Olivia Wilde says the original trailer for Don’t Worry Darling had the Motion Picture Association worried.
In an interview with the Associated Press ahead of the Venice Film Festival debut of her film starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, the director — who also stars in the psychological thriller hitting theaters Sept. 23 — detailed how she had to cut out scenes last-minute from the trailer due to the nature of their content.
“Oh, yeah. There’s a lot that had to be taken out of the trailer,” Wilde said. “The MPA came down hard on me and the trailer at the last second and I had to cut some shots, which I was upset about because I thought they took it up another notch.”
The director attributed the cuts to her film releasing in the U.S., where “we still live in a really puritanical society.” She doesn’t think, however, that sexuality and physical intimacy has always been guarded or censored with equal measure.
“I do think the lack of eroticism in American film is kind of new,” she shared. “Then when it comes to female pleasure, it’s something that we just don’t see very often unless you’re talking about queer cinema.”
Wilde said that in her opinion, queer cinema is a space where “female characters are allowed to have more pleasure” onscreen. That helps underscore that, as she sees it, viewers aren’t as uptight about onscreen intimacy as studios believe.
“Audiences aren’t as puritanical as corporations think they are. And yet people get upset. I mean, people are upset with me already over this,” she said. “I think it’s a testament to the film. We want to be provocative. The idea is not to make you feel safe.”
Earlier in August, as part of her September cover story for Harper’s Bazaar, Don’t Worry Darling star Florence Pugh responded to the fixation on the trailer’s intimacy scenes. For her, it was not a topic she would be discussing while doing press for the film.
“When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry,” Pugh said. “Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”