Harry Styles Made A Key Contribution To Don't Worry Darling's Score

Harry Styles hit the world stage as a member of the band One Direction and made a name for himself with his subsequent solo career. He added acting to his resume, gaining rave reviews for his role in 2017's "Dunkirk," and is about to star in the Olivia Wilde-directed film "Don't Worry Darling." Styles plays Jack Chambers, a man living a seemingly idyllic life with his wife Alice (Florence Pugh) in an experimental 1950s suburb. Alice's world starts to break down when she discovers that not everything is as it should be.  

With "Don't Worry, Darling," Styles is mostly acting, but he did draw on his musical talents to help create the ambiance of this fictional world. His musical contribution to the film's score is key to Alice's character development, according to a Vanity Fair interview with Wilde. The director, who also plays Alice's best friend Bunny, mentioned in that interview that early conversations with the cast involved "how the audience has to buy into the fantasy." What Styles did in terms of music directly relates to the moments Alice and the audience are pulled out of that fantasy. 

'What's the trigger song?'

In the interview, Wilde spoke about having the cast give creative input for "Don't Worry Darling," and she has a good reason. "They are responsible for creating the life of the character, so they bring so many ideas," she told the outlet. 

In the film, Alice is one of the few people who begins to question this perfect-on-the-surface community and starts to look for the secrets it might be hiding. As you may have seen in the trailer, the crisis she's going through causes her to attempt self-harm, and a glass window begins to crush her against the wall. The film won't premiere until late next month, so we don't know right now if that part is real or a hallucination, but it's visually arresting regardless.

In the world of the film, the site reports that Alice can be heard humming "a mysterious tune," which is a prominent part of the score. While the discussions about character were happening with the cast, Wilde said that Styles called her and asked, "What's the trigger song? Like, what's the melody?" She told him that there were writers on it, but asked if he had any ideas. She said:

"Five minutes later, he sent me a demo from his piano, and it was what ended up in the film. He called me and said, 'What about this?' And I was like, 'Yeah, that's it. That's it. And that's really insane that you did that in five minutes."

From the context here, it seems that this melody may be the thing that's triggering Alice to wake up from her carefully curated existence. One example of something like this is how "All Along the Watchtower" triggered memories and revealed Cylons in "Battlestar Galactica," affecting the plot dramatically.

'Sweet and creepy'

Styles contributed to the Vanity Fair story through email while on tour and talked about that trigger song, saying:

"I wanted something that could be both sweet and creepy, entirely dependent on the context. I remember first playing it on the piano, and it had a sort of homemade nursery rhyme feel to it. Applied to the different moments in the film, I think it takes on a couple of different lives — I hope."

Is the song the refrain we hear over and over again in the trailer? That could certainly be played as both sweet and creepy, and that's very likely it. It's a trick that trailer houses often use to set a mood; taking a happy song and slowing it down or changing the key. Think "I've Got No Strings" from the animated "Pinocchio" film being twisted to put viewers on edge in the "Avengers: Age of Ultron" trailer

This is one of the most intriguing trailers to come out in a while, and after Wilde's directing work in the 2019 film "Booksmart," I'm very much looking forward to seeing what she does with this story.

"Don't Worry Darling" will hit theaters on September 23, 2022.