“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,” she revealed to Promising Young Woman helmer Emerald Fennell in a conversation for Variety. “[The established actor/director] 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.”
Honestly, if you can’t remind people you’re the director of the movie without picking fights constantly, you’re probably not a very good director! Wilde explained this was the genesis of her “no assholes policy” (the policy that reportedly got Shia LaBeouf fired from DWD), which she says “puts everybody on the same level.”
Fennell agreed, telling Wilde, “This idea of having three arguments a day, where do you differentiate between something that’s really important, and something that isn’t?” The Golden Globe nominee continued, “I think there’s a sort of idea that being a tormented artist is the route to genius. I really do think, as I’ve sort of gotten older, it is just a mask for a lot of fear and anxiety. It’s kind of a sort of synonym for bullying”
As for Booksmart director Olivia Wilde, she sees her gender as helpful to creating a non-hostile on-set atmosphere, because she’s in a position to rethink the toxic auteur worship in the industry. “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,” she said, adding, “I do think it may be a uniquely female instinct to say, ‘Look, we can be nurturing. And we can multitask.’…If anything, I think we’d all benefit to sort of remove the hero narrative from that structure, and to acknowledge that a director is a sum of all these parts.”
And seriously, who has time for three fights a day?