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Margot Robbie on Quentin Tarantino, Marriage, and the One Word She Hates Being Called

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MARGOT ROBBIE ALWAYS thought that once she was a good enough actor, she would write Quentin Tarantino a letter. Just to get on his radar. Or at least to let him know how much his movies meant to her. She was sure people must tell him that all the time. But still. “I’ve always been a huge—huge—Tarantino fan,” she tells me one afternoon in Los Angeles. “I love his movies. Love them.” After Robbie watched the first cut of I, Tonya, the 2017 biopic about figure skater Tonya Harding, which Robbie produced and starred in, she decided she was finally good enough. (The performance would earn her an Oscar nomination.) “So I wrote him and said, ‘I adore your films, and I would love to work with you in some capacity. Or any capacity.’

When Tarantino received Robbie’s letter, he’d recently finished the script for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a romp through the movie industry of the late 1960s, which opens this month. Friends who’d read the script had already asked if he’d be casting Robbie in the role of Sharon Tate, the actress, wife of Roman Polanski, and most famous victim of the Manson murders. Then Robbie’s letter arrived. The timing was spooky enough that Tarantino thought they should meet. Soon Robbie was sitting at the director’s kitchen table, reading the script. Robbie is a careful reader; it took her four hours. Tarantino would occasionally pop in to offer her food or a Victoria Bitter, an Australian beer. When I later ask Tarantino what made Robbie right for the role, he tells me, “Margot looks like Sharon Tate. . . . And she can convey Sharon’s innocence and purity—those qualities are integral to the story.”

Tarantino’s film is about the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age, but Robbie, who is 28, has come to represent so much of what’s new. As an Australian soap actress, she entered Hollywood being typecast. She played the bronzed, gold-digging beauty in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, the hot blonde explaining mortgage bonds from a bubble bath in 2015’s The Big Short, and Jane following Alexander Skarsgård’s Tarzan into the Congo. But it turned out Robbie wanted more than these roles. It turned out she wanted to put on a fat suit for I, Tonya and to cover her face in boils for Mary Queen of Scots and to produce female-driven projects via her production company, LuckyChap Entertainment. Part of the charm in Robbie’s Tarantino story is that it—like the film itself—sounds very old Hollywood: An aspiring actress writes a fan letter to an auteur director in hopes of getting cast in one of his nostalgia-loving films. But Hollywood is changing, and while Robbie may have arrived at the end of an era, she is now among the women ushering in a new one.

Today we’re on the set of Birds of Prey, a spin-off of 2016’s Suicide Squad that Robbie developed and pitched to Warner Bros. as an R-rated, female-led superhero action film—a commercialized product of new Hollywood if ever there was one. “I think there’s a perception that a PG female-led action film is kind of considered a chick flick,” says Robbie.

At $75 million, this is LuckyChap’s largest project to date, but Robbie seems unperturbed. “Well, we’re on schedule and on budget, which is a wonderful place to be.” In Birds, which is due out next year, Robbie will reprise her role as Harley Quinn, the Joker’s ex. But today she’s primarily a producer. Wandering the set in jeans and a smiley-face T-shirt with two hearts for eyes, her cell phone suspended from a rope in place of a purse, she introduces me to the women who work with her: Cathy (Yan), the director; Jody, the script supervisor; Sue, a producer. We run into Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has spent the day performing stunts as Huntress, a crossbow wielding vigilante. Winstead pulls down her track pants to reveal a bruise on her hip. “Shit,” Robbie says. “That looks legit.

The day’s shoot is at a medieval-style stone abbey in Highland Park. “Sorry I’m not taking you to paint mugs or something,” Robbie says. She’s referring to the tropes of celebrity profiles, the skydiving or skateboarding or whatever else actresses are supposed to do to charm writers. When I say that it is nearly impossible to find a story in which she’s not described as a “bombshell,” Robbie suppresses an eye roll. “I hate that word. I hate it—so much. I feel like a brat saying that because thereare worse things, but I’m not a bombshell. I’m not someone who walks in a room and the record stops and people turn like, ‘Look at that woman.’ That doesn’t happen. People who know me, if they had to sum me up in one word I don’t know what that word would be, but I’m certain it would not be bombshell.

Full interview: vogue.com

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Exclusive Preview: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood

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Quentin Tarantino was six years old and living in the Los Angeles area when, in the summer of 1969, hell broke loose. You know this story: five people murdered over the course of two days that August, shot and stabbed by a clan of hippie impressionables in anticipation of Helter Skelter, Charles Manson’s idea of holy terror. It’s a Hollywood tale—not least because its most famous victim, the pregnant actress Sharon Tate, was the wife of director Roman Polanski, which put the terror square in the back lot’s backyard.

But it’s a Hollywood story for bigger reasons. This was an era, not merely an event; a lifestyle, a people, a widespread obsession—not merely a spot on a timeline or map. The city is a sprawl. So was 1969. And so is the work of Quentin Tarantino, whose last three movies were violent but (mass Nazi execution notwithstanding) playful excursions into history, all of them riffs on the deviant style and rough talkiness of the Westerns Tarantino loves, even the Dirty Dozen-esque World War II picture Inglourious Basterds, in which a motley troop of American badasses, a mock-Tennessean Brad Pitt at its helm, takes its grievances out on Nazi skulls.

Now he’s back with a Western of a different stripe: an old-school L.A. story à la Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, the kind of city epic only a nostalgic of Tarantino’s wit and peculiarity could attempt to really do justice. Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a faded TV Western star and Pitt as his stunt double, is, as its sand-battered title suggests, a throwback. For Los Angeles, sure, but also for Tarantino, who, after traveling as far and wide as the Third Reich and the Shaolin Temple, is bringing it home.

Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood will be released July 26.

Source: vanityfair.com

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Margot Robbie and Michael B. Jordan Compare Notes on Boxing, Acting Naked, and Harley Quinn vs. Killmonger

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Margot Robbie and Michael B. Jordan seem to effortlessly check all the movie star boxes: Megawatt charm? Check (those smiles!). Actor clout? No problem (having Martin Scorsese and Ryan Coogler launch their respective careers can’t hurt). Lucrative blockbuster movie franchises? Yep, that too (Robbie in Suicide Squad and Jordan in Creed, with a memorable detour into Wakanda). So, as it turns out, they have a lot to talk about—and not just about fame and their good fortune. Here, as part of our annual Best Performances portfolio, Robbie, who starred in the recent palace-intrigue period drama Mary Queen of Scots, and Jordan, who returned in Creed 2 and dominated the screen in Black Panther this year, sit down with W’s Editor at Large Lynn Hirschberg to share not only how it is they make morally questionable villains like Harley Quinn and Killmonger into magnetic antiheroes, but also their totally embarrassing early email addresses, their most memorable red carpet fashion faux pas, and their frankly amazing first kiss stories.
So Michael, what’s the first album you ever bought?

Michael B. Jordan: First album? Ah, man, that’s a good one.
Margot Robbie: Oh, that is a good one.
Jordan: I want to say, on cassette tape… um, Usher’s My Way.
Robbie: That’s a good answer.
Jordan: You’re taking me back. I want to say I rode my bike to the music store that was, like, down the street.

What was the first album you ever bought, Margot?
Robbie
: I think the first album I bought was, um, AFI’s Sing the Sorrow. I was in a bit of a heavy metal phase. But I think the first single I bought was Blink 182, “All the Small Things.”
Jordan: Okay. So the heavy metal. Are you still in that phase or did you pass that?
Robbie: Occasionally.
Jordan: Occasionally?
Robbie: Occasionally.

Have you ever gone through a heavy metal phase, Michael?
Jordan: I have not.
Robbie: [Laughs.]
Jordan: But electric guitar solos are my thing. Like, I love, the Ernie Isleys of the world, the “Who’s That Lady” solo is pretty incredible. [Michael Jackson’s] “Dirty Diana” is pretty good.

Do you play air guitar?
Jordan: Air guitar? All day. [Laughs.]
Robbie: I can air guitar. That’s about the extent of my musical prowess, really.

Michael, did you box before Creed?
Jordan: I never officially boxed but karate, martial arts, and stuff like that. And then I kinda segued into boxing.

And you, Margot, have you ever boxed?
Robbie: I’ve done a bit of boxing, yeah—mainly to prepare for fight training, like stunt work. And I really, really like it. I have stupidly long arms, like, they’re too long for my body. So actually it’s kind of good when you’re boxing.
Jordan: The reach is incredible.
Robbie: An extra long reach. And it looks good on camera. Having long limbs on camera makes your punches—
Jordan: Your punch is a little wider, yeah, yeah, yeah. She knows what she’s talking about.

What I love about both of your performances in different movies is that although you kind of play superheroes in both Suicide Squad and in Black Panther, you’re also kind of antiheroes at the same time. There’s a kind of dichotomy to the characters.

Robbie: A lovable rogue.
Jordan: That’s right. I like that. I mean, those are the most interesting characters to me sometimes, like when I’m watching films that, on screen, are the ones that you can empathize with. Like, they want you to root against ’em. They want you to not like them. But somehow you can still understand where they’re coming from and that’s important.

Do you have a favorite villain? Other than Killmonger.
Jordan
: Yeah, because he’s tough. I mean, honestly, it’s between [Michael] Fassbender’s Magneto and Heath Ledger’s Joker. Honestly. Those two are pretty up there for me. [To Robbie] What about you?
Robbie: I’m totally stealing someone else’s answer. I’ve heard someone else say this, but I do truly think this is a genius villain: HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Jordan: Ohhh. Man.
Robbie: It’s just such a cool villain. That was genius.

But it is also kind of weirdly sympathetic.
Robbie
: Totally. The best villains are sympathetic.

Full interview: wmagazine.com

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‘Mary Queen of Scots’ star Margot Robbie gets royally honest about ‘girl gangs,’ Hollywood

 

The star of “Mary Queen of Scots” (in theaters Friday in New York and Los Angeles, expands to additional cities Dec. 21) wasn’t simply in the market for a juicy part when she signed on to play Queen Elizabeth I opposite Saoirse Ronan, who takes on the romantic (and doomed) Scottish monarch.

She was trying to add to her girl gang.

I love all the dudes I’ve worked with, they’re amazing. (But) in real life I hang out with my girlfriends all the time,” says Robbie, 28. “I have a girl gang in New York, a girl gang in London, a girl gang in Australia. That’s who I hang out with. I have a lot of guy friends, too, but there’s nothing quite like the girl gang. And I was like, I never get to act with girls onscreen.

The dueling queen drama was thus coronated. “Mary Queen of Scots” examines the fraught relationship between the dueling Scottish royal and her English cousin during their 16th-century reigns. The younger Mary, who herself had reasonable claim to the English throne, married and produced a male heir, posing a two-pronged threat to Elizabeth’s reign. She was also a Catholic slandered by claims of sexual promiscuity and forced to flee Scotland.

It was the Protestant virgin Queen Elizabeth, who refused to wed and be usurped by a power-hungry husband, who ultimately gave Mary safe haven in England, only to later order her beheading, convinced her cousin was plotting against her.

The gender politics of the time put enormous pressure on women, especially women in positions of power (such as) Mary and Elizabeth, to have a male heir, because being male trumped everything,” says Robbie, who plays the wigged queen as she’s stripped of her beauty by a serious bout of smallpox. “It didn’t matter if you were born rightfully to be a queen. … People wanted stability, and in their minds, that had to be a male on the throne.”

Amusingly, Robbie and Ronan spent more time getting to know each other during last year’s awards run (Robbie was nominated for “I, Tonya,” while Ronan was up for “Lady Bird”) than they did on the “Queen of Scots” set, where the long-distance royals shared just one scene. (In real life, the two queens never met.)

That’s true!” Ronan says by email. “Laura Dern actually hosted a dinner for all of the Oscar nominees last year that Margot and I were both at, and we had such a lovely time – we all shared embarrassing stories and a lot of laughs.

Girl gangs will continue to take center stage when Robbie returns to playing Harley Quinn in “Birds of Prey,” the upcoming “Suicide Squad” spinoff that starts shooting in January. Robbie is executive producing, and under her watch, Harley will be joined by Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.

It’s the highest-profile project to date from LuckyChap Entertainment, Robbie’s production company with her husband, director Tom Ackerley, which focuses on promoting women in film “whether it’s female-driven stories or through female filmmakers,” she says.

For her first few years in Hollywood, Robbie felt the need to keep her mouth shut. “I just assumed that everyone knew stuff that I didn’t know, so therefore I shouldn’t have an opinion.” But then she realized “LA is literally the land of ‘fake it ‘til you make it.’ Everyone’s freaking out and winging it and pretending they’ve totally got it under control, and really they probably don’t. And then I thought, well, why not just give (producing) a try?

No one was pretending earlier this year when Robbie was vacationing in Morocco. She was with one of her girl gangs, and a friend suggested they try something rather mystic called a moon circle. “I rarely cry, I’m not really a wear-your-emotions-on-your-sleeve kind of girl,” Robbie prefaces. But she says the oh-so-LA moon circle was different – and unexpectedly legit.

You make this circle and you pick cards, and it’s all about female power and finding power in unity and your sisterhood,” she says. “Honestly, kind of like the Friendsgiving idea where you go around and say what you’re thankful for, but a little more specifically angled to how sisterhood helps your life. And we were sobbing, me included, holding hands and just saying how much we love each other, essentially.

I tried to explain it to my husband when I got home, and he was just thoroughly perplexed,” she laughs. “And then not that long after, he said, ‘Can the boys do the moon circle too?’

Source: usatoday.com

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Margot Robbie on Changing Hollywood and Her Shocking Transformation Into Elizabeth I

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There were days when Margot Robbie would walk out of the makeup trailer on the set of her new film, Mary Queen of Scots, and castmates couldn’t bear to look at her. I’d say, ‘Hey, how’s your weekend?’ ” says the 28-year-old actress, in her best exaggeration of her native Australian Gold Coast accent. “But they wouldn’t even get close to me. It was very alienating. And I felt very lonely. It was an interesting social experiment.

Her transformation into Queen Elizabeth I, who was scarred by smallpox as a young woman, took three and a half hours of intensive hair and makeup every day. “They’d start with a head wrap,” says Robbie. “Gelling and pinning my hair down. Then we’d do a bald cap.” There were different wigs for different stages of the story and her illness, one that was very thinning, and prosthetic scarring applied to her face. “Surprisingly, the quick part was the white makeup,” she says. “And the heavily drawn-on blush, eyebrows, lips.

Such a transformation was no small feat, considering that the actress got her big-screen break playing a character described as “the hottest blonde ever” in Martin Scorsese’s 2013 drama, The Wolf of Wall Street. But Robbie, who currently serves as a face of Chanel, refused early on to be typecast by her beauty. “When I was trying to make my name as an actress, creative roles for women were limited,” she says of her decision to form her own production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, in 2014. “I didn’t want to pick up another script where I was the wife or the girlfriend— just a catalyst for the male story line. It was uninspiring.

Interestingly, Mary Queen of Scots isn’t the first time Robbie has taken on a role that required her to actively make herself look worse on-screen. After all, who can forget the curled bangs, black eyeliner, and braces she donned to play disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya? “Margot is a very, very good actor who takes her work incredibly seriously,” says costar Saoirse Ronan, who plays Queen Mary in the film. “I don’t think looks even factor into it. Even when she has a glamorous role, she’s got this brilliant, strong presence, and part of that is because she’s a very sincere and authentic person. She’s very open. What you see is what you get.

Fearlessly shaking off her beauty and diving headlong into complex characters has clearly paid off for Robbie, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in I, Tonya (which LuckyChap produced). And she now has roughly a dozen projects in various stages of development, including a thriller called Dreamland (also produced by her company), a Suicide Squad spin-off in which she will lead an ensemble of female superheroes, and a number of women-led television projects. “When we set out to create our company, it was sort of a new idea, but then in response to the #MeToo conversation it was all that anyone was talking about. People were like, ‘Why don’t we make movies for women?’ Uh, what a revelation, right?

The waiting area of LuckyChap, which is almost hidden in a nondescript bungalow on the Warner Bros. lot, is cast in a pink glow from the neon sign that bears the company name in loopy script. On the day of our interview, Robbie emerges from one of the back rooms dressed in high-waisted flared jeans, a black-and white-striped button-down top, and brandy-colored Mansur Gavriel platforms. She is smiling, like really smiling, radiating joy with her whole body. She tiptoes down the hall as if she’s sneaking up on someone or is giddy about sharing a secret. “I’m Margot,” she says, extending a slender arm to shake hands. “Do you want to see a puppy?

Full interview: harpersbazaar.com