How did your involvement in Don’t Worry Darling come about and how was it different from your first collaboration with Olivia Wilde on the short film Wake Up?
Working with her as a director was not much different. It’s so easy for her. She is effortless in the way she is able to explain what she is up to and in the atmosphere. It happened on the short film we worked on together and it happened on this film. Obviously, the Don’t Worry Darling movie had a larger scope, so there was a bit more to consider, but the general gist of it was a loose collaboration.
When we were shooting “Wake Up” she mentioned this film but she was pretty vague about it. She said, “It’s a sci-fi movie set about Palm Springs in the 1950s.” Well, that sounds exciting, but I was on to something… and then the shutdown happened.
I didn’t know, but she was supposed to start shooting in June. It was early summer of that year, 2020. They had to push. I was on something else so I couldn’t even do the film and then sometime in late August or early September she called me and said she was rebooting and [asked if] I would consider doing it even though she prepared the film.
I didn’t ask too many questions about why or what happened. I think she rethought the whole movie and she did a rewrite and I was a part of it. In the end I said yes because I loved working with her and I was intrigued by it. When she mentioned it before, I couldn’t do it.
She suggested it over the phone – I drove. I stopped and wanted to hear more. She mentions things like the Rat Pack, and this idyllic world, and the debauchery, and the beauty, and the sex, and I said, “Okay, that sounds like something I’d like to do.”
I met her in person and we started talking about the pictures hanging behind her on a wall in her office. Slowly but surely I got more and more details [about] her vision about the film. That’s when it started, and because I came in so late, the palette was already finished, the design was set. In that first week of preparation, I had to go all out and get as much information as I could from her and then supplement that with more information from her staff.