Cinematographer Matty Libatik takes us backstage at Don’t Worry Darling

How did you get involved in Don’t Worry Darling and how was it different from your first collaboration with Olivia Wilde on the short film Wake Up?

In terms of collaborating with her as a director, it wasn’t that different. It’s so easy for her. She easily explains what she needs and the atmosphere of it. It happened in a short we worked on together, and it happened in this movie. Obviously, Don’t Worry Darling was on a larger scale, so there was a bit more to take care of, but overall it was a quiet collaboration at its core.

When we were filming Wake Up, she mentioned the movie, but it was rather vague. She said, “It’s a Palm Springs sci-fi movie set in the 1950s.” Sounds intriguing, but I was already on something… and then the blackout happened.

I didn’t know it, but it was supposed to be filming in June. It was at the beginning of the summer of that year, in 2020. I had to tighten up. I was on something else so I couldn’t even make a movie and then she called me around late August or early September and said she was rebooting and [asked if] I would consider coming even though she prepared the film.

I didn’t ask too many questions about why or what happened. I think she reviewed the whole movie and was going to redo it and I was part of that. I finally agreed because I enjoyed working with her and was intrigued by it. When she mentioned it before, I couldn’t do it.

She told about it on the phone – I was driving. I stopped and wanted to hear more. She mentions things like the Rat Pack, this idyllic world, depravity, beauty and sex, and I thought, “Okay, this is what I would like to do.”

I met her in person and we started chatting about the images that were posted behind her on the wall in her office. Slowly but surely I learned more and more details. [about] her vision for the film. This is where it all started, and since I arrived so late, the palette was already set, the design was ready. In that first week of training, I had to get down to business and get as much information from her as possible, and then supplement it with additional information from her staff.

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