The director answered the question from a journalist during the Don’t Worry Darling press conference at the Venice International Film Festival.
“Can you just clear the air and address whether there has been a falling out there and if so why, because it’s something that people are discussing?” one reporter asked Wilde during the conference.
The director responded: “Florence is a force and 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 so I’m very grateful to her and Denis Villeneuve for helping us – we’re really thrilled we’ll get to celebrate her work tonight.”
She continued: “I can’t say enough how honoured I am to have her as our lead. She’s amazing in the film and as for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, I mean, the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute, I think it’s sufficiently well nourished.”
Variety confirmed that Pugh’s absence from the panel was because the actor’s flight arrives into Venice after the press conference is due to take place. She will walk the red carpet for the event later on Monday (5 September).
The reports of a falling out between the director and actor intensified in August after Wilde claimed that she fired LaBeouf in 2020 in order to create a “safe, trusting environment” on set for Pugh.
However, LaBeouf denied being fired and sent Variety a video he says he received from Wilde, which shows the director asking him not to quit the project.
Alluding to tension between LaBeouf and Pugh in the video, Wilde says that LaBeouf leaving “might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo”.
Wilde has said that the feud is nothing but “invented clickbait”, while Pugh has not commented on or refuted the rumours.
Last week, Wilde heaped praise on the “ferociously talented” actor in a new interview.
You can read a full timeline of all the behind-the-scenes drama from Don’t Worry Darling here.
Early reviews of Don’t Worry Darling have seen critics be left unenthused by the film, with Pugh’s performance nonetheless singled out for praise.
In a three-star review for The Independent, Geoffrey Macnab writes: “This isn’t the disaster that some predicted – but it is a messy, convoluted affair with some very contrived plotting. Styles gives a surprisingly dull and low-wattage performance as Jack. To be fair, he is playing a very dull character, a kind of Stepford husband.”
Other critics have also heaped criticism on Styles’s performance.
On the red carpet at the film’s Venice premiere, Pugh made a cryptic remark about it being “inspiring” to see women “pushing back and saying ‘no’, on and off camera”.
Don’t Worry Darling is released in cinemas on Friday 23 September.