Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling checks all the boxes for success: captivating script, incredible cast, Hypnotizing visual language, and of course exceptional directing. Producer Miri Yoon was involved in the making of this film from the earliest stages; so far back that when Ms. Wilde expressed interest in being involved as an actor, Miri pivoted to engage her with the idea of sitting in the director’s chair. Ms. Yoon remarks, “I was a fan of the first film Olivia directed (the Independent Spirit Award–winning Booksmart). Happily, she was receptive to a conversation about directing Don’t Worry Darling. To her credit, the pitch we took out to buyers alongside the original script generated a great deal of interest, so we spent time meeting with the teams from various studios in our search to find the right home for the movie. The process was a flurry of activity, necessitating a calm center of this chaotic process.” That perfect storm of events resulted in a film which is being hailed as a psychological statement of societal and gender roles existing both in a bygone era and modern times. Don’t Worry Darling is enchanting and disturbing all at the same time, a feat seldom achieved with such gravitas and style. 

  There’s nothing typical or standard about this film. While the high profile cast includes the aforementioned Ms. Wilde, Florence Pugh (Academy Award nominated for Little Women), Harry Styles (multiple Grammy Award winner), Chris Pine (Primetime Emmy and People’s Choice Nominee as well as winner of GQ’s International Man of the Year), Gemma Chan (SAG Award Nominee for Crazy Rich Asians), and Kiki Layne (of Oscar Award–winning film If Beale Street Could Talk) certainly entices audiences, Miri was excited by the original script and helped develop this, in addition to bringing Olivia aboard as the director. Ms. Yoon communicates, “The original script was an entertaining and engaging as any commercial studio film should be, and also had such a clear purpose. While the original script evolved significantly with Olivia and her writing partner aboard, the foundation for Alice’s world, for the simulation, for the starting point of the conversation about those who benefit from the system, was all there to build upon. There was something immediately relatable about Alice as a character and her journey finally choosing to question a system, even if it was benefiting her. Jack became an equally nuanced character who, while perhaps adhering to stereotypical tropes of men of that period, ultimately revealed himself to have more complex impulses. It was clear to me that there was more than meets the eye in this movie, and that intrigued me early on. It clearly also put a lot of wind in our sails in assembling an A+ creative team to shepherd the film. As a producer, I believe firmly in the strength of the page and it was clear to me there was something meaningful here to attract an incredible director, cast, buyer, etc. – which of course it did.”

  It could be said that producing Don’t Worry Darling was potentially more intimidating than most films for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the film’s production during the early days of Covid 19. Add to the enormous health and safety constraints such aspects as securing incredible locations within historic Palm Springs neighborhoods (not known for welcoming film productions), elaborate dance choreography, and large numbers of extras at a time when distancing was paramount; all of which created a perfect storm scenario. Miri confesses, “In many ways, this as one of the more difficult projects I’ve had to produce. It required firing on all cylinders at all times. Yet, despite what seemed to be an infinite series of challenges, we were able to meet the creative ambitions of the project every single day. Despite all the challenges it was a monumental effort which  we can be proud of.” 

Don’t Worry Darling is lavish. It’s an aesthetically stylized and beautiful film steeped in creeping anxiety, in the most enjoyable manner. The intent of the filmmakers is to make you question your reality through that of Alice’s world and state of mind. In truth, it’s completely honest to say that experiencing this film is both pleasurable and disturbing; this dichotomy is the result of artistic excellence. Miri Yoon’s participation in the creation of this production has allowed it to reach such a lofty creative bar. Great producing is not obvious, until you see it and recognize it in a film such as this.   

Writer: Basil Thomson

By Punit