Shia LaBeouf was originally cast opposite Florence Pugh in Harry Styles’ Don’t Worry Darling.
Olivia Wilde has spoken out about why she fired Shia LaBeouf from her upcoming film Don’t Worry Darling.
In an interview published this week by Variety, the 38-year-old actor/director recalled casting the male lead opposite Florence Pugh for the thriller. Wilde’s first choice was Harry Styles, who was eventually cast in the role after LaBeouf left, but he was unavailable because he was on tour, she told the magazine.
Wilde fired LaBeouf in 2020, as production on the film was getting underway. While initial reports claimed that his departure was due to a scheduling conflict, PEOPLE confirmed in December of that year that the actor had been fired.
Variety broke the story, citing sources who said LaBeouf, 36, “exhibited poor behaviour and his style clashed with the cast and crew, including Wilde, who eventually fired him.”
In the new interview, Wilde revealed for the first time what prompted his departure.
“I say this as someone who admires his work,” she explained. “His process did not reflect the ethos that I expect in my productions. He has a process that appears to require combative energy in some ways, which I don’t believe is conducive to the best performances.”
She went on, “I believe that the best way to get people to do their best work is to create a safe, trusting environment. Finally, it is my responsibility to protect the production and the cast. That was my responsibility.”
FKA twigs sued the actor, her costar and ex-boyfriend, for sexual battery months after that decision was made. After the suit, LaBeouf sought inpatient treatment and parted ways with his agency, CAA, while taking a break from acting.
“After this happened, a lot came to light that really troubled me in terms of his behaviour,” Wilde told Variety. “I just want to wish him health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice.”
“”But for our film,” she continued, “what we really needed was a supportive energy.” I knew that with a film like this, I’d be putting Florence in extremely vulnerable situations, so my top priority was to make her feel safe and supported.”
LaBeouf’s representative did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Because the COVID pandemic cancelled Styles’ tour at the time, Wilde was able to cast “the perfect Jack.”