Olivia directed the upcoming film, and in December 2021 she told Vogue that she hoped to make sex scenes good again via the project.
The psychological thriller set in the 1950s stars Academy Award nominee Florence as Alice, who suspects that all is not as it seems in the glamorous paradise where she lives with her husband, Jack, played by Olivia’s now-boyfriend Harry Styles.
In an interview that was published 10 months after filming wrapped, Olivia said that she wanted to show how “incredibly debaucherous” the ’50s could be, and that she had sought inspiration from other movies that were set in the same era and were “really sexy in a grown-up way.”
“I kept saying, ‘Why isn’t there any good sex in film anymore?’” Olivia added.
And in the movie’s first trailer, which was released in May, viewers were shocked to see Harry’s Jack perform oral sex on Florence’s Alice in a very raunchy sex scene.
Olivia had previously explained that she included the moment in the script because she wants her audience to “realize how rarely they see female hunger, and specifically this type of female pleasure.”
She later shared her joy at the trailer passing “the Clit Test” — criteria created by an online forum that celebrates media’s acknowledgment of the clitoris, rather than the vagina, as a source of pleasure.
Someone managing the Clit Test’s Instagram page posted the trailer to the account's story after 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 proudly shared the post to her own story at the time, adding: “We love the @clit.test!”
So when Florence expressed her discomfort at the sexualization of the movie during an interview with Harper’s Bazaar last week, many believed that she was calling out Olivia.
“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 added. “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.”
Florence’s comments came after fans had already noticed her unusual Instagram activity in relation to the movie, with the actor promoting this project notably less than her other work.
In fact, Florence’s first Don’t Worry Darling Instagram grid post of 2022 was shared just five days before her interview came out, 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.”
And when Olivia posted Florence’s Harper Bazaar cover to her Instagram story alongside her congratulations on the interview, Florence did not share it to her own page. This was in spite of the fact that she reposted her Don’t Worry Darling costar Gemma Chan’s similar message, as well as fashion designer Harris Reed’s.
This wasn’t the first time that Florence had ignored Olivia on Instagram — in July, Olivia paid tribute to the actor as she shared a photo from the movie shoot and wrote: “Watching this woman work was such a fucking thrill! Cannot wait to show you more. @florencepugh.” Florence did not acknowledge the post in any way.
Olivia was also notably absent from the lengthy Instagram caption that Florence shared in February 2021 after filming wrapped, where she heaped praise on various crew members for their role in making the movie happen.
But things haven’t always been this way, and Florence’s excited post when she was first cast in Olivia’s movie back in 2020 recently resurfaced online and shed some new light on the situation.
Posting a screenshot of a news article announcing her involvement in the movie, Florence’s excitement was palpable as she called Olivia her “idol.”
At the time, Harry hadn’t been cast in the film and actor Shia LaBeouf was slated to play Jack.
Florence captioned the April 24, 2020, post: “@oliviawilde just tagged me in a picture *gasp no.1* @oliviawilde casted me in a film *gasp no.2* @oliviawilde is my idol and allowed me to be a part of this fecking incredible cast. Shia?!? Chris?!? *gasp no.3*”
“I can’t wait to join this project when all of this is over,” she added, in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Until then, masks up. Gloves on. Stay home. Read script 17,000 because.. you know.. it’s @oliviawilde!! #dontworrydarling.”
The heartfelt words struck a chord with Florence’s followers, with many believing that this post supported the theory that something happened on set to drive a wedge between the two women.
It was claimed that Florence’s excitement and love for Olivia when she was first cast in the movie makes her lack of acknowledgment of the director since filming wrapped all the more telling.
Others were sad to think that Florence had been left let down or disappointed after landing a role that she was initially so passionate about.
“The fact that u were so excited and now it's just crickets... something must've gone so wrong 💔,” one person commented last month.
“Aww you were so excited,” another said three weeks ago. Someone else added: “How ironic is this post now. *gasp no.4*”
“This aged like fine wine 🤍,” one more comment reads.
Over on Twitter, one person referenced the post as they wrote: “Like, literally something had to have happened between Olivia and flo. I’m so excited for this movie and I wish Florence was too.”
“No but florence was probably heard the concept and maybe even read the script and was excited plus she was excited to be working with feminist girlboss olivia who she had admired like that was probably all so exciting and then it all went to shit and that fucking sucks,” someone else tweeted.
Another person replied to a screenshot of Florence’s Instagram post and wrote: “You know what they say.. never meet your idol :/” Someone else echoed: “She went from Olivia being her idol to not even wanting to talk about the film where she's the lead, that makes me so sad.”
“It’s just so heartbreaking to see her excitement and spirit about this movie being so broken,” another reply read.
In addition to their blatantly differing perspectives on the movie’s sex scenes, there have been a plethora of rumors about what happened between Florence and Olivia to cause this tension.
Sources have claimed that Florence was “uncomfortable” with Olivia and Harry being “all over each other on set” during filming, and others have theorized that Florence “had to direct parts” of the movie because Olivia was so distracted by her new relationship.
It has also been speculated that Florence is unhappy with the way that Harry and Olivia’s relationship has taken center stage in regard to the film, something that the director fueled when she posted a gushing Instagram tribute that honored Harry for being willing to take on a supporting role in a “women-led” film.
The post sparked fierce backlash at the time, with journalist Roisin O'Conner summarizing the discourse when she tweeted: “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.”
And Florence’s pointed silence despite the months of rumors surrounding her and Olivia is also noteworthy, with it being pointed out that she often uses her social media page to dispel rumors or hit back at negative comments.
The actor spoke out on more than one occasion after her relationship with ex-boyfriend Zach Braff came under scrutiny, and she recently shut down claims that she is dating her friend Will Poulter.
Florence also used her online profile to address the “vulgar” comments that were made about her body when she wore a sheer dress to a Valentino fashion show in July.
“What's interesting to me is that Florence is always quick to call out the ‘trolls’ spreading rumours or talking sh*t, be it about her boyfriend, breasts, friend hanging out at the beach with her. But there's a lot of talk about this—her professional life—and she's quiet,” one person wrote on a Reddit forum.
Representatives for Olivia and Florence have not responded to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.