Margot Robbie covers WSJ. Magazine’s highly anticipated November Innovator’s Issue, out on newsstands Saturday, November 12, one of eight covers representing each of this year’s groundbreaking award recipients.
Robbie on her character choices after her breakthrough on The Wolf of Wall Street: On Suite Française’s set, in 2013, “I play a French peasant, and trust me, I looked revolting,” she says via Zoom. (Her screen name reads “Maggot,” her childhood nickname, rather than “Margot.”) “Then I did Z for Zachariah… and again, I looked revolting. By that time, I thought, I’ve shown people.”
Robbie on the genesis of her production company, LuckyChap: Robbie made friends with Suite Française’s assistant directors Josey McNamara and Tom Ackerley. Both became her business partners, along with her childhood friend Sophia Kerr; she later married Ackerley.
“I remember saying, ‘Every time I pick up a script, I want to play the guy,’” Robbie recalls. “‘Wouldn’t it be so cool if people pick up scripts that we’re making and always wanted to play the female role?’”
Robbie on launching LuckyChap with her partners: “[We were] too young and dumb to know how scary [it would] be,” she says. “Starting it all off on a kitchen bench in London, everyone was like: ‘They’re such idiots…it would be a miracle if they did anything.’”
Robbie on LuckyChap’s first project, I, Tonya: “They [were] like, ‘You can’t make that…. You’ve got 200-something scenes, several locations, it’s period,’” says Robbie. “We read it and were like, ‘But it’s just f—ing great; it’s the best script ever, so who cares?’” They snatched up the option.
Robbie on choosing projects: Of the projects pitched to them, only “1 percent are the ‘f— yeses,’”
Robbie on the challenges of bankrolling female – led projects: Today studios and production companies are considering more female directors and writers, says Robbie. “[But] it’s easy to put female names on a list,” she says. “It’s a bigger hurdle to get someone to bankroll [a] project. We still have a long way to go in that regard; that ship is going to take so much longer to course-correct.”
Robbie on her role in Babylon: “I’ve never worked that hard in my life,” says Robbie of her role in Babylon. “[I was] shattered by the end of that job.”
Robbie on remaining tight lipped about the Barbie project: For Robbie, Barbie was “the child” archetype. She won’t elaborate beyond that. The Barbie project is shrouded in secrecy. Public revelation of even the smallest detail ends up “blowing up into a headline,” Robbie says.
Robbie on why the Barbie project triggers so much interest: “That’s why I, Tonya intrigued us so much— because people had such an immediate and strong reaction to the name ‘Tonya Harding,’” says Robbie. “It’s kind of amazing to begin at a place like that.” Barbie will also be unconventional; McNamara says it will “subvert expectations.”
This article is featured in WSJ. Magazine’s November Issue out on newsstands Saturday, November 12th.
[Photo Credit: Cass Bird for WSJ. Magazine.]
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