BIPOC Voices, Entertainment

Kiki Layne and Ari’el Stachel cut from most of ‘Don’t Worry Darling’

Maybe we should still worry about its legacy.

words by: Kayla Carmicheal
Sep 28, 2022

Even after the disaster (and sometimes disassociation) that was the Don’t Worry Darling press tour, the movie opened #1 at the box office this past weekend. Those who were seduced by the public mess, Harry Styles fans, annoyed partners, and others alike flocked to the cinema to see what all the hype, good or bad, was about.

 

So far, reviews are mixed. But what’s interesting, though, is that Black actress, Kiki Layne, and Jewish actor, Tony-winning Ari’el Stachel, didn’t attend any of the press events. Additionally, they have recently spoken out about being drastically cut from the film.

 

If you’ve seen the film, Kiki Layne’s character, Margaret, was the catalyst for the entire plot. Or at least, what bits of the plot we were shown. A former friend, Margaret, tries to tell Alice (Florence Pugh), that all wasn’t swell in their idyllic ’50s-style suburb, Victory. She tried to give her a heads-up multiple times before jumping off of her roof and being carried away by numerous men in red jumpsuits. Seeing this is what pushes Alice to start questioning what she doesn’t know about her life in Victory.

 

During the opening weekend, Layne posted a carousel of behind the scenes moments with her character’s husband, played by Stachel. Among them, a video showing they were supposedly in a huge scene at some point.

 

Layne mentioned in the caption, “The best thing about #DontWorryDarling is that I was lucky enough to meet [Ari’el Stachel]. They cut us from most of the movie, but we thriving in real life.”

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by KiKi Layne (@kikilayne)

 

Stachel posted a fun little TikTok of him dancing in front of a backdrop of tweets pointing out that he wasn’t in it enough, the caption noting that most of his performance ended up “on the cutting room floor.”

 

Seriously, Margaret was barely in the movie, and Tom was probably in 2 scenes.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ari’el Stachel (@arielstachel)

 

But if Margaret’s character was so important, as we definitely saw in the entire first act, why didn’t we see more of her? She and her husband, Tom, certainly left way more to be desired than what we saw. How did Margaret find out about Victory? What, exactly, did she find out? What prompted her to call Alice? What happened to her after she disappeared?

 

A lot of Margaret and Tom’s story is told by other characters — the white ones. Margaret is the only Black character with lines in the movie. Not only that, but she was gaslit and subjected to horrible, frightening treatment in her limited appearances. As many have pointed out, there is a deeper connotation from Margaret’s scenes that can be deduced from audiences.

 

I think this quote from The Ringer sums it up best: “Wilde’s deployment of a stoic, suffering African American woman as combination truth-teller and sacrificial lamb is the worst kind of cliché, with Layne’s character slaughtered on the altar of a white heroine’s triumphant self-actualization.”

 

It raises eyebrows, why or just how much of the two were cut from the film. In my opinion, there was definitely room for more of them, and I can’t help but wonder just how much the movie suffered without them. As it stands, their depiction isn’t great due to many cultural layers.

 

For a complete breakdown of all the drama that happened before Don’t Worry Darling even hit the big screen, we got you.

 

Photo via Kiki Layne