Venice gets a dose of Harry Styles fever

British singer and actor Harry Styles poses during a photocall for the film “Don’t Worry darling” presented out of competition as part of the 79th Venice International Film Festival at Lido di Venezia in Venice, on 5 September 2022. (Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP)

Fans went wild for the arrival of music star Harry Styles in Venice on Monday, but any discussion of controversies around his film “Don’t Worry Darling” was quickly shut down.

The mere presence of the 28-year-old in the film — a dystopia about a seemingly-perfect community with dark secrets — has ensured the internet is awash with unsubstantiated gossip.

Claims that the film’s lead star, Florence Pugh, fell out with director Olivia Wilde over the latter’s relationship with Styles have been denied but continue to keep tongues wagging.

And there was further grist to the mill when Pugh failed to show up for the film’s press conference in Venice — though she was due to walk the red carpet for the premiere later on Monday.

Wilde had clearly had her fill of the rumors.

“As for all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise out there, the internet feeds itself, I don’t feel the need to contribute, I think it’s sufficiently well-nourished,” Wilde told reporters.

Pugh, who plays a housewife determined to reveal the community’s secrets, was reportedly late to Venice because she was filming “Dune: Part Two” in Hungary.

“Florence is a force and we’re so grateful that she’s able to make it tonight despite being in production on ‘Dune’,” Wilde said.

“I can’t say enough how honored I am to have her as our lead.”

‘Very lucky’

With millions of fans hanging on his every word, Styles was typically cautious.

Asked about balancing his acting and music careers, Styles said he found them “opposite in a lot of ways”.

“Making music is a really personal thing. There’s aspects of acting where you’re drawing from experience, but for the most part you’re pretending to play someone else. That’s what I find the most fun about it,” he said.

He will soon also be seen in “My Policeman”, having a passionate same-sex affair at a time when homosexuality was illegal in Britain.

But Styles was non-committal about whether more acting was in his future.

“I feel very lucky that I get to do something that I love as a job and being able to explore this has made me feel even luckier,” he said. “In terms of the future, I try not to think about it too much… one day at a time.”

Wilde said she hopes “Don’t Worry Darling” will generate discussion about patriarchal control at a contentious moment in US politics.

“It’s unfortunately very timely but it’s also timeless. I don’t think there’ll ever be a time when the idea of controlling someone’s body is not relevant to fight against,” Wilde said.

“We want women to feel they are being heard and to feel inspired by… the kind of revolutionary who’s willing to sacrifice everything to do what’s right,” she added.

“Those are the superheroes I want to see at this time.”


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