The internet wanted to know one thing and one thing only on Monday, September 5, 2022: Did Harry Styles just spit on Chris Pine?
No matter how many times people replay the footage, the truth may never come to light. However, there is another issue that we might be able to solve: Why would anyone believe he did?
Styles and Pine are currently promoting their new film, Dont Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) and co-starring Midsommars Florence Pugh. The film has been at the center of a flurry of celebrity gossip for over a year, culminating in yesterdays premiere at the Venice Film Festival, which produced this obscure but stunning footage:
#HarryStyles looks to spit on Chris Pine i will't sleep until i know the truth pic.twitter.com/wLXIHTYgU
Styles sits next to Pine to watch the film, but he falls back a moment later, as if something had just landed on his lap, or perhaps on his shoe. He smiles and shakes his head slightly, as if in disbelief, before making eye contact with Styles.
The whole Twitter is freezing, zooming, and expanding in search of some unknowable truth. Does Styles purse his lips and jerk his head forward, infinitesimally? Yes. On the other hand, is Pine just looking down to take off the spectacles he has dropped on his seat? It's very likely that it's Pines' reaction that drives the film, as well as the unincongruous, summery glamor of the setting.
Here's another angle that's no more conclusive, although it's a bit longer, and shows the two men attempting to exchange words in a friendly manner following the incident.
Harry takes his seat. #DontWorryDarling #venezia79 pic.twitter.com/by6DmYxvRS
To fully appreciate whats behind the frantic remark, you have to look at the whole, torturous, gossipy Dont Worry Darling story, which assured that video footage from the films would be reviewed to within an inch of its life. This wasnt even the first Pine-and-Styles meme of the day.
Here's a quick recap:
- Wilde reportedly began dating Styles during production, around the time she split from her partner Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso), with whom she has two children. Wilde and Styles are said to still be in a relationship, but havent gone public at any stage.
- Wilde was served with legal papers from Sudeikis pertaining to custody of her children while she was on stage at Las Vegas trade show CinemaCon, presenting Dont Worry Darling. This isnt necessarily relevant to the cast drama, but its still incredible that it happened.
- In a recent Variety profile, Wilde claimed that she had fired troubled actor Shia LaBeouf (who is facing assault charges from his ex, the singer FKA Twigs) from the film and replaced him with Styles. LaBeouf immediately disagreed, saying he had quit the production.
- Speculation of a rift between Pugh and Wilde has been rife, fueled by an apparent lack of enthusiasm on Pughs part for promoting the film. There are rumours that Pugh took issue with Wilde and Styles on-set relationship.
- Pugh did not attend the Venice press conference for Dont Worry Darling, officially due to a scheduling clash with the shoot for Dune: Part 2. She made a splashy entrance to the festival minutes later, but did not do any interviews.
- In a much-memed moment, Pine adopted a thousand-yard stare during Styles answers at the press conference.
The screams he's suffocating in his throat are almost visible on twitter.com/AXtiPAd4zx
Someone get chris pine outta there #Venezia79 pic.twitter.com/zmYxmvpbka
- In his own comments, Pine was full of praise for Pugh, whom he was also seen photographing adoringly, but he didnt make much mention of Wilde or Styles.
- Wilde, Styles and Pugh all appeared to take pains not to be photographed next to each other at Venice, often leaving Pine and co-star Gemma Chan to act as human buffers
- In the midst of all this, reviews for the film were posted, and were decidedly mixed.
Interest in the public appearance of the cast in Venice, despite the fact that Pine, a relative bystander who had kept his nose clean of controversy throughout, was caught in the eye of the storm and the main focus of Monday's imagery.
What might have prompted Styles to act out disrespectful to his fellow actor? Some claim that Pines' eye-rolling at the press conference irritated him, while others that his nose was ripped out of joint by Pines' apparent siding with Pugh in the still-apocryphal feud with Wilde.
We will probably never know what we might find out from the alleged expectant in Venice to the alleged on-set romance that started it all; absolutely none of the Dont Worry Darling controversy has been proven. We are all Chris Pine: disassociating blankly amid the noise, or laughing jokingly about the mess that has just been dumped in our lap.
In all of this, the film itself has been completely overshadowed (although there's a school of thought that its box office will benefit) - well be able to judge it on its own terms in a few weeks, and for some certainly its publicists, and possibly Chris Pine, it will come as a blessed relief.
Dont Worry Darling will be released in theaters on September 23, 2022.