After Olivia, 38, claimed that she fired Shia, 36, from the film during her Variety cover story published on Wednesday, August 24, the Transformers star clapped back by insisting that it was his idea to leave the movie.
In an email sent to Variety on Thursday, August 25, Shia denied he was fired and claimed he “quit the film due to lack of rehearsal time” on August 17, 2020. He also forwarded two emails that he allegedly sent to Olivia on August 24 and August 25 after her cover story was published.
“You and I both know the reasons for my exit. I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse,” Shia wrote in the emails to the Booksmart director.
Shia also sent the outlet screenshots of text messages he claimed to send to Olivia in August 2020, where he told her that he had to back out of Don’t Worry Darling. His role of Jack was later given to Olivia’s now-boyfriend, Harry Styles.
According to the texts, Shia and Olivia met in person to discuss his exit from the film on August 16, 2020, according to the texts. “Thanks for letting me in on your thought process. I know that isn’t fun. Doesn’t feel good to say no to someone, and I respect your honesty. I’m honored you were willing to go there with me, for me to tell a story with you,” Olivia allegedly wrote via text to Shia later that night. “I’m gutted because it could have been something special. I want to make clear how much it means to me that you trust me. That’s a gift I’ll take with me.”
The Even Stevens alum claimed he “officially” quit the film on August 17, 2020. In addition to the emails and texts, Shia sent Variety a video of Olivia that was allegedly sent him on August 19, 2020. In the clip, the Drinking Buddies actress was driving a car and told him she was “not ready to give up on this yet.”
Olivia also alluded to tension between Shia and the film’s female lead, Florence Pugh. “I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us. If she really commits, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point and if you guys can make peace — and I respect your point of view, I respect hers — but if you guys can do it, what do you think? Is there hope? Will you let me know?” she said.
Shia clapped back at Olivia after she claimed he was fired from the project. Prior to Shia breaking his silence, Olivia gave her take on his exit.
“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work. His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions,” she said in her Variety cover story. “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.”
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