As we all remember, the first few days of 2020 were already a preview of the chaos the year would bring: talks of World War III, news of a growing epidemic, Kobe Bryant’s untimely death. By the end of the year, we were begging for the headlines to just stop. In the first few days of 2021, it seems we’ve only encountered one bombshell so far. The big news I speak of? Harry Styles’ new alleged love affair.
Isn’t that better than international bomb threats? While it might be less interesting news, it’s a relief to see celebrity drama circulating again after last year’s traumatic news cycle. The news broke Monday after the singer was spotted with Booksmart director Olivia Wilde at a wedding, masked and holding hands.
Many were excited to hear of Styles’ involvement in Wilde’s upcoming film, Don’t Worry Darling, when the news broke in 2020. The film is a psychological thriller set in 1950’s California, with Midsommar star Florence Pugh starring as Styles’ paranoid housewife. With Dakota Johnson, Chris Pine and Wilde herself also starring in the movie, it’s essentially a dream-casting for Film Twitter. Fans didn’t expect this star-studded workplace romance, though.
— V (@VirtualShowz) January 4, 2021
PDA or PR?
The internet jumped to conclusions after seeing the paparazzi photos of Styles accompanying Wilde (not to mention, in her stunning floral dress). From TMZ to People Magazine, the news has spread across every tabloid in the country. While there are no confirmations or denials yet, it’s safe to assume the claims are still pretty questionable.
It just so happens that Wilde and Styles’ movie is currently in production and receiving a surplus of media attention. If you aren’t invested in the film by now, you’ve essentially been living under a rock. It’s hard to avoid it, with its updates and behind-the-scenes photos constantly trending on Twitter. But now they’ve kicked it up a notch. I mean, what’s better press than a juicy on-set relationship? Styles, one of the most currently adored musicians dipping his toes into acting, and Wilde, a veteran actor-director fresh out of her decade-long partnership? Now that’s a juicy couple.
Clearly it was bold enough to gain worldwide media traction. Now, according to a “close source,” the couple has been at it for only a couple of weeks now. With a fresh relationship, you’d think you would want to keep in on the down-low for a bit—give it time to blossom before taking it public. It’s also odd that Styles, someone usually discrete with his relationships and projects, would be so open in his newly-kindled romance.
Not to mention, it’s very soon for Wilde, who recently ended her engagement to Jason Sudeikis after nearly ten years and two children, Daisy and Otis. Most people would need much longer to heal from such a deep wound, even if Harry Styles was hitting them up.
It’s safe to say there’s some reasonable suspicion surrounding this seemingly perfect Hollywood hookup.
if you're saying that olivia wilde and harry styles are dating you're either a middle schooler or a tabloid magazine
— kate (@WXDEEYES) January 4, 2021
Cute or Cliché?
The issue is not with Styles or Wilde themselves. It’s the fact that they are so interrelated with work and the celebrity scene. Of course, on-set romance happens from time to time, but the fact that this romance has been so publicized, along with the film, just seems superficial.
We see this happen all the time with film and music projects: couples popping up right before the release of a new movie or song collaboration. Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello linked up following the release of their sensual hit “Señorita,” which set off many people’s PR alarms. Harry Styles himself was Taylor Swift’s infamous ex who allegedly inspired 1989, though the two hardly were together outside paparazzi shots. It’s a common occurrence, especially with Styles, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the two were brought together for promotional purposes.
The couple’s dynamic is not only superficial, but a cliché too. The actor falls for the star of their film — the classic Hollywood trope. The Me Too movement slightly took the romance out of it, though. I’m afraid that if the roles were reversed, many would find a problem with the couple’s power dynamics. Some might claim Styles was granted the role solely due to Wilde’s interests in him, which she certainly had, citing his looks as an influencing factor in casting.
As of right now, we don’t know what’s real and what’s free advertisement. I mean, they held hands once. All we know is that Don’t Worry Darling‘s cast is going to have some amazing chemistry. In fact, people say it’s always good to develop a strong relationship with your director. And well, let’s just say Styles certainly took that advice to heart.