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 video, the truth may never come to light. However, there is another issue that we might be able to unravel: Why would anyone believe that?
Dont Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) and co-starring Midsommars Florence Pugh, is currently being promoted by Styles and Pine. The film has been the focus of a storm of celebrity gossip for over a year, culminating in yesterday's premiere at the Venice Film Festival, which produced this nifty-but-unique piece of footage:
#HarryStyles appears to spit on Chris Pine i won't sleep until i know the truth pic.twitter.com/wLXYHTYgU
Styles kneels awkwardly next to Pine to watch the film, then freezes mid-clap and looks down at his lap, as if something had just landed there, or on his shoe. He smiles and shakes his head slightly, as if in shock. Both remain smiling.
The rest of Twitter is freezing, zooming, and expanding in search of some unknowable truth. Does Styles purse his lips and jerk his head forward, infinitesimally? Maybe. Its really Pines' reaction that sells it, plus the incongruous, summery glamor of the setting.
Here's another angle that's no more conclusive, although it does take some time to develop and illustrates that the two men appear to exchange words in a friendly manner following the alleged incident.
Harry takes his seat. #DontWorryDarling #venezia79 pic.twitter.com/by6DmYxvRS
To understand why there was a stir over the clip, you have to take in the context: the whole, torturous, gossipy Dont Worry Darling scam, which assured that footage from the films would be reviewed at its premiere, and body language would be analysed 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 rumors 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 catching in his throat are almost evident on twitter.com/AXtiPAd4zx
Someone get chris pine outta there #Venezia79 photo.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 he had kept his nose clean of controversy throughout, grew up in the eye of the storm and the main focus of Mondays imagery.
What might have motivated Styles to disobey his fellow actors so much? Some claim that Pines' eye-rolling during the press conference aggravated his youthful self, while others that his nose was put out of joint by Pines' apparent siding with Pugh in the still-apocryphal feud with Wilde.
We will probably never know. From the alleged expectorant in Venice to the alleged on-set romance that sparked it all, absolutely none of the Dont Worry Darling scandal is substantiated. We all Chris Pine: disassociating blankly amid the noise or laughing gladly at the bleak mess that has just been dumped in our lap.
In all of this, the film itself has been completely overshadowed (although there is a school of thought that its box office will benefit, after all, there is no such thing as bad publicity). In a couple of weeks, we may well be able to judge it on its own terms, and for some of its publicists, Chris Pine might come as a wonderful relief.
Dont Worry Darling will be released in theaters on September 23.