Don’t dribble, darling: did Harry Styles really spit at Chris Pine?

The internet was already frothing at the mouth over the backstage wrangles on Olivia Wilde’s new film. And then its stars started opening their mouths

• Styles and Pine deny spit

If you have TikTok, or Twitter, or any social media at all really, there is a very good chance that you have been repeatedly subjected to the same clip all day. If it is real, it is one of the most bizarre clips that has ever made it to the internet. It is a clip of Harry Styles spitting at Chris Pine at the Don’t Worry Darling premiere.

Anyone who has been keeping abreast of Don’t Worry Darling will know that it isn’t particularly good. The BBC called it “an empty shell”, The Daily Beast said that Harry Styles’s “bastardized British accent is a distraction” and Peter Bradshaw observed that the whole film is “a movie marooned in a desert of unoriginality”. But then the film would have had to be an outright masterpiece to overcome its own behind the scenes chaos.

At this point the story has become too unwieldy to succinctly précis, but here goes. A few weeks ago it was rumoured that the film’s star Florence Pugh was involved in some sort of feud with its director Olivia Wilde. As a result, Pugh had withdrawn from the bulk of promotion for the film, leaving Wilde to go it alone. Part of this involved her claiming that she had fired Shia LaBeouf from the film due to her “no asshole policy” onset, but this was undermined by LaBeouf posting a video of Wilde begging him to return to the movie after he apparently quit, during which she described an unseen incident as “a wake-up call for Miss Flo”.

But this is all in the past. Yesterday saw the Don’t Worry Darling premiere take place in Venice, and it was an opportunity for an outward-facing reset for all involved. Everyone was there – even Pugh made it to Italy for the occasion – and everyone had their minds set on nothing but beautiful damage limitation.

And then Harry Styles appeared to spit at Chris Pine. This is what a clip doing the rounds on social media shows. The premiere is about to begin. Chris Pine is sitting awkwardly in his seat, Olivia Wilde on one side and an empty chair on the other. He keeps awkwardly craning his whole body around, as if in anticipation of something. And then Harry Styles wanders into frame, one collar sticking out of his blue suit, to applause from all those assembled. Styles pauses, briefly glances at Pine’s lap and then sits down. Pine stops clapping as if interrupted by something, looks down at his own lap and shakes his head in disbelief. What happened? According to some commentators, it was because Styles hawked up a ream of spit and fired it over Pine’s trousers.

Did Harry Styles just spit on Chris Pine?? #DontWorryDarling

— Matt Ramos (@therealsupes) September 6, 2022

Now, there are three possible explanations here. The first – which isn’t entirely unthinkable – is that nobody spat anything at anyone, and the internet is wetting its knickers over nothing. The second is that Styles did spit on Pine as part of some elaborate in-joke, because Harry Styles is cheeky and Chris Pine is a good egg. But the third is that Harry Styles and Chris Pine are at loggerheads, and the Don’t Worry Darling drama kuzuryū has just birthed another angry head.

The “supporting evidence” for the latter is pretty tenuous. The only clip that rivals the spit for attention at the moment is one of Chris Pine at a junket interview for the film alongside Styles. And while Styles frantically searches himself for eloquence – telling the interviewer that he likes the movie because it feels like a movie – Pine appears to completely dissociate next to him, staring into the void in an apparent attempt to blink through the pain. Could this have taken place just after the pair had a fight? A fight that culminated in a spit? Is that what happened?

There is talk that all this alleged nastiness might derail Don’t Worry Darling, but does it matter at this point? Does the film even matter? Does anything, when the internet now gets to spend the next two weeks analysing every frame of a seven-second Harry Styles video for any sign of proof or motive? In the grand scheme of things, isn’t that the most important thing?


Stuart Heritage

The GuardianTramp

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