From Barbie to Babylon: The ‘brash and bold’ faces of Margot Robbie

Source: 20th Century Fox

Queensland actor and Hollywood star Margot Robbie is having a busy year.

In between wrapping the live-action adaptation of the Mattel doll in the film Barbie, and a brief appearance on Zoom for a Neighbours farewell, Robbie was spotted with her husband Tom Ackerley relaxing on board a luxury yacht in Spain in August.

Just a brief break.

Her next film, Amsterdam, is set for release in October and she has just finished filming Babylon, set in the 1920s golden age of Hollywood.

As the first release photos of Babylon dropped on Wednesday, the hard-working Robbie, 32, will have clocked up seven films in 12 months.

In his first interview for Babylon, director Damien Chazelle (La, La Land, Whiplash, First Man) told Vanity Fair his Aussie lead – who stars alongside Brad Pitt –  plays a mix of early Hollywood icons like Clara Bow, Jeanne Eagels, Joan Crawford and Alma Rubens.

“Margot as a person has this – it’s a very Australian sort of thing – brash, bold, hungry kind of edge to her that she was really able to tap into and do a lot of really fun things with,” Chazelle said.

“Part of what was magical about working with them in these roles is that each of them felt like they were really able to make the performance the most personal thing they had done,” says the director, who admits making Babylon was his biggest film.

“It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve done. Just the logistics of it, the number of characters, the scale of the set pieces, the span of time that the movie charts.

“It was really a Wild West period for these people, this gallery of characters, as they rise and fall, rise, fall, rise again, fall again,” he said.

“The thing that they’re building is springing back on them and chewing them up.”

‘Having the time of her life’

Robbie, the daughter of a sugar-cane farmer and a physiotherapist, made her television debut in 2008 in City Homicide, followed by a two-episode stint in children’s series The Elephant Princess with Liam Hemsworth.

That year she scored a gig on Neighbours that lasted three years before heading off to Hollywood where she was cast as a flight attendant in drama series, Pan Am.

Her breakthrough role came in the Martin Scorsese epic The Wolf of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio, and the rest is history.

In a magazine cover story with British Vogue, Robbie said she sometimes contemplated slowing down, but that was just a dream as she revealed what she thinks about when she’s trying to sleep.

‘‘ … I’m in my thirties now, or because life took … a very strange turn. Over COVID, I was home for longer than I’ve ever stayed anywhere.

‘‘I’ve been moving at a million miles an hour for as long as I can remember. What’s that like?  It can feel a little scary sometimes. But now I finally feel like it’s OK to … sit still? Or even sit this one out. That’s a feeling I haven’t had before.

“I lie there and try and figure out what to do about climate change, and then remember that thing I said seven years ago that came out wrong, and what’s on my to-do list for tomorrow.’’

Above all else, she’s ‘‘having the time of her life’’.

Robbie as Barbie. Photo: Twitter

Robbie plays Nellie LaRoy in Babylon. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Robbie as Harley Quinn in 2016’s Suicide Squad. Photo: AAP

The Wolf of Wall Street gave Robbie her break-out role. Photo: Getty

margot robbie

As Tonya Harding in the remarkable film I, Tonya.

Margot Robbie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Robbie as Sharon Tate in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. Photo: Sony Pictures

Margot Robbie

Robbie in the 2020 Suicide Squad sequel Birds of Prey. Photo: Warner Bros

Margot Robbie

Robbie played Kayla Pospisil in 2019’s Bombshell. Photo: Bron Productions

Margot Robbie

Robbie falls for teen bank robber Finn Cole, in Dreamland. Photo: Paramount Pictures

From Neighbours to Hollywood. Photo: AAP

Robbie rarely gives interviews as extensive as her Vogue cover, having walked away from social media over the past year.

She does share a few ambitions beyond acting and producing – writing and directing.

“I want to direct … I’d like to try writing.

“Those would be huge challenges, which to be honest, I might not pull off. I also think directing is a privilege and not a right.

“But I have a story that’s been in my head for years. And I need to put pen to paper and see if it looks ridiculous or not.”

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