Don’t Worry Darling cast & character guide – meet Harry Styles, Florence Pugh and the flesh-creeping residents of Victory

Florence Pugh as Alice in Don't Worry Darling film still

© 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Don’t Worry Darling might be billed as the first ‘proper’ Harry Styles movie – but this skin-prickling psychological thriller boasts an all-star ensemble cast and the shadiest characters you’ll meet all year. From cult leaders to queen bees, here’s your guide to the Don’t Worry Darling cast. 

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Don’t Worry Darling release date: September 23rd 

Florence Pugh as Alice in Don't Worry Darling film still

© 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Don’t Worry Darling cast #1 – Florence Pugh is Alice

As the new arrival to the Californian company town of Victory, Alice is nailing this ‘perfect housewife’ stuff. Iron the shirts. Cook the dinner. Vacuum the hall. Swallow down the terrible suspicion that her husband is secretly at work on a monstrous scientific experiment.  

Actually, that last one is more of a problem. As her fellow homemakers start to disappear and Alice questions what the menfolk of Victory are really up to, her perfect world turns to ashes. Friends’ smiles freeze to ice. Fresh eggs are revealed to be empty shells. Then there are the visions: Alice sees herself crushed by walls, drowned in bathtubs, suffocated by plastic sheeting, ramming her face into a dance studio mirror. But is any of it real? 

Oxford-born Florence Pugh knows a thing or two about communities with rotten cores. That’s her as the may queen in 2019’s folk-horror Midsommar, bedecked with flowers and falling under the cultists’ spell as her friends are skinned, stuffed and burnt alive. That’s her in Black Widow as Yelena Belova, the Russian assassin haunted by her Red Room training. 

I guess all of my movies have that element of women being forced into a corner, forced into an opinion, forced into a way of life,Pugh told Harper’s Bazaar of her lead role as the gaslit and unravelling Alice. “And then finally, something cracks.

 


Harry Styles as Jack and Florence Pugh as Alice in Don't Worry Darling film still

© 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Don’t Worry Darling cast #2 – Harry Styles is Jack

Hang on – isn’t that the planet’s most beloved pop star, feted for such bangers as Watermelon Sugar? Yes, but you’ll be surprised how fast you jettison the baggage that Harry Styles inevitably brings to Don’t Worry Darling and accept the 28-year-old as simply a damn fine actor in his own right.  

As Jack, he’s the picture of a dutiful husband, assuring Alice that moving to Victory won’t change their unblemished love story (“You and me. Always”). He’s a generous lover (Don’t Worry Darling’s sex scenes are a major reason for the film’s 15 rating) and brings home the bacon, too, working round the clock and on the fast track for promotion. And yet… is there something sinister behind Jack’s boyish good looks and button-down boardroom vibe? 

Haters gonna hate, but Styles’ first lead performance will have the cinema in the palm of his hand. “He truly holds his own,” wrote GQ. “We’d go as far as to say he’s pretty bloody good. He could very easily hide behind those hot steely blues, but the performance is surprisingly unvain – even appropriately ugly, of a character intended to wield dwindling allure.

 


Chris Pine as Frank in Don't Worry Darling film still

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Don’t Worry Darling cast #3 – Chris Pine is Frank

Park up your Cadillac in Victory and the first guy you’ll meet is Frank. As founder of the Victory Project and de facto community leader, he’ll shake your hand warmly and help with your cases, all glossy suntan, slicked-back hair, pearly whites and designer sunglasses. What a nice guy, you’ll think to yourself, incorrectly.  

Because the longer you spend with Frank, the more he smacks of a fanatical cult leader, demanding unwavering loyalty from the women and leading the zombified call-and-response with Victory’s residents each morning (“What are we doing? Changing the world!”). Speak up at a dinner party, or ask too many searching questions, and you might just find that you vanish into the desert breeze. You wouldn’t be the first. 

Speaking to Interview Magazine, Director Olivia Wilde said the character of Frank was written based on the controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. But it’s Chris Pine who makes him chilling. You know the 42-year-old best for his portrayals of decent blokes (like Wonder Woman’s Steve Trevor) and heroes (like Star Trek’s James T. Kirk).  

But from here on in, the Californian actor is destined to be best-known for the laser glares and wolfish smiles of Victory’s puppet-master, a character who the Hollywood Reporter says, “allows Pine to show what a devilishly charismatic villain he can be”.  

 

Olivia Wilde as Bunny and Nick Kroll as Dean in Don't Worry Darling film still

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Don’t Worry Darling cast #4 – Olivia Wilde is Bunny and Nick Kroll is Dean

Not only in the director’s chair for Don’t Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde also plays the town’s queen bee. Bunny is the model of a Victory wife: beautiful, dutiful, ever-so-slightly reptilian and always ready to drown out the growing evidence of scientific evil with a large Sauvignon Blanc. Is she really pulling the strings in her marriage to Dean, played by comedian and seasoned animation voice actor Nick Kroll (Sing, The Secret Life Of Pets 2)?

Wilde has joked that she took the role “for a really low salary” when budgets ran out, and revealed that Bradley Cooper convinced her she could handle both directing and acting in Don’t Worry Darling. Not that doing double-duty was always easy. “I was in a bustier and heels and a wig,” she told Maggie Gyllenhaal. “They were coming at me doing these necessary but frustrating touch-ups at every second, and I was like, ‘I need to be at the monitor, I need to be in charge.’ I found that to be really hard.

 


Gemma Chan as Shelley in Don't Worry Darling film still

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Don’t Worry Darling cast #5 – Gemma Chan is Shelley 

The first time most of us saw Gemma Chan was in 2015’s Humans, when we spent the whole first series wondering if her icy house-droid was actually a sentient killer.  

Since then, the British actress has lit up the big screen in everything from Crazy Rich Asians to Marvels’ Eternals. But in Don’t Worry Darling, Chan returns to her dead-eyed and deeply unsettling speciality as Frank’s glacial wife, Shelley.  

There is beauty in control,” trills Shelley as she leads the wives through yet another dance class, something otherworldly flashing in her eyes. “There is grace in symmetry.” Shudder…

 


Kiki Lan as Margaret in Don't Worry Darling film still

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Don’t Worry Darling cast #6 – KiKi Layne is Margaret

Alice isn’t the first rebel wife. After Margaret trespasses into the desert where the Victory Project is going down – another cardinal sin for spouses – she suffers a mental breakdown and the powers-that-be step in to tidy up the mess. At one point in the Don’t Worry Darling trailer, we see Margaret teetering on a roof – and she’s definitely not up there for the view.  

What could have been a low-key role turns out to be a ghostly, tragic performance by an actress who previously lit up 2018’s Oscar-winning If Beale Street Could Talk. You might come to Don’t Worry Darling for Harry Styles and Florence Pugh, but you’ll be quietly devastated by Layne. 

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Don’t Worry Darling release date: September 23rd