Olivia Wilde just participated in Variety's "Directors on Directors" series, where she opened up about her directing process, and the strict "no assholes" policy she had on the set of her upcoming film, Don't Worry Darling.
Now, in case you missed it, Shia LaBeouf was reportedly fired from Don't Worry Darling last year and replaced by Harry Styles. According to Variety, LaBeouf "exhibited poor behavior and his style clashed with the cast and crew, including Wilde, who ultimately fired him."
And in her Variety interview today, Olivia opened up about the "no assholes" policy she established on the set, and why it was essential to the project's success.
"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," Olivia revealed. "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."
"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," she continued. "That the pressure cooker has to get to a point where it can be something intense and valuable in that way."
She described her desire to create a more respectful and comfortable workplace as a "uniquely female instinct":
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. And it doesn’t mean that I have to constantly remind you of my position, because I don’t think anyone on a set has ever forgotten who’s in charge. It’s, in fact, an incredibly hierarchical system.
Olivia then expanded on her "no assholes" policy further, saying that it eliminates a lot of diva behavior on set "that serves no one."
"The no assholes policy, it puts everybody on the same level," she explained. "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."
Notably, Harry Styles didn't just take over Shia's role in the project — he also started dating Wilde during production. So I'd say the no assholes policy is working out pretty well for all involved!
You can read Olivia Wilde's full "Directors on Directors" feature with filmmaker Emerald Fennell on Variety.