End of Month Musings
August Mash-Up: compliments, complaints, cultural high points and critiques
O & H, Drama from the start
What a week. What a month. What a season. Summer has officially come and gone and the tan I typically count as my end-of-season "proof of a good time" is still (sadly) nonexistent. It's been a wild three months, to say the least. A lot of big life changes, so I'm strolling into Fall pale-skinned and exhausted for good reason. The balmy weather that rolled in a few days ago feels like an exotic treat. Sporadic thunderstorms and a warm breeze. The perfect end to a perfectly weird week where I was starting to feel like the lead character in a low-budget Indie film I wouldn't even watch.
I had a new friend (a woman that one day I'll be able to write about) call me on a rough day, with a checklist of constructive advice that hit every point I'd been mulling over for weeks. Almost like she'd been walking around collecting looming thoughts in my brain to drill into reality. On another afternoon, when I couldn't focus, I drove myself to the local library where I parked at the curb for far too long. Hesitant because of a lifelong (neurotic) disdain for fluorescent lighting. When I finally walked inside, however, the muted glow bleeding through old stain-glass windows was the only light in the space. A power outage.
"Just like you like it," the old man at the counter (whom I've never seen before) said with a smile, as I walked past him to claim a table in the dark.
I realize that recounting these happenings might sound a little crazy, but I'm ok with that. It's impossible to ignore the steadied alignment that trails me lately. That I’ve written about several times now before, where everything feels connected on a practical and spiritual level. To the point that I’m convinced either JK Rowling is directing the simulated hours of my days, or this is the striking clarity we are gifted in our 40s.
Whatever the case, I'm enchanted.
Behind the screen, new breaks and added insight are arising all the time. I'm on the phone or in contact with sources daily, trying to pin down and organize evolving details and we all know that organization is not my strong suit so I get overwhelmed and react on impulse, buying vintage lawn chairs on eBay or tearing through closets in a frantic (arguably poetic) attempt to declutter my head. Honestly, both seem to work. But the vibrant lawn chairs are harder to explain.
While Mike and Rex were in Costa Rica, I was home alone with the other boys for eight days straight, adjusting to a newly installed security system. And Leon, the only one who understood how to use the app for the cameras, was appointed head property monitor. Thanks to Virgo tendencies, it was a role he swiftly embraced. But when the ongoing threats started up again, I decided to report them to the police to have (at the very least) documentation, should they escalate. One email warned that Substack couldn't protect me from what was “coming,” urging me to rethink sharing more on Amber and the sex parties, with the cryptic sign-off "I hope you can survive this." Another hinted that my kids were at risk. While a more creative approach quoted the Billi Elish song, "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" Insinuating dark fate ahead.
At this point, it's hard to know what to take seriously and what to continue to ignore.
When I called, I made a conscious effort to sound as measured and collected as possible (a tough feat considering the seedy depths of this plot.) Imagine trying to explain the media wars attached to the Depp trial, which ultimately leads to the Elon fiasco. And before you know it, you're on the line rehashing designer embryos and salacious sex tales as possible motives behind the ugly threats currently clogging your inbox. Thankfully, the young woman on the other line got it. When I finished my stripped-down explanation, after a slight pause, she said, in a reply I'll never forget, "can I just say that I follow you?"
I'm pretty sure I laughed out, loud with relief.
After I shared news of this police report, apologies from the most incessant individual followed. Confessing dirty PR tactics, used by the Heard camp, that pay people to harass Depp support sites. (More on that to come)
Mike and Rex are home now so things are winding down and my frazzled mainframe is dissolving. Here’s to hoping September is chock-full of delicious unravelings and unfettered focus. But in the meantime, here’s a recap of a handful of significant August highlights.
* forgive me, I don’t have the energy for the Kanye & Britney family drama at the moment…
Drama on Set: Olivia Wilde Addresses Rumours That Harry Styles Was Paid Way More Than Florence Pugh: “Following mounting speculation on social media, Olivia Wilde has addressed rumors of a pay gap disparity between Don’t Worry Darling co-stars Harry Styles and Florence Pugh. Reports that claimed Styles was paid $2.5 million (£2.12 million) for his role, while Pugh received just $700,000 (£592,000).
In a new interview with Variety, Wilde — who directs, produces, and stars in the film — said:
“There has been a lot out there that I largely don't pay attention to,” the actor explained. “But the absurdity of invented clickbait and subsequent reaction regarding a nonexistent pay disparity between our lead and supporting actors really upset me.”
“I'm a woman who has been in this business for over 20 years, and it's something that I have fought for myself and others, especially being a director,” she continued. “There is absolutely no validity to those claims.”
Many are speculating that Florence missing all of the promo events for the film speaks for itself. But at this point, the off-set drama could prove more thrilling than the film itself.
Here, a hefty recap of the drama timeline Via Glamour Magazine.
April 24, 2020: Deadline reports that Florence Pugh, Shia LaBeouf, and Chris Pine are set to star in Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling.
September 11, 2020: It's announced that Harry Styles will replace LaBeouf in the feature film due to “scheduling conflicts.”
October 2020: DWD begins filming.
November 2020: Wilde announces that she and her fiancé of seven years, Jason Sudeikis, split toward the beginning of the year. “It’s been amicable and they’ve transitioned into a great coparenting routine,” a source told People.“The children are the priority and the heart of the family’s relationship.” The pair share eight-year-old son, Otis, and a five-year-old daughter, Daisy.
December 24, 2020: Variety reports that LaBeouf was actually “dropped from the film” ahead of filming due to “poor behavior.” According to the publication, “His style clashed with the cast and crew, including Wilde, who ultimately fired him.” At the time, both Wilde and LaBeouf declined to comment on the report. “He is not an easy guy to work with,” a source told Variety, adding that LaBeouf was “off-putting.”
The report also makes note of Wilde's alleged “zero asshole policy,” which will come up over and over again over the next year.
January 4, 2021: TMZ reports that Wilde and Styles attended a wedding as a couple as photos of the pair begin to go viral online. According to a source that spoke to People, their relationship blossomed on the set of DWD. “What started as a close friendship, quickly turned romantic,” the insider said at the time. “Everyone saw it coming. During breaks, he wasn't able to stay away and visited her trailer.”
April 27, 2022: A process server delivers custody papers from Wilde's ex Jason Sudeikis to her while she's talking about the film at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Not strictly related to DWD, but it adds to the patina of “people not getting along” that covers everyone even tangentially involved here.
May 2022: If you were wondering how the Styles fandom felt about his relationship…they are not taking it well!
August 7, 2022: Wilde reveals some of the “mood boards” she created for the look of the movie. They are criticized for being a tiny bit basic. Again, not exactly on topic, but an example of the way seemingly every bit of press for this movie seems to backfire.
August 11, 2022: As the press tour for the movie ramps up, fans notice that Florence Pugh is basically absent (her reps say she's in Budapest shooting Dune2) and isn't posting much online, bolstering the rumor that she and Wilde are in a “feud.” Despite Wilde repeatedly complimenting Pugh on social media and in the press (“She’s extraordinary. She’s clearly the most exciting young actress working today,” Wilde told Variety), Pugh doesn't interact with any of Wilde's posts and has so far promoted the movie on Instagram only once, a basic generic teaser post.
August 16, 2022: Pugh reveals to Harper's Bazaar that she and longtime boyfriend Zach Braff have split and says this about the buzz around Don't Worry Darling: “When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry…. Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.” Elsewhere in the Bazaar piece, Pugh praises the crew and COVID nurses who worked on the movie.
August 24, 2022: Wilde talks to Variety, dismissing rumors of a feud, saying, “Tabloid media is a tool to pit women against one another and to shame them.” She also describes the departure of LaBeouf thusly: “His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.”
August 26, 2022: LaBeouf tells Variety that he “quit the film due to lack of rehearsal time.”
Thoughts on Olivia, Harry, Florence, Shia, this whole mess?
Sienna Miller showed off her impossibly cool English cottage wearing these jeans (which I bought and adore)
Isn’t it nice to see a home tour that is not a stark white minimal mansion?
A toxic turn in the marriage of Michelle Branch and Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney is the talk of Nashville. Brach was arrested and charged with domestic assault after admitting to slapping Carney in the face “one to two times” after police were called to their home for a domestic disturbance.
The arrest came after he was caught cheating. In a since-deleted tweet, she exposed the affair discovered while at home with their youngest child, Willa, who was born in February 2022. The couple also shares a son Rhys, born in August 2018.
Some (unconfounded) rumors suggest he may have set her up.
Twitter was quick to side with Brach.
In her statement announcing the breakup, Branch said:
“To say that I am totally devastated doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel for myself and for my family. The rug has been completely pulled from underneath me and now I must figure out how to move forward. With such small children, I ask for privacy and kindness.”
FBI enters the chat, in this increasingly heated feud between Brad and Angie, leading up to court.
What went down: Jolie asked the FBI for an anonymous complaint against Pitt under the name Jane Doe in an attempt to find out why no criminal charges were filed against him. According to Jolie's testimony, before the flight, Pitt had been drinking, and once in the air, Pitt took Jolie to the bathroom and grabbed her by the head, shaking her by the head and shoulders, while they argued over one of their children. Pitt allegedly punched the roof of the plane four times after telling her "You're f***ing this family."
When one of the children asked "Mom, are you okay?" Pitt, reportedly replied "She's not okay. She's ruining this family."
The Fight between Pitt and his son: According to Jolie, after Pitt assaulted their son (whose name was deleted from the report) one kid reportedly shouted, "No, it's you!"
Jolie claims she stopped him and suffered injuries to her back and elbow in her attempt to stop the fight with their son. She also said in the report that Pitt continued to drink during the two-legged trip, later pouring beer on her.
At the end of the flight, for about 20 minutes, Jolie claims Pitt prevented her and her children from resting in a hotel in California by shouting "You're not taking my f***ing kids".
Jolie then sent photos of her alleged injuries to the FBI for the report, as well as testimonies from the children. Six days after the incident she filed for divorce in court in Los Angeles.
Pitt is claiming these newly exposed documents are all part of a ploy to slander his reputation, insisting that Jolie has had all of this evidence in her possession for the past six years and is only dragging it out now to taint him in his case against her.
Photos of Angelina Jolie’s injuries that were allegedly sustained in the fight were revealed in black-and-white photocopies of the photos included in the report.
Probably safe to assume there will be more explosive allegations on the horizon with October court dates quickly approaching.
Will you be watching if Brad & Angie’s court battle goes to televised trial by jury?
An excerpt from Jeannette Mcurdy’’s newest book (getting rave reviews) Via Vanity Fair:
“In this excerpt from her memoir, McCurdy details the inappropriate behavior she claims “The Creator” exhibited, including pressuring her to drink while underage; massaging her at work; and being offered $300,000 by Nickelodeon to keep it all quiet. (Vanity Fair has reached out to the network for comment.)
“Come on, take a sip.”
Cute New Couple Alert: Katie Holmes and Bobby Wooten III
Katie and Bobby apparently met “through friends.” And the new romance is already notorious for one sweet thing: frequent strolls around the big city.
All I know is that she looks well dressed and better-loved. And after the horrors of Tom, don’t we all love to see it?