Nominee Profile 2020: Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

by Scott Orlin December 30, 2019
Margot Robbie

HFPA

“I want as many men as possible to see this,” declares Margot Robbie, alluding to her new film Bombshell. In the movie, her character Kayla, an amalgamation of several real-life women, gets sexually harassed and the actress knows full well that this is not an issue solely limited to her gender. “This is a problem we need to solve together and a man sitting in the theater might see this and be able to have true empathy for anyone who suffers this.”

Based on the explosive real-life account of several prominent women at Fox News who challenged the system of harassment, Bombshell showcases three of the industry’s most prominent actors, Robbie, Charlize Theron, and Nicole Kidman, who portray noteworthy players in the ordeal and who collectively brought about a tidal change.

Receiving her second Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, the Dalby, Australia native celebrated playing Kayla, mainly due to the uncomfortable nature of her situation. For her, the conflict between ambition and conflict was territory ripe for discovery.

“These women were all incredibly ambitious,” noted Robbie during a recent HFPA interview. Describing how Kayla wasn’t as striving in her career pursuit in the original script, a conversation with writer Charles Randolph altered that trajectory. “I felt Kayla was incredibly driven and she would have been pushing for that meeting with Roger (Ailes). She had no idea what was going to happen when she got into that room, but she wanted to further her career. Then we see how that put her in a lot of danger.”

What has pleased the actress the most has been the dialogue that has been opened. So many who have felt silenced now feel their voices can be heard. “This film has already sparked so much conversation and I hope it will make more women comfortable to speak up and talk about something they have been through.,” she adds. “They want to share their stories as well.”

Her own story has been staked since she came to Hollywood’s attention as Naomi in The Wolf of Wall Street back in 2013. Although Robbie had appeared in the serial killer thriller I.C.U., the rom-com About Time for Richard Curtis and as the vivacious Donna Freedman in the Australian soap opera Neighbors, it was her performance as Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife in the Martin Scorsese drama that ignited her career.

Subsequent roles in such films as Focus, The Legend of Tarzan and Suicide Squad led to her first Globe and Academy Award nomination playing Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, an independent movie she helped shepherd and consequently launched her prolific production company.

2019 saw not only her mesmerizing performance in Bombshell, but she once again joined forces with DiCaprio, along with Brad Pitt, this time slipping into the persona of Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino’s ode to Tinsletown, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood. But Robbie still acknowledges that professional fear of ‘will I ever work again’. “I think we all have that fear,” she continues. “I remember after I did The Wolf of Wall Street, I said to a friend that I hadn’t worked for six weeks and now probably will never work again.” Success doesn’t erase doubts and anxiety and that voice that lives and breathes in almost every actor’s head keeps reverberating.

But with Birds of Prey and more the Suicide Squad on her artistic horizon, Robbie’s career is poised for even greater strides.