When I meet her, Robbie has just finished the David O. Russell press tour amsterdam, a quirky film set in the ’30s in which she stars alongside Christian Bale and John David Washington. Russell is known for his, shall we say, violent nature on the set. For starters, he made Amy Adams cry while filming American hustle and yelled at Lily Tomlin on the set of Profan I Heart Huckabees in a video so horrible it’s now legendary. I ask if Robbie had reservations about working with him, especially in this “new” Hollywood where toxic behavior is ideally not tolerated. “The process with David started years ago,” she says, adding that they created their character together. “One conversation led to another conversation led to another conversation that went on for years. So it wasn’t like a moment like, ‘Would you sign on for a David O. Russell movie?’ Appreciating the brainstorming, she says, “I’ve never been more involved, just as an actress. I’ve never had a director want to hear my perspective so much in the development process.”
I ask if the set has ever been uncomfortable. She shakes her head no. “I had a pretty amazing experience,” she says. “The other thing I wish people would understand is that you don’t just make a film with a director and the actors. You make a film with so many people.” She singles out Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, saying that working with him was one of the “absolute highlights” of her career.
As we chat, Robbie is open and generous, often slipping into passionate stories about her experiences on set or her favorite movies or podcasts (she loves team Deakins, a filmmaker podcast with cinematographer Roger Deakins and his wife James Ellis Deakins). She is more cautious as we delve into her personal life. “It’s such an ironic thing,” she says. “As an actor, it is important to show people Miscellaneous Guys, so it’s so counterintuitive to talk about yourself when you spend all your time hiding.”
Still, she doesn’t seem to be hiding anything more than human decency (she paid off her mother’s mortgage with her first big paycheck) and a penchant for spending quality time with friends (she takes girl surf trips to Nicaragua and group tours to Spain). . A few more details that indicate that we are dealing with a real 3D person here: Robbie can open a beer bottle with another beer bottle. She wants to learn to play the banjo. She interjected island of love– themed birthday party. “She really loves island of love, which is surprising because it’s very classy,” says Hodson. “But yeah, that’s definitely a guilty pleasure that we spend many, many hours with.”
at one point, Robbie says she wishes she’d been an actress in the ’20s or even the ’70s. But she was able to play a variety of roles — putting boils on her face to playing Queen Elizabeth I mary queen of scots, She wore skates and a padded bodysuit for Tonya Harding and used garish face paint and a baseball bat for Harley Quinn — all while producing the kind of projects she craved. Clara Bow could only play one character type and had little control over her career – which I can safely say wouldn’t sit well with Robbie. She pulls out another notebook and reads to Walt Whitman, “Am I contradicting myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am big. I contain a lot.” She looks up and smiles. “‘I contain a lot’ is a cool thing to remember.”
Hollywood didn’t expect it to contain a lot. When she became known afterwards Wolf of Wall Street At 22, Robbie was offered the predictable hot blonde roles, all of which she turned down. I tell her Hollywood loves to pigeonhole geniuses, and she goes on: “I think persons love to pigeonhole people.” Even now, Robbie doesn’t get enough credit for her work as a producer. In 2014, she founded LuckyChap Entertainment with three of her closest friends – one of whom, Tom Ackerley, became her husband in 2016. The company’s first release was in 2017 I Tonya A critical hit that garnered three Oscar nominations and a win for Janney. 2021, Promising young woman earned five more Oscar nominations and a screenplay win for Emerald Fennell. The company, which champions women stories and storytellers, produced five films this year, including Fennell’s next film.
And then there is Barbie. The film was essentially dead after shuffling through the leads (Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway) and writers until Robbie signed on to star and produce. She brought in Greta Gerwig to co-write (with her partner Noah Baumbach) and direct to create a subversive take on the world’s most famous doll. “Doing an obvious Barbie movie would have been extremely easy,” says Robbie, “and anything that’s easy to do probably isn’t worth it.” Gerwig was amazed to the point of Robbie: “One time I wanted Margot in slow motion take pictures, but everything else should be moving fast, so I went up to her and said, ‘Could you move at 48 frames per second? even though we’re filming at 24 frames per second and everyone else is moving at normal speed?’ She did the math behind her eyes and then, damn it, did it. She was literally moving at a higher frame rate. I don’t know what category this falls into other than magic.”