunteers that she intends for her audience to ‘realize how rarely they see female hunger, and specifically this type of female pleasure.’”
Wilde was almost the lead
Wilde was planning to star in the film herself, until she watched Midsommar and was impressed by Florence Pugh’s performance. “Anytime there’s new talent, it’s thrilling,” she told Vogue. The director opted for a supporting role instead.
Styles’s role was the hardest to fill, but he ended up being perfect for it
In February 2021, Wilde posted a photo of Styles on her Instagram with a caption that read: “Little known fact: most male actors don’t want to play supporting roles in female-led films. The industry has raised them to believe it lessens their power (ie. financial value) to accept these roles, which is one of the reasons it’s so hard to get financing for movies focusing on female stories. No joke, it is hard to find actors who recognize why it might be worth it to allow for a woman to hold the spotlight. Enter: [Harry Styles], our Jack. Not only did he relish the opportunity to allow for the brilliant [Florence Pugh] to hold center stage as our Alice, but he infused every scene with a nuanced sense of humanity. He didn’t have to join our circus, but he jumped on board with humility and grace, and blew us away every day with his talent, warmth, and ability to drive backwards.”