Olivia Wilde’s split from longtime partner Jason Sudeikis left fans sincerely puzzled at where things had gone wrong — and when photos emerged of her with former One Direction member Harry Styles at a pal’s wedding some time later, at least part of the answer seemed to be filled in. Styles has just finished up filming on director Wilde’s second feature film Don’t Worry Darling alongside Florence Pugh, and Wilde has been singling out cast and crew members for praise as they celebrate the production’s end, offering a flowery letter of admiration for boyfriend Styles on Instagram today. In her note, she includes a dig at “most male actors” who, she reveals, wouldn’t have gone near the role Styles accepted, and we can’t help but wonder exactly who she’s calling out.
“Little known fact: most male actors don’t want to play supporting roles in female-led films,” Wilde writes. “The industry has raised them to believe it lessens their power (i.e financial value) to accept these roles, which is one of the reasons it’s so hard to get financing for movies focusing on female stories. No joke, it is harrrrrd to find actors who recognize why it might be worth it to allow for a woman to hold the spotlight.”
“Enter: @harrystyles, our ‘Jack,'” she continued. “Not only did he relish the opportunity to allow for the brilliant @florencepugh to hold center stage as our ‘Alice’, but he infused every scene with a nuanced sense of humanity.”
While it’s tempting to believe that Wilde is calling out ex Sudeikis here, it’s ultimately more likely that he’s part of the reason she’s so keenly aware of gender differences in the film industry, and that this is a grievance she’s aired with him many a time over their years-long relationship. On top of that, Wilde has been fighting her way to director status in the industry for some time, breaking out with female-led Booksmart, and seems to have been on a lifelong mission to get to tell women’s stories.
In fact, her comments now echo the same comments she made in 2014 at the State of Female Justice panel, as reported in Glamour: “It’s really hard to get stories made about women, that are about women, not just women being obsessed with men or supporting men. And it’s really hard to get men to be a part of films that are about women in a leading role.”
It sounds like Wilde has faced quite a few male actors over the years who have made the business of telling women’s stories harder than it needs to be. We hope Styles is only the beginning of a new wave.
Before you go, click here to see all the celebrities who are dating or married to older women.