In December 2021, Olivia Wilde shared her desire to make sex scenes good again as she discussed her upcoming movie, Don’t Worry Darling, with Vogue.
The film marks the actor’s second stint as director, and it follows Alice — a young housewife in the 1950s — who suspects that all is not as it seems in the glamorous paradise where she and her husband, Jack, live.
Olivia cast her now-boyfriend, Harry Styles, in the role of Jack and Academy Award nominee Florence Pugh as Alice.
“The 1950s get this rap as a very controlled, conservative era, when in fact it was incredibly debaucherous. My grandparents on my mother’s side loved to party,” Olivia told Vogue 10 months after filming wrapped.
She went on to explain that she had sought inspiration from movies set in the same era that were “really sexy, in a grown-up way,” and added: “I kept saying, ‘Why isn’t there any good sex in film anymore?’”
When Don’t Worry Darling’s first trailer was released in May, viewers were shocked by the inclusion of a very raunchy sex scene that saw Harry’s Jack perform oral sex on Florence’s Alice.
Referencing that moment in her Vogue profile, Olivia said that she’d included it in the script because she wants her audience to “realize how rarely they see female hunger, and specifically this type of female pleasure.”
And she seemed pleased with the reaction that the trailer got, reposting praise for it to her social media page at the time — including a post from “The Clit Test’s” Instagram account.
“The Clit Test” gained traction in 2020 and was created by two British women as an online forum that celebrates media’s acknowledgement of the clitoris, rather than the vagina, as a source of pleasure.
Someone managing the page shared the Don’t Worry Darling trailer to the forum's Instagram story after the trailer's release and wrote: “TFW there’s a @clit.test pass in the trailer.” Then, they added: “@OliviaWilde showing how it’s done as usual.”
Olivia shared the post to her own story at the time, adding: “We love the @clit.test!”
But while Olivia is leaning into the hype that the sex scene has afforded Don’t Worry Darling, one of the movie’s leads is less impressed by it, with Florence addressing the provocation in a new interview with Harper's Bazaar.
The esteemed British actor explained that she is not in the industry to be reduced to her sex scenes, but she also acknowledged that this was an expected side effect of starring alongside somebody as popular as Harry.
“When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry,” Florence told the publication.
“Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that,” she went on. “That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”
The comments come amid growing speculation that there is tension between Olivia and Florence, with fans noticing that the latter has not been promoting this project as much as her past work on her social media page.
In fact, Florence did not share an Instagram grid post about Don’t Worry Darling this year until just five days ago, and while she is usually no stranger to a long caption, all she wrote alongside the trailer was: “‘Not everyone gets this opportunity…’ Not long now! Only in theatres September 23rd #dontworrydarling.”
Interestingly, the teaser video that she shared did not include the sex scene.
And in July, Olivia paid tribute to Florence on Instagram as she shared a photo from the shoot and wrote: “Watching this woman work was such a fucking thrill! Cannot wait to show you more. @florencepugh.” But Florence didn't acknowledge the post.
Meanwhile, Olivia was notably absent from the lengthy Instagram post that Florence shared when filming wrapped in February 2021. In it, she heaped praise on various crew members for making the movie happen despite the COVID-19 restrictions that were in place at the time.
And Florence doubled down on this in her new interview, where she notably failed to mention Olivia while discussing the movie. However, she did take the time to celebrate the crew, namely nurses who arrived on set at 2 a.m. to make sure that production ran smoothly.
“If I shout about one thing it’s that these people made that movie happen,” Florence said. “They came to work every day on time and fully respected the process.”
With all this in mind, it didn’t take long for people to theorize that Florence’s sex scene comments were a pointed jab at Olivia.
One person shared screenshots of some of the things that Olivia had said about the Don’t Worry Darling scene as they wrote: “‘florence is not shading olivia wilde’ are we sure? cause seems like she is.”
Another wrote: “florence: sucks that ppl are reducing this film to my sex scenes with harry, olivia: female pleasure !!!, clit test !!!! good sex.”
“Florence speaking out on dont worry darling and dragging olivia wilde in the process bc she is marketing it around sex when thats not what the movie is actually about is just chefs kiss!” a third said. “Thank you for your service flo, a real trooper.”
Someone else added: “olivia wilde needs to stop promoting dwd like it's a porno. clearly florence isn't okay with it, and wilde needs to stfu and stop making it all about the sex scenes.”
One more person tweeted: “Florence rly said put [some] respect on our names Olivia and I’m so here for it.”
Others pointed out that Florence had reposted her costar Gemma Chan and fashion designer Harris Reed’s congratulatory posts about the Harper’s Bazaar cover to her story, but she ignored Olivia’s.
One person said: “florence once again had the opportunity to cease the rumours about her and olivia by reposting her story like she did for harris and gemma but chose to ignore her. love that for her.”
In addition to their differing perspectives on the movie’s sex scenes, there have been a plethora of rumors about what the cause of the apparent tension between Florence and Olivia is.
Many of the unconfirmed claims center on Florence feeling "uncomfortable" because of Olivia and Harry being "all over each other on set" during filming.
Others have theorized that Florence “had to direct parts” of the movie because Olivia was distracted by her new relationship.
And Olivia faced backlash when she posted a gushing Instagram tribute to Harry for being willing to take a supporting role in a "women-led" film.
"It is bizarre that she thinks someone with one released acting project where he had a minor role deserves such a massive round of applause for conceding the lead to a literally Oscar-nominated actor," journalist Roisin O'Conner tweeted at the time.
Reports of a pay discrepancy also started to swirl after Showbiz Galore claimed that Harry was paid $2.5 million for his supporting role while Florence only pocketed $700,000 despite being the lead. But a source has denied that this was the case, saying: “Olivia is a huge advocate for gender equality in films and ensured that Harry and Florence were paid the same.”
BuzzFeed News has contacted representatives for both Florence and Olivia for comment.