I keep getting this feeling that Don’t Worry Darling (Warner Bros., 9.23) is that train in The Greatest Show on Earth, hurtling towards those circus animal-filled freight cars…Lyle Bettger yelling “stohhhhpp!…stohhhhpp!…can’t you see the lights?“…and then kehr-SMASSH-bong-deedee-lamp-BONG-BAAHHRR-BANG-BOOM-rowr-screeeech-aaagghh.

And it’s not so much about the film as the Florence Pugh vs. Olivia Wilde catfight…what a shit show!

First it was Pugh strangely saying she somehow resented Wilde’s on-set affair with Harry Styles**. Then refusing to reciprocate Wilde’s positive Instagram posts. And then it became clear that Don’t Worry Darling would be ducking all stateside film festivals. And then Pugh, filming the Dune sequel in Budapest, refused to talk to Variety‘s Elizabeth Wagmeister for a Wilde profile piece. And now Shia Labeouf (originally cast in the Styles role) is claiming that he was not fired by Wilde, and that it partly boiled down to some kind of conflict with Pugh. (In a text/email Wilde alluded to unsettled vibes between LaBeouf and Pugh…“You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo“.)

Will the huffy Pugh show up for the Venice premiere, or will she again beg off over Dune 2 duties in Budapest?

There’s so much sturm und drang surrounding Don’t Worry Darling that it’s easy to assume…dammit, no assumptions, no coasting along on gossip. Is it fair or unfair to call it a hopelessly doomed film? Unfair, I’d say. Seriously, who’s actually seen it? And what have they said?

Could Olivia Wilde be the new Ida Lupino? I sorta kinda doubt it but maybe she is. We can all smell trouble but who knows? I know nothing.

Most of us understand that the negative advance buzz on Don’t Worry Darling has become so bad that the Venice Film Festival reviews might actually turn out to be kind, given that everyone is expecting a calamity.

** On-set affairs are par for the course, been happening since the film industry began, etc. Who complains about them? You can’t stop passion.