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Margot Robbie on ‘Bombshell,’ ‘Birds of Prey’ and How She Fell in Love With Harley Quinn

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Margot Robbie has excelled at playing real people on screen.

In 2019, she played Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and the year before, she took on Queen Elizabeth I in “Mary Queen of Scots.” In a career-making performance — for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Oscar — Robbie portrayed disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in 2017’s “I, Tonya.”

Tackling the role of Kayla Pospisil — an ambitious young Fox News producer who falls prey to Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) — in “Bombshell” presented a much different challenge. Unlike Charlize Theron’s Megyn Kelly and Nicole Kidman’s Gretchen Carlson, Robbie’s character is fictional, a composite created by screenwriter Charles Randolph to illustrate Ailes’ late-stage sexual harassment and abuse — just before his Shakespearean downfall in the summer of 2016.

I didn’t understand her to begin with,” Robbie says. “But my process is to do a ton of research, consider every single option, know every single situation, scenario, thought and motivation inside and out, so I can step onto set and then let it all go.

She set about figuring Kayla out, using a methodology “Bombshell” director Jay Roach calls “a nerdy desire to get it all down.” She watched the Fox News shows Kayla would have liked, and created a fake Twitter account so she could observe the performative opinionating of “young millennial conservative girls.” (Robbie wouldn’t specify whom she followed, but picture the Tomi Lahrens of the world.)

And she perfected Kayla’s speaking voice, twisting her Australian drawl into a perky Floridian lilt. Roach urged Robbie to watch footage of Katherine Harris, Florida’s former secretary of state, who became famous during the aftermath of the Bush v. Gore presidential election of 2000 and was played by Laura Dern in Roach’s 2008 HBO movie “Recount.” Harris grew up privileged and evangelical in Florida, as did Kayla. “I just love the sounds of her vowels — they’re incredible,” Robbie says. But Harris wasn’t her sole touchpoint: “Every day, I’d do the monologue from ‘Legally Blonde,’” she says, citing Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods as the type of character who is “incredibly smart” but “underestimated because of their looks.”

Robbie’s hard work in “Bombshell,” which was released by Lionsgate, has paid off. She will compete in the supporting actress category this week at the Golden Globes, as well as for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 19. She is a front-runner for an Oscar nomination.

The awards recognition capped off a year in which Robbie created a stir with her affectionate portrayal of Tate in “Once Upon a Time” and filmed “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn,” a spinoff from the 2016 film “Suicide Squad” that she conceived more than four years ago. The movie, which Robbie stars in and produced, hits theaters on Feb. 7. She is currently shooting James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad,” a sequel to the original film, in Atlanta. It’s slated for release Aug. 6, 2021.

Full interview: variety.com

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Margot Robbie on the Liberation of Going R-Rated with Harley Quinn in ‘Birds of Prey’

Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn was the unequivocal breakout from 2016’s infamously troubled Suicide Squad. David Ayer‘s 2016 antihero team-up movie took heat from fans and critics alike, but if there was one thing everyone agreed on, it was that Robbie stole the show as the fan-favorite Harley Quinn in the character’s long-awaited big-screen debut.

With next year’s Birds of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn Robbie’s scene-stealer shakes off the Skwad entirely — not to mention her powerfully terrible paramour Mistah Jay — with an R-rated girl gang movie that takes us back to Gotham through Harley’s eyes, in what director Cathy Yan describes as a “parallel timeline.” But she’s not forging ahead on her own. This time, Harley’s got a new squad; the Birds of Prey, and her on-screen team includes Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) for an adventure that teams the former villainess with some of Gotham’s most famed good guys for a battle against the nefarious Black Mask.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit the set of Birds of Prey at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California, where I had a chance to glimpse the heightened, hyper-colorful world of Harley Quinn’s Gotham through the soundstage-spanning sets and the glitz and glammed up new costumes for the character (who’s become something of an icon of self-reinvention in the comics with her frequent makeovers). We also had a chance to sit down with Robbie during a break in filming, and as both star and producer on the film, she had plenty of insight into how the film was made, from her initial pitch to the studio on the Suicide Squad set, why she decided to bring in the Birds of Prey, settling on Yan as the right director, and embracing the female gaze. Plus, why it was liberating to bring Harley Quinn into an R-rated movie and breaking her free from the Joker.

You’re wearing so many hats with this, what was it about this story that really made you guys want to make this the Harley Quinn movie?
MARGOT ROBBIE
: Well, I first actually pitched the notion when we were actually still shooting Suicide Squad, cause I kept saying like, ‘Oh, Harley does so much better when she has people to play with.’ I kept thinking that in real life I had such a girl gang, like my group of girlfriends, and I just want Harley to have a girl gang. I just want it to be like a girl gang for Harley to be a part of. And then obviously I’d been reading a ton of the comics, anything involving Harley, and one of the separate line of comics is the Birds of Prey, which I started reading. And Harley’s not a traditional member of the Birds of Prey, but it was a fun kind of girl gang to kind of dip in and out of, I suppose.

We saw that Harley is going to have a hyena in this one, you talked about going into comics – so with the hyena and everything else, were there other things from the comics that you dove into that you wanted to make sure you brought into this one?
ROBBIE
: Yeah, there were a couple of like specific images I suppose that always stuck with me from the comics. I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say… Can I mention skates?… Her in a roller derby, for example, I was just like, ‘Ah!’ There’s a couple of visuals I was like, ‘If we could just incorporate this in some way, that’d be great.’ And yeah, her babies, her pet hyenas, definitely, and B.B. of course. I just love how she has such an eclectic group of friends, or loved ones, which I wanted to incorporate.

Can you talk about how this movie is a little bit of an emancipation for your character, to kind of breakaway?
ROBBIE
: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s always a question of what’s… something I explored a lot in Suicide Squad, the first film, was Harley’s co-dependence with The Joker, and obviously he has a huge influence on her. But obviously, she was very much in a relationship with him when we first saw Harley on screen in Suicide Squad. I did want to explore what is the version of Harley out of a relationship, and whether she’s out of the relationship on her own accord or if he kind of kicked her to the curb. It still affects her, but in a very different way, and I thought we’d see a very different facet of her personalities. ‘Personalities’ I would say, cause I think she has multiple.

Full interview: collider.com