Margot Robbie has a favorite word for things that go her way.
“Rad,” says the 29-year-old Queensland, Australia, native who is the living definition of that word. It’s not just the blue- and pink-dipped ponytails and wicked glee she exhibits as “rad” bad girl Harley Quinn in the box office draw “Birds of Prey,” which her company also produced.
One thing about the whole Harley deal.
“I am not Harley Quinn in real life. I just play Harley Quinn,” Robbie said, laughing.
The star of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “I, Tonya,” “Bombshell” (for which she is Oscar nominated) and “Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood” plays Quinn in a plot that revolves around Harley splitting with her boyfriend, The Joker, and joining forces with superheroes including Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez).
Review-Journal: What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Margot Robbie: I’ll sleep in, have a nice cup of tea and then maybe go out to brunch. Or, even better, the brunch is at our house. It will be a bunch of women outside soaking up a beautiful day and guys inside cooking. And the women wandering inside to help or bring out drinks. To hang out at your own house is such a great Sunday.
Tell us about the Harley Quinn movie.
It’s quite rad. This is told from Harley’s point of view. The energy behind this film is amazing. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can say that this film is a love letter to Harley. I adore her. I’ve read every comic. She’s so funny, unpredictable, dangerous, unique, subversive, fun, strange and funny. As an actor, you can do anything with her. It’s a girl gang film with a wicked edge. I think the wait will be worth it. I know it was for me because I never have more fun acting than when I’m playing Harley.
Best part about playing Harley?
As an actress, you want to be surprised. This is a character who constantly surprises me.
You’ve also produced the film.
I produced also as a way to work with so many other women whom I respect and admire. I’m just thrilled to be a part of an ensemble movie where so many women are in a comic book-based film this time, which is something you don’t see all the time. It’s about their strength, intelligence and power.
How did you get your start?
I was such a dramatic kid. Acting just seemed like a natural choice. I wasn’t so much discovered, but forced my way onto a job essentially on (Australian soap opera) “Neighbours.” I just wouldn’t stop calling the company that produced the show. I think I wore them out and they gave me a job. I knew I had to keep acting because I enjoyed it so much. That doesn’t mean it was easy. You don’t just decide to act and — boom — there is the career. I had to pay the bills from jobs that ranged from waiting tables to house cleaning to even working at a fish and chips store.
You played Queen Elizabeth I in “Mary Queen of Scots.” But you almost turned the role down.
I was like no, no, no when I was offered that role. I was scared. I didn’t see what I could have in common with a queen. But then I was told by the director, “I don’t want someone to play a queen. I want someone to play a woman.”
You played Sharon Tate for Quentin Tarantino in “Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood?” Was there extra responsibility in playing a real person?
It is an extra responsibility because you want to get it right. I really dove into the research of the time period and Sharon’s life. All interesting reading. I read about Sharon having dinner parties with a whole mix of people — a hippie from the street sitting next to an old-school movie star. It was about walls being broken down. Everyone was welcome. She was so open-armed and accepting. And then tragedy struck.
You’re nominated for an Oscar playing a workplace abuse victim in “Bombshell.” What was the goal with that role?
It was a devastating and gut-wrenching role in a film that was fast-paced and so watchable. My goal with the film was that it would initiate conversation … and I know that it has done just that. I’ve been to many screenings and afterward people just want to talk about what they’ve experienced. They want to talk about what we can do in the future, both men and women, so it doesn’t happen again. Now, we just have to keep those conversations going and not allow them to fade.
You have a production company called Lucky Chap where you aim to promote women in film.
It’s also about inclusivity. We work with incredible men, too. But there has to be balance and equality. It’s a bigger responsibility to produce, but you’re a part of the project from the start and every creative decision. I really love it.
What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I own a tattoo gun. Once I spelled something incorrectly while doing a tattoo. On “Suicide Squad,” we did squad tats on each other and decided to spell it: Sqwad.