Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Things To Do

Margot Robbie talks about the work behind the fairy tale

RECOMMENDED READING


There's more to Margot Robbie than meets the eye, which is already plenty enough.

Easily among Hollywood's most beautiful women, Robbie is also one of its spunkiest, a hockey-playing surfer from Australia who will hunt wild hogs now and then. Someone more likely to attend a New York Rangers game than a runway show. One of the guys, who doesn't at all look like one.

In short, Margot Robbie is a keeper.

Robbie, 25, laughed off the compliment. Above all else, she is not a woman to be kept. "I've got a really bizarre set of hobbies, I suppose," she said by telephone from New York.

A zooming career cuts into Robbie's pastimes. Since her full frontal introduction to moviegoers in The Wolf of Wall Street, Robbie's celebrity is such that she played herself explaining economics, in a bubble bath, in the Oscar-winning satire The Big Short.

2016 brings Robbie's widest platform yet, in a trio of high-profile releases that begins Friday with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, an Afghanistan war correspondent comedy co-starring Tina Fey.

This summer Robbie plays Jane to Alexander Skarsgard's Tarzan, and psychotic Harley Quinn in the DC Comics supervillian yarn Suicide Squad. Success appears so easy for her, which isn't the case at all.

"There's a bit of effort put in to make this whole thing look like a happy accident," Robbie said, modest yet proud.

"It's like, oh, I just happen to be at the Oscars doing this or that. Or, I just happen to get a chance to work with this brilliant actor. People on the outside want to think that's how it happened. It seems kind of like a fairy tale that way.

"The truth is, it isn't like that at all. It's very strategic, very calculated, a lot of careful planning and a really, really good team surrounding me. ... It's nice to let people see it as a happy accident."

It was no accident that Robbie sat front row at Calvin Klein's runway show during New York Fashion Week, a day before our interview. She's "not too heavily immersed" in modeling but "kind of researching" the culture for a project she'll produce. Another celebrity perk that Robbie lends a professional purpose.

At the same time, Robbie is surprisingly not yet the face of some cosmetics or fashion empire. Not that companies haven't tried. It's just another example of the actor's discerning strategies.

"No, we've been very careful about selecting which direction we'll go," Robbie said. "I've just been waiting for the right brand, that I genuinely like. There have been some opportunities but I'm holding out for the right one."

Robbie even used her time on Whiskey Tango Foxtrot to quiz Fey about balancing production duties for a movie while acting in it. Robbie recently announced her debut as an actor-producer in Terminal, a noir thriller.

"Tina gave me a funny analogy, saying it was a lot like planning your wedding day," Robbie said. "If you do all of the preparation in advance, you can enjoy the day.

"There will be hiccups in the ride but you deal with it. Tina made it seem very manageable and effortless. That's obviously a tribute to her being prepared."

One thing Robbie can't fully plan for until it happens is Suicide Squad, which hits theaters Aug. 5. Raucous fans at Comic-Con, where the first trailer dropped, were just the beginning. Robbie's grinning, sinning Harley Quinn, girlfriend of Jared Leto's Joker, is a pop culture pipe bomb waiting to explode.

"I'm obviously going to be a little overwhelmed," Robbie said. "I'm just hoping I do the character justice because ... I don't want to disappoint anyone.

"It's a little intimidating, and awaiting that reaction is kind of daunting at this stage. ... It has already been a crazy ride. I think it's just going to get crazier.

"It's so awesome that (writer-director) David (Ayer) wrote the chick character to be the coolest one. Maybe I'm biased, but I think mine is the best. A girl got to be the best character for once."

Robbie's starring roles aside, her cameo in The Big Short may have been the most noted scene in reviews of any 2015 film. "I don't think anyone saw it coming. I didn't," she said.

"When I read the script I wondered, why am I getting this sent to me? There's no female role in here. Then I got to Page 13 and suddenly Ryan Gosling's character is saying: 'Now, we're going to go to Margot Robbie ...' and I'm, like, what? Why did he say my name? You never see your name in a script, just your character."

Just another sign of stardom, pulling Robbie farther from the surf and rink as projects pile up.

"I haven't played hockey in ages," Robbie said. "Went ice skating over Christmas, which was fun. I couldn't put on my pads and take a stick on the ice at (London's) Somerset House because I would've injured people, I suppose.

"As soon as I can I'd like to get back into it. I'm still carting around a giant hockey bag full of my equipment. Takes up so much space."

She's a keeper.

Contact Steve Persall at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

Comments

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballTennessee vs. PurduenoonESPN2Western Kentucky vs. Villanova2 p.m.ESPN2Maui Invitational seventh-place game2:30 p.m.ESPNUMaui Invitational fifth-place game5 p.m.ESPN2Wofford at Texas Tech6:30 p.m.Fox SunHoward at USF7 p.m.820-AM...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Teen idol David Cassidy, ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Teen idol David Cassidy, ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

David Cassidy, the former star of "The Partridge Family" TV hit of the 1970s and a reluctant teen idol to the boomer generation, died Tuesday evening of liver failure, his publicist confirmed. He was 67.The singer and actor died in Fort Lauderdale af...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away, you can stop grumbling about it being too early for Christmas lights and decorations. Let the grand illuminations begin! Despite our tropical climate, or maybe because of it, Tampa Bay goes all out when ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ is a sad waste of Denzel Washington

‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ is a sad waste of Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington’s labored portrayal of a shambling legal savant named Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the least of the movie’s worries. This is a story of shifting ethics that should be dramatic, but shaky logic prevents that from happening.Dan Gilroy’s f...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Michael W. Smith talks about Texas shooting, Christmas music and Bono

Michael W. Smith talks about Texas shooting, Christmas music and Bono

On the morning after the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Michael W. Smith had pain in his voice. "It’s awful, it’s just awful," said the Grammy-winning Christian music superstar. "Everybody’s going to have their opinio...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekendShoppingBlack Friday: Avoid the madness of the malls at a variety of indie shopping experiences this weekend. Skatepark of Tampa has one of the best sneaker selections in Tampa Bay and free skating all day Friday to celebrate. They’l...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Meet Amazon’s bawdy, opinionated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Meet Amazon’s bawdy, opinionated Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Miriam "Midge" Maisel seems to have it all.It’s 1958 New York City, Upper West Side, and she’s a quick-witted Jewish housewife with two kids. She and her husband live in a plush apartment just a few floors below her meddling yet endearing parents.He’...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Baron Cohen to pay fine for Czechs sporting Borat mankinis

Baron Cohen to pay fine for Czechs sporting Borat mankinis

PRAGUE — Comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen has offered to pay the fines for six Czech tourists who were reportedly detained by authorities in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana for dressing up as his character Borat. Sporting lime green "mankinis" and black wig...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 24

St. Petersburg Tree Lighting: Mayor Kriseman flips the switch to illuminate the city’s Christmas tree at this celebration with live entertainment. 5 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 893-74...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Thanksgiving can put a heavy burden on the host. We’ve assembled five appetizers that are quick and easy to prep. Some, like our risotto balls and goat-cheese figs, cater to vegetarian diets, so you can be sure to please all your guests. Even i...
Updated: 12 hours ago