“Personally, I find them to be opposite in a lot of ways,” Styles said. “What I like about acting is the feeling that I have no idea what I’m doing.”
But around the halfway mark, a journalist finally broke through the glaze and asked Wilde the big question: Would she like to clear the air about her rumored falling-out with Pugh?
“Florence is a force,” Wilde replied evenly, noting that Pugh would at least walk the red carpet at the film’s Venice premiere. “We are so grateful that she is able to make it tonight despite being in production on ‘Dune.’ I know as a director how disruptive it is to lose an actor even for a day.”
Wilde continued to wax rhapsodic about her leading lady — “I can’t say enough how honored I am to have her as our lead,” she said — and then pivoted: “As for all the endless tabloid gossip and noise out there, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute. I think it’s sufficiently well-nourished.”
At that, some friendly journalists broke into mild applause, but The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Ritman rose with a follow-up: “I would like to ask about the noise you just mentioned.”
LaBeouf replied with a statement declaring he had not been fired but instead quit the film of his own volition, supplying Variety with text messages from Wilde and a video she sent LaBeouf asking him to consider staying on “Don’t Worry Darling.” In the video, Wilde says LaBeouf’s departure could be a “wake-up call for Miss Flo.” Minutes after it leaked online, Wilde’s diminutive nickname for Pugh became a Twitter trending topic.
Still, the moderator of the Venice news conference refused to allow the line of questioning. “I think this question has been answered,” D’Agnolo Vallan said firmly as the other actors on the dais stared neutrally into space. Two more questions were taken from other journalists and then the session wrapped.
“It felt ridiculous,” Ritman told me later, after his inquiry to Wilde was denied. “She hadn’t already answered the question, and it seemed like it had already been carefully arranged with the moderator beforehand.”