At just 26, Margot Robbie makes no apologies for being young, fun, beautiful and unafraid to speak her mind. She's also an incredibly ambitious actress whose career is about to hit the next level with two major summer blockbusters looming on the horizon.
First up is the The Legend Of Tarzan, the spectacular new screen adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs tale which co-stars Robbie as Jane opposite Alexander Skarsgård in the mythical title role. Directed by David Yates (Harry Potter), the $180 million Warner Bros. production is being hyped as one of this summer's top blockbusters. Unlike previous Tarzan films, this particular retelling of the Tarzan myth reverses the normal narrative chronology.
The film opens in 1880s Victorian London, a decade after Tarzan has left the Congo, where he has been transformed into John Clayton III, aka Lord Greystoke, a British gentleman now married to Jane and a much-admired figure living in posh surroundings. But after being invited by Parliament to return to the Congo as a British emissary, his atavistic old instincts slowly resurface after his wife and friends are put in jeopardy. In the course of revealing Tarzan's latent animalistic impulses, Robbie was urged by Yates the director to be "more primal" in their lovemaking. Robbie denies injuring her hunkish Swedish co-star Skarsgård, however, during the scene in question. "I didn't injure Alexander and I didn't punch him in the face, at least not hard," Robbie said at the recent ComicCon event. "But he's a pretty strong guy, he can take it. We just got carried away a bit."
Later, Margot will be seen starring as the brazen Dr. Harleen Quinzel (aka Harley Queen) in another big-budget action film, Suicide Squad, a twisted tale about a group of super villains who are freed from prison to carry out a noble mission. The film co-stars Will Smith (Deadshot), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress), Jared Leto (The Joker), and Ben Affleck (Batman).
Gold Coast girl Robbie, who famously co-starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, is currently in a relationship with British assistant director Tom Ackerly whom she met 18 months ago while working together on the set of the World War II film, Suite Française. Robbie recently appeared in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot where she played a brazen foreign correspondent working in Afghanistan opposite Tina Fey.
Margot, there is a lot of anticipation surrounding your upcoming Tarzan movie with Alexander Skarsgård. What was it like working with him?
He's great. He's very pleasant and charming to be around. Alexander worked so hard during the filming and he's just amazing in it. I think people are going to love him and really enjoy this movie.
Much of the hype surrounding the film will involve Skarsgård in Tarzan mode. What was it like when you first saw him shirtless?
My mind went blank as I soon as I saw him shirtless. Every girl on set was swooning, I think, when they saw him. He worked so hard to get in that kind of shape. I would never have had the discipline that he needed to spend so many months training and dieting to achieve that look. I really admire him for that.
Your director, David Yates, has said that your Jane character is a very dynamic woman?
Jane is very independent-minded and not so reliant on Tarzan. A very intelligent and assertive woman. She's ahead of her times and that was one of the reasons I wanted to be part of the film. There's a lot of action and adventure going on and there's also a love story at the heart of the film.
My mind went blank as I soon as I saw him shirtless. Every girl on set was swooning
You've been able to play some very interesting characters of late including your work in Focus and in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Is it difficult to avoid getting cast in overtly sexy or 'girlfriend' kinds of roles?
I've been fortunate. I've got a really good team around me. I haven't been exploited. I think it's more the perception of your persona in the mass media than it is with the people that you're immediately surrounded by... I feel more concerned with being labelled as a sex symbol than everyone, I feel like that makes me feel more uncomfortable than any day to day interactions I've ever had.
Is that the case with your role as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, your other big summer film?
I'm biased, of course, but I think Harley is the most interesting character and it's very rare that the girl gets to be the central figure when the cast is mainly composed of guys. I think we're also a point now where things are changing and actresses are pushing the industry to create bigger and better roles for women. We're starting to see more good roles for women where the female character gets to be the main protagonist and isn't just supporting the male character.
How would you describe Harley?
Harley is absolutely nuts. You never know whether she's going to give you a hug or kill you. She's definitely a dangerous woman! (Laughs) But it was a great role and what I really loved most about it was that David Ayer (Suicide Squad's writer-director) wrote such a great part for the girl.
What makes Harley such a dangerous, fierce kind of presence?
She knows how to manipulate people. Harley was once a psychiatrist and that allows her to prey on people's psychological weaknesses and figure out what she can use to mess with their heads. She does that all the time with the other members of the squad - that's just her nature.
Was it at all intimidating to play such a wild, in-your-face role?
I know that the fans will expect a lot from Harley. I'm a little apprehensive about the reaction from audiences because you really want to do the character justice. But I tried to really discover my wilder sides to get into the character and it's really important to me that I live up to expectations and not disappoint the fans.
Your castmate Jared Leto, who plays The Joker and Harley's love interest in the film, gave some unusual presents to you and your co-stars during the film?
They have a very unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship. As crazy as she is, she's literally mad about him and loves him in a crazy, addictive way.
You've been working a lot the last few years. Does life ever get too hectic?
It might seem strange to say, but doing press tour is probably more exhausting than doing the movies themselves. I remember having to do press for Focus in the middle of shooting Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and also having to train for Suicide Squad. As soon as I would wrap shooting at the end of every week I would have to fly out on the weekend and do press for Focus. So that was tiring.
But I had some time off the end of last year and that really did me a lot of good. It was my dream to get to be part of these incredible films and so you can't complain when you're doing what you love. But sometimes you do miss your family and friends and there are moments where you would like to be able to take a week off just to have some time for yourself.
What about the paparazzi? Does that get tiresome?
The worst part is that they're going to be following you around and waiting until they can catch you eating a hamburger or looking your worst.
You're earning a stellar reputation as a fashionista. Do you spend a lot of time looking at outfits or shopping for yourself?
I don't have that much time to shop and I have the best people working for me who offer me some great choices about what to wear when I'm doing press or going to a premiere or awards show. It's a lot easier than shopping on your own when you have top people dressing you in the best outfits!