Woke Witch makes a Woke movie!
Olivia Wilde Needs to Be in Charge https://www.interviewmagazine.com/film/olivia-wilde-needs-to-be-in-charge
Olivia Wilde has come a long way from the teenager who played the bratty, bisexual bad girl on The O.C. Today, she’s a full-blown movie star who directed the award-winning comedy Booksmart, and this fall will level up with Don’t Worry Darling, a Slim Aarons–inspired erotic thriller starring Florence Pugh and Wilde’s real-life boyfriend Harry Styles. Someone who knows what life is like on both sides of the camera is The Lost Daughter director Maggie Gyllenhaal, who met Wilde at a Paris hotel to talk all about it.
WILDE: Terrifying. We based that character on this insane man, Jordan Peterson, who is this pseudo-intellectual hero to the incel community. You know the incels?
WILDE: They’re basically disenfranchised, mostly white men, who believe they are entitled to sex from women.
GYLLENHAAL: Oh, right.
WILDE: And they believe that society has now robbed them—that the idea of feminism is working against nature, and that we must be put back into the correct place.
GYLLENHAAL: Well, they must be psyched. Things are going really well for them.
WILDE: Yeah, they’re actually succeeding in many different ways. But this guy Jordan Peterson is someone that legitimizes certain aspects of their movement because he’s a former professor, he’s an author, he wears a suit, so they feel like this is a real philosophy that should be taken seriously.
WILDE: Yeah. But it was a dream to work with all these evolved men on this movie who understood what we were trying to say.
GYLLENHAAL: It doesn’t feel pedantic or overly simplistic.
WILDE: Good. I wanted it to be a hot movie that’s a good time and that if later it leads to some conversations, that’s great. But I was trying to create that world of Slim Aarons’s version of 1950s, ’60s Palm Springs, and so, as a female director, it was quite funny for me to be the one saying, “I need more bikinis, more tans. I want everybody sexy, sexy, sexy.”
GYLLENHAAL: There’s a scene with all the women saying goodbye in the morning to the guys in their cars—it’s very stylized, and Florence is in a man’s white shirt, so it’s a trope and a fantasy cliché. But because I know it’s directed by you, that’s a part of my viewing of the movie, so I was like, “How is this going to come back around and be bigger than this image of this hot girl in her boyfriend’s shirt?” And then when that same shot does come back later when you have way more information, you’re like, “Yes, I was waiting for it!” It’s very satisfying.
WILDE: Well, Busby Berkeley fascinates me because he was, first of all, a really complicated figure in his own life and had a lot of issues with women. And he, to me, kind of defined beauty in the most misogynistic way possible.
GYLLENHAAL: Yeah, legs, legs, legs.
WILDE: And complete uniformity, homogeny, women as one mechanism working together, predictable and completely without individual power. He turned them into machines, as a group of 60 dancers who had to be so precise. To work with him, apparently, was murder. He would torture these dancers, but what it created was so beautiful. So the idea was, we love to watch Busby Berkeley films and yet, when you look beyond just the beauty, it’s like, “How punishing, and also how problematic as a message.”
GYLLENHAAL: It’s like the platonic example of objectification.