Olivia Wilde is explaining why she fired Shia LaBeouf from her upcoming film Don’t Worry Darling.
In an interview with Variety published this week, the actor/director, 38, recalled casting the male lead opposite Florence Pugh for the thriller. Harry Styles, who was eventually cast in the role following LaBeouf’s departure, was Wilde’s initial choice though was not an option as he was on tour, she told the magazine.
In 2020, as production was beginning on the film, Wilde made the decision to fire LaBeouf. While initial reports said his leaving the production was due to a scheduling conflict, in December of that year that the actor was in fact fired.
His firing revelation was first reported by Variety, which cited sources saying LaBeouf, 36, “exhibited poor behavior and his style clashed with the cast and crew, including Wilde, who ultimately fired him.”
Wilde opened up for the first time about what really motivated his exit in the new interview.
“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work,” she said. “His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. 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.”
She continued, “I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.”
Months after that decision was made, FKA twigs sued the actor, who was her costar and ex-boyfriend, for sexual battery. Following the suit, LaBeouf sought inpatient treatment and parted with his agency, CAA, while on a hiatus from acting.
“A lot came to light after this happened that really troubled me, in terms of his behavior,” Wilde told Variety. “I find myself just really wishing him health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice.”
“But for our film,” she continued, “what we really needed was an energy that was incredibly supportive. Particularly with a movie like this, I knew that I was going to be asking Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was making her feel safe and making her feel supported.”
As the COVID pandemic canceled Styles’ tour at the time, Wilde was then able to cast who she called “the perfect Jack.”