She’s one of Australia’s biggest Hollywood exports, but Margot Robbie’s latest role explores the dark side of fame.
Yes, Robbie is a gigantic actress, but in real life she’s not like her latest character in Babylon — in which she plays Nellie LaRoy, a chaotic, drug-addicted 1920s starlet trying to make it big in Hollywood. LaRoy wanted it all, Robbie already has it.
But the 32-year-old admits the reality in Hollywood isn’t always what it seems.
“There are so many things that are different than what you ever imagined,” Robbie said.
“When you’re making a film, you’re working with hundreds of people and it’s like you’re going to summer camp — and you all get so close.
“And you’re all in this together and there’s something really, I don’t know, fulfilling and good for your soul when you share a common purpose with a group of strangers.”
She continues: “You all want the same thing and you all work together to achieve a common goal and that’s what makes a movie – it’s hundreds of people doing what they do really well, and they do it together and work together to make something special.”
Robbie was in Sydney this week to attend the Australian premiere of the Golden Globe nominated film. And if there was ever a way to tell Robbie is in her element at home, it’s through her hair.
Tousled, demure and in long beachy waves, this Neighbors Alum sheds her normally polished tresses on the red carpet for something more… here.
In Versace Couture, Robbie continued her laid-back demeanor—and she did the same in our interview the next day, where she wore a vanilla silk suit with bell-shaped cuffs, paired with gold jewelry.
“She’s a very physically and emotionally draining character,” Robbie said of the role of Nellie – which was based on real-life actresses from the silent era, including Clara Bow and Jeanne Eagles.
Robbie’s secret to maintaining her stamina? Sugar. “Only on an endless sugar high, really, eating Skittles.
“To be honest, it wasn’t that hard to keep up the energy levels on a movie set like Babylon because you could feed off the energy of any other CGI-heavy movie where you don’t have to go off as much.
“With a party scene, you can’t help but feed on the energy of the room.”
It refers to a particularly memorable scene in Babylonwith sex- and coke-fueled debauchery – and on the set Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle (of la la country fame) created a wild environment with no windows or sense of time.
“[Chazelle]transports everyone in this scene to what you’re doing,” Robbie said of the shooting.
“You played music the whole time and the general chaos of a movie set is pretty stimulating in itself,” she said, adding, “When we got really tired, they put on Firestarter (from The Prodigy) and we’d be like that , ‘ah! We have to go again.’”
Robbie and her co-star Calva became close friends and Calva, 30, moved into the home Robbie shares with her husband Tom Ackerley during Babylon filming.
“We were in the middle of filming and I was feeling lonely, we were in this difficult spot and it was really helpful,” said Calva, who was sitting next to Robbie at a Sydney hotspot.
Robbie chimes in, “And it’s been helpful for me because Diego and I raised our pit bull pretty much together…he loves my dog, my dog loves him.”
“To share the load, it was really nice to have a roommate to help take care of Belle.
“I’m a little jealous because she definitely loves Diego more than me.”
Robbie says the reality of a modern actor is very different from the era in which he is portrayed Babylon. For one thing, Robbie isn’t just an actor, she’s building a Hollywood empire in her own right through her production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, which backed her Harley Quinn film birds of prey, You, Tonya and the coming Barbie Film starring Robbie as the blonde bombshell Mattel icon – and executive producer.
“I think we’re very fortunate to exist in a very different place now,” Robbie muses.
“Definitely far from perfect, of course, but back then it was just…pretty awful (in the 1920s).
“On the other hand, there were tons of female directors back then. In some ways we’ve taken steps back and in other ways we’ve taken steps forward,” she added.
“Back then, a female director was quite normal. When movies became a commodity, guys came in and crowded out women. But we’ll be back.”
Babylon is out nationally on Thursday. Read more from Stellar here.
Originally published as ‘It’s Different From What You’d Ever Imagine’: Margot Robbie on Hollywood, Babylon and the Mystery of Playing Demanding Roles