Olivia Wilde discusses her movie set ‘zero a-hole policy’

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Olivia Wilde 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals

Olivia Wilde has explained her decision to bring in the “zero asshole policy”, which reportedly resulted in Shia LaBeouf’s firing.

LaBeouf was originally cast to star in the forthcoming drama Don’t Worry Darling but was dropped after reportedly clashing with director Wilde.

“Someone, who’s a very established actor and director in this industry, gave me really terrible advice that was helpful because I just knew I had to do the opposite,” Olivia told Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell during a conversation for Variety.

Olivia Wilde The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Hosts An Official Academy Screening Of Booksmart
Actor, director and producer Olivia Wilde attends The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences official Academy screening of “Booksmart” at the MoMA, Celeste Bartos Theater on May 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences)

“They said, ‘Listen, the way to get respect on a set, you have to have three arguments a day. Three big arguments that reinstate your power, remind everyone who’s in charge, be the predator.’ That is the opposite of my process. And I want none of that,” she continued.

“I think that it is an unfortunate part of the kind of the paradigm, that has been created over the last 100 years, the idea that great art has to come from a place of discomfort and anxiety,” Olivia said.

Olivia Wilde "BOOKSMART" World Premiere - SXSW Film Festival - Austin, TX
Olivia Wilde attends the “BOOKSMART” World Premiere at SXSW Film Festival on March 10, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for United Artists Releasing)

“That the pressure cooker has to get to a point where it can be something intense and valuable in that way. I do think it may be a uniquely female instinct to say, ‘Look, we can be nurturing. And we can multitask.’ It doesn’t mean that anyone needs to be uncomfortable. And it doesn’t mean that I have to constantly remind you of my my position, because I don’t think anyone on a set has ever forgotten who’s in charge. It’s in fact, an incredibly hierarchical system.”

She concluded, “The no a–holes policy, it puts everybody on the same level. I also noticed as an actress for years how the hierarchy of the set separated the actors from the crew in this very strange way that serves no one… I think actors would actually like to know more about what’s happening there when you’re pulling my focus? What is that lens change? But the idea of, don’t bother the actors and keep them separate, and don’t look at them. I think it makes everyone quite anxious.”

Watch Olivia Wilde's conversation with Emerald Fennell

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