Director Olivia Wilde wants harmony on her set—which means "no a--holes."
In a conversation with Promising Young Woman director and The Crown star Emerald Fennell for Variety's "Directors on Directors" series, the Booksmart helmer, who is currently working on her second feature Don't Worry Darling, detailed her "no a--holes" policy on set. Wilde's rule was made public after she fired actor Shia LaBeouf for allegedly not abiding by the policy and replaced him with Harry Styles, who she is now dating.
Wilde told Fennell, "Someone, who's a very established actor and director in this industry, gave me really terrible advice that was helpful, because I just knew I had to do the opposite. They said, 'Listen, the way to get respect on a set, you have to have three arguments a day. Three big arguments that reinstate your power, remind everyone who's in charge, be the predator.' That is the opposite of my process. And I want none of that."
The House alum added, "The no a--holes policy, it puts everybody on the same level. I also noticed as an actress for years how the hierarchy of the set separated the actors from the crew in this very strange way that serves no one… I think actors would actually like to know more about what's happening there when you're pulling my focus? What is that lens change? But the idea of, don't bother the actors and keep them separate, and don't look at them. I think it makes everyone quite anxious."
Don't Worry Darling, which is currently in production and also stars Florence Pugh, Dakota Johnson and Chris Pine, is about a couple who lives in an idyllic town, only for the wife to realize that not everything is as it seems.
LaBeouf was slated to play Pugh's husband in the film, but left the project in September 2020 prior to shooting. In December 2020, a source told Variety that he was let go from the project due to Wilde's policy and said the director found him to be "not an easy guy to work with" and "off-putting." Added the source, LaBeouf "displayed poor behavior and his style clashed with the cast and crew."
The reason for Shia's exit came just weeks after Wilde expressed her support for FKA Twigs, who filed a lawsuit against LaBeouf and accused him of "relentless abuse."