As he gears up for his return to the big screen, Chris Pine is opening up about the alleged off-screen drama that engulfed the release of his last movie, “Don’t Worry Darling.”
Speaking to Esquire in an interview published Wednesday, the actor finally set the record straight regarding the viral video that appeared to show his “Don’t Worry” co-star Harry Styles spitting on Pine’s lap at the movie’s Venice Film Festival premiere last September.
“It does look, indeed, like Harry spitting on me,” Pine said. “He didn’t spit on me.”
A representative for Pine previously dismissed allegations that Styles sent some saliva Pine’s way, calling the claim “a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation.”
In his chat with Esquire, Pine clarified the moment even further, noting that the two men were merely sharing an inside joke that had been honed over the course of the movie’s grueling press tour.
“I think he said, ‘It’s just words, isn’t it?’” Pine recalled. “Because we had this little joke, because we’re all jetlagged, we’re all trying to answer these questions, and sometimes when you’re doing these press things, your brain goes all befuddled, you know, you start speaking gibberish, and we had a joke like, ‘It’s just words, man.’”
The incident, dubbed “Spitgate” by the internet, was just one flare-up in a veritable media inferno that surrounded the release of “Don’t Worry Darling.” The rollout for the film got off to a rocky start in April 2022, when a representative for actor Jason Sudeikis, the former partner of “Don’t Worry” director Olivia Wilde, served her custody papers pertaining to the former couple’s two children as she was about to deliver a presentation on the movie at CinemaCon.
Other areas of intrigue included conflicting reports about actor Shia LaBeouf’s exit from the film, as well as Wilde’s subsequent romance with Styles, who replaced LaBeouf.
And despite numerous on-the-record denials, Wilde was never able to fully quash rumors that she and actor Florence Pugh feuded on set.
Pine, for his part, insists he was mostly oblivious to any behind-the-scenes turmoil. He did, however, find humor in the memes created with photos of him looking less than enthused during an Italian press conference ― which he once again attributed to jet lag.
“If there was drama, there was drama,” he told Esquire. “I absolutely didn’t know about it, nor really would I have cared. If I feel badly, it’s because the vitriol that the movie got was absolutely out of proportion with what was onscreen. Venice was normal things getting swept up in a narrative that people wanted to make, compounded by the metastasizing that can happen in the Twittersphere. It was ridiculous.”
Pine’s next film is the action-fantasy “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” due in theaters later this month. He’s set to make his directorial debut with “Poolman,” a forthcoming mystery starring Danny DeVito and Jennifer Jason Leigh.