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Olivia Wilde on Harry Styles, Sex Scenes, Don’t Worry Darling

It’s teatime in London, and Olivia Wilde is talking about the O-word. No, not the Oscars, but her approach to sex scenes in her new movie, “Don’t Worry Darling.” “Men don’t come in this film,” she declares over cucumber sandwiches and scones at Claridge’s, just blocks away from Buckingham Palace. “Only women here!”

In Wilde’s second directorial outing after 2019’s indie high school coming-of-age story “Booksmart,” Florence Pugh and Harry Styles star as a married couple living in a quaint, experimental utopia called Victory. Pugh plays Alice, a “Mad Men”-type housewife whose reality begins to crack, revealing disturbing truths underneath her seemingly perfect world. When the trailer for the sci-fi thriller dropped in May, social media was buzzing about Styles’ character, Jack, going down on Alice on top of a dining room table.

“Female pleasure, the best versions of it that you see nowadays, are in queer films,” Wilde says. “Why are we more comfortable with female pleasure when it’s two women on film? In hetero sex scenes in film, the focus on men as the recipients of pleasure is almost ubiquitous.”

Wilde, 38, sees the world through a post-feminist prism, and the women in her films drive action on their own, without the help of men.

“It’s all about immediacy and extreme passion for one another,” Wilde says of the film’s complicated central relationship. “The impractical nature of their sex speaks to their ferocious desire for one another. I think it’s integral to the story itself and how the audience is meant to connect to them. My early conversations with the cast were all about how the audience has to buy into the fantasy.”

Wilde, whose acting credits include everything from the medical drama “House” to Ron Howard’s “Rush” and Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell,” is wearing a black T-shirt, baggy jeans and scuffed-up Converse low tops. On this July afternoon, she has come to Claridge’s directly from a pottery class, with dried clay on her arms when she arrives. “People were looking at me in the bathroom like I probably shouldn’t be here,” says Wilde, seated at a back corner table of the tearoom where she goes unnoticed amid the sea of pastel-adorned guests in pumps and pearls. Without makeup, except a smudge of leftover eyeliner, Wilde looks more like a film student than one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming directors. Showing up alone with no security, she doesn’t seem like someone who’s constantly dodging paparazzi on the cobblestone streets of London — where she lives with her two children, Otis, 8, and Daisy, 5 — being one of the most talked-about celebrities of the moment.

“It’s harder for women to get a second chance at directing,” Wilde says, recognizing that “Booksmart” was a critical triumph but by no means a box office smash, making $25 million on a $6 million budget….

Read More: Olivia Wilde on Harry Styles, Sex Scenes, Don’t Worry Darling

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