Olivia Wilde says she has a “no a–holes policy” on the sets of movies she directs.
The 36-year-old actress and director discussed her decision while speaking about filmmaking on Variety’s “Directors on Directors” with Emerald Fennell.
Wilde said she has learned she thrives in a directorial role as it offers much more motivation and allows focus, whereas taking on the role of a character can be “exhausting.”
“It is constant, I find that quite energizing,” Wilde said of directing. “The relentless asking and answering of questions, leaves you buzzing. And then of course, you face plan when you get home. But it’s a different kind of exhaustion…That’s one of the reasons that I really prefer directing, because I think that the constant hum of intensity and energy lights me up.”
As a director, Wilde discussed the notion of going with her instincts.
“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,” Wilde said.
“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.”
She said her policy of banning “a–holes” from set is to rid of hierarchy among cast and crew.
“The no a–holes policy, it puts everybody on the same level. 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,” Wilde said.
She continued: “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.”
Wilde is currently directing “Don’t Worry Darling” featuring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. Styles, who she is linked to romantically following her split from fiance Jason Sudeikis, replaced Shia LaBeouf.
It was reported in September that LaBeouf dropped out of the role due to scheduling conflicts, before being replaced by Styles. Months later, singer FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against LaBeouf for alleged abuse during their relationship, which he denies.
“Don’t Worry Darling” is a film adapted from a screenplay by Katie Silberman. It is set in a California desert during the 1950s.
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