Olivia Wilde explains why she has a 'no a**holes' policy on her film sets

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3-min read
Olivia Wilde speaks onstage during The MAKERS Conference on February 11, 2020. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MAKERS)
Olivia Wilde speaks onstage during The MAKERS Conference on February 11, 2020. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MAKERS)

Olivia Wilde has explained the “no a**holes” policy she embraces on her film sets, explaining that it “puts everybody on the same level”.

Wilde is currently working on her second feature as director, Don’t Worry Darling, after achieving critical acclaim with teen comedy Booksmart in 2019.

Read more: Olivia Wilde celebrates helming Spider-Woman movie

In a conversation with Promising Young Woman filmmaker Emerald Fennell for Variety, Wilde explained why she adopts a policy of booting difficult people from her sets.

Notably, Shia LaBeouf was sacked from Don’t Worry Darling early in the process amid reports he was “off-putting” and was replaced with One Direction singer Harry Styles.

Wilde said she was told by an experienced director that a filmmaker should have three arguments on set every day to assert their authority, but she describes that as “terrible advice”.

Watch: Olivia Wilde tapped for Marvel project

She added: “I think that it is an unfortunate part of the kind of the paradigm, that has been created over the last 100 years, the idea that great art has to come from a place of discomfort and anxiety — that the pressure cooker has to get to a point where it can be something intense and valuable in that way.

“I do think it may be a uniquely female instinct to say: ‘Look, we can be nurturing. And we can multitask.’ It doesn’t mean that anyone needs to be uncomfortable.”

Read more: Wilde heartbroken at Booksmart censorship

Wilde said her “no a**holes” rule removes the hierarchy separating actors from crew on the set, putting everyone on the same collaborative level.

She added: “I think we’d all benefit to sort of remove the hero narrative from that structure, and to acknowledge that a director is a sum of all these parts, that we have the opportunity to delegate to all these incredible people that we’ve asked to come on board.”

Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell attend the Sundance Film Festival premiere of "Promising Young Woman" on January 25, 2020. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell attend the Sundance Film Festival premiere of "Promising Young Woman" on January 25, 2020. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Fennell said she agreed completely with Wilde’s attitude and said it’s important to foster an environment of collaboration when it making a movie.

She added: “It’s the camaraderie, somebody coming in and saving somebody else’s a**, somebody coming up with a bright idea that means you can actually shoot the scene when it looked like it was hopeless.“

Read more: Critic defends controversial Promising Young Woman review

Fennell received a Golden Globe nomination this week for directing Promising Young Woman, with leading lady Carey Mulligan also scoring a nod for Best Actress (Drama).

In the film, Mulligan plays a former medical student who pretends to be drunk in bars in order to dupe supposed “nice guys” who try to take advantage of her inebriation.

Promising Young Woman is available on VOD in the USA now and its UK release is coming soon.

Watch: Trailer for Promising Young Woman