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How Margot Robbie Has Paved Her Way in Hollywood

It’s no secret that Margot Robbie is one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood right now. You may know her for her portrayal of Tonya Harding in I, Tonya (2017), or recognize her voice from that of Harley Quinn’s in Suicide Squad (2016) and Birds of Prey (2020). Although some might mistake her for fellow actress Jaime Pressly,  Margot Robbie has paved her own distinct path in the film industry.

Margot Robbie made the list of Time’s 200 Most Influential People in 2017, where filmmaker Martin Scorsese wrote that the actress has “a unique audacity that surprises and challenges and just burns like a brand into every character she plays.” In 2019, Margot Robbie was listed as one of the highest-paid actresses by Forbes in 2019.

Let’s take a closer look at Margot Robbie’s career and how she has earned herself A-list status in Hollywood.

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Who is Margot Robbie? 

Margot Robbie is from Queensland, Australia where she grew up on a farm outside of the Gold Coast. In an interview with Together, Margot said she was really dramatic as a kid and loved putting on shows. “I was obsessed with movies, with anything on TV and whatever I saw, I would reenact it for my mum.” She said she would even make her family members pay to watch her magic shows.

In 2015, Margot Robbie told Harper’s Bazaar that she studied drama at school with no expectation that she would eventually be acting professionally. The ambitious actress has now made a name for herself both in front of and behind the movie camera. According to Variety, Margot Robbie founded production company LuckyChap Entertainment with her now-husband Tom Ackerley and two of their friends.

LuckyChap co-founder Josey McNamara told Variety that Margot “was at a place in her career where she has the ability to set up a company, and wanted to support other female creatives and give them the platform she was getting herself.” 

Margot Robbie told Together that she roots for all women in the film industry and, according to Variety, LuckyChap began making a conscious effort to have more women in roles behind the screen in 2018.

How did Margot Robbie start in Hollywood? 

As a teenager, Margot Robbie had roles in two low-budget Australian films, Vigilante and ICU. She then began booking roles on TV shows like Review with Myles Barlow and City Homicide. According to Harper’s Bazaar, this is when Margot found herself an agent and began preparing herself for Hollywood.

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Margot Robbie then went on to star in the TV show Neighbours. In the interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she said that she moved to Los Angeles just five days after her Neighbours contract had ended. Margot Robbie got her big break when she landed the role of Naomi Lapaglia in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street.

Margot Robbie TV Shows

Before landing her first big film role, Margot Robbie was a series regular in the Australian soap opera Neighbours. Margot played the role of Donna Freedman from 2008 to 2011. According to Variety, Neighbours also launched the careers of Kylie Minogue and Liam Hemsworth.

In 2011, Margot Robbie landed a role in Pan Am, an American period drama following the pilots and stewardesses working for Pan American World Airways. Margot played stewardess Laura Cameron starring alongside David Harbour, Mike Vogel, and Christina Ricci. The series aired on ABC but was cancelled after one season.

Margot Robbie movies: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) 

Margot Robbie starred in The Wolf of Wall Street as Naomi LaPaglia, the mistress-turned-wife to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort. The film also features Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff and Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna.

The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese, is based on the 2007 memoir of the same name written by former stockbroker Jordan Belfort. The film follows the career of Belfort and takes the audience through his lavish lifestyle. After years of earning millions and notoriety, his money-making schemes are exposed and he is arrested by the FBI. The film ends with Belfort turning his downfall into a positive and reinventing himself as a business speaker giving seminars on sales methods.

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Margot Robbie called her character “fearless.” Margot’s depiction proved to be a very memorable Hollywood debut and led to her rising fame in the film industry.

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In 2014, Margot Robbie won an Empire Award for Best Female Newcomer for her work in The Wolf of Wall Street. That same year, she was nominated for an MTV Movie & TV Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for her portrayal of Naomi.

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Margot Robbie movies: Focus (2015) 

Margot Robbie played Jess Barrett in the 2015 film Focus, starring alongside Will Smith as Nicky Spurgeon. The film, directed and written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, follows the two con artists as Nicky mentors Jess which leads to a romantic relationship. The two split after successfully conning a gambler out of millions of dollars in a football bet, only to meet again three years later.

The pair get caught in a sticky situation as a result of their deceptive schemes. After a fight for both of their lives, the movie ends with Nicky and Jess going to the hospital together. The film was choreographed by Apollo Robbins, a sleight-of-hand artist who famously pickpocketed President Jimmy Carter’s Secret Service agents in 2001, according to The New Yorker. In an interview with Hollywood.com, Margot Robbie said “Learning all the pickpocketing stuff for this role was one of the best things about this role because it was fascinating. It was so much fun.”

Check out the full interview here:

Margot Robbie movies: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) 

In the war comedy-drama Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Margot Robbie starred as British journalist Tanya Venderpoel alongside Tina Fey, who played reporter Kim Barker and also co-wrote the film with Lorne Michaels and Ian Bryce. The movie is directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. 

Based on the 2011 memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot follows Barker as she begins a new chapter of her career as a war correspondent in Afghanistan in 2003. During her time abroad, Barker meets Margot Robbie’s character and the two develop a friendship.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot explores Kim Barker’s experience in Afghanistan as a woman, staying years past her original assignment before finally returning to the U.S. In a 2016 interview with Hollywood.com, Margot Robbie said that while she and Tina Fey played the part, she couldn’t imagine actually being a female journalist covering war in Afghanistan.

Margot said, “I can’t even imagine what it would be like. It’s easy to sit on this side of things and be like ‘sure I’d give it a shot’ but who knows how it would actually be in reality. It’s not something I don’t think we can fathom.” 

Check out the full interview here:

Margot Robbie movies: The Legend of Tarzan (2016) 

Margot Robbie played Jane Porter in the 2016 film The Legend of Tarzan, which was directed by David Yates. The adventure film also stars Alexander Skarsgård as John Clayton (Tarzan) and Samuel L. Jackson as George Washington Williams.

In the film, John Clayton has left Africa to live as a nobleman in Britain with his wife Jane. John, Jane, and George Washington Williams travel to the Congo to investigate claims of slavery. While there, they become entangled in a battle between the natives and a Belgian official who is trying to control the area, and John has to come to terms with the events that occurred in his past life.

In 2017, Margot Robbie was nominated for a Jupiter Award for Best International Actress for her portrayal of Jane.

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Margot Robbie movies: Suicide Squad (2016) 

Perhaps her most iconic role to date, Margot Robbie starred in Suicide Squad as Harley Quinn. Directed by David Ayer, the film also stars Will Smith, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingne, and Jared Leto.

Taking place after the death of Superman, Suicide Squad follows a group of DC supervillains who are enlisted by the U.S. government to fight superhuman threats. Margot Robbie’s character is a former psychiatrist who is now the girlfriend of the Joker (Jared Leto). In a 2020 interview with Variety, Margot Robbie said that she did extensive research to portray Harley Quinn and fell in love with the character.

In 2017, Margot Robbie won a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actress in an Action Movie and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Action Movie Actress.

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Margot Robbie movies: I, Tonya (2017) 

Margot Robbie played the role of U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding in the 2017 film I, Tonya, which she also co-produced. Directed by Craig Gillespie, the movie also stars Sebastian Stan as Tonya’s husband Jeff Gillooly and Allison Janney as Tonya’s mother, LaVona Golden.

I, Tonya follows Tonya Harding’s journey to becoming an Olympic ice skater and the challenges she faced along the way. It shines a light on the abusive relationships she experienced in her life with both her mother and husband. The film also features the series of unfortunate events that unfolded leading up to the attack on Nancy Kerrigan and how that led to the downfall of Tonya’s skating career.

Margot Robbie was nominated for numerous awards for her portrayal of Tonya Harding, including an Academy Award for Best Actress, and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture. She won a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Movie and an Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Bravest Performance.

According to Variety, I, Tonya was LuckyChap Entertainment’s first release, giving the production company a bold start in Hollywood.

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Margot Robbie movies: Mary Queen of Scots (2018) 

Margot Robbie starred in the historical drama Mary Queen of Scots as Queen Elizabeth I. The film, directed by Josie Rourke, also features Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots (cousin to Margot’s character) and Joe Alwyn as Robert Dudley.

Mary Queen of Scots is based on the 2004 biography Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy. The film tells the story of Mary’s life as Scotland’s monarch.

Margot Robbie’s depiction of Queen Elizabeth I earned her a nomination for a British Academy Film Award (BAFTA) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.

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Margot Robbie movies: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) 

Margot Robbie starred in the 2019 Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. The film centers on an actor and his stunt double working during the end of Hollywood’s golden age.

Margot Robbie plays the role of Sharon Tate, an American actress who was murdered by members of the Manson family in 1969. Sharon was best known for her work in the movies Valley of the Dolls and The Fearless Vampire Killers. She was married to Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski. 

Margot Robbie was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and won a Sant Jordi Award for Best Actress in a Foreign Film for her work in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. 

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Margot Robbie movies: Bombshell (2019)

In 2019, Margot Robbie starred in the film Bombshell alongside Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Kate McKinnon. Directed by Jay Roach, the film focuses on the stories of women working at Fox News and the sexual harassment that they experienced during their time there.

While Bombshell is based on a true story, Margot Robbie’s character Kayla Pospisil is fictional and was written to represent the young female journalists who were violated by the Fox News CEO at the end of his career, according to Variety.

Speaking about her character, Margot Robbie told Variety: “I didn’t understand her to begin with. But my process is to do a ton of research, consider every single option, know every single situation, scenario, thought and motivation inside and out, so I can step onto set and then let it all go.

Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Kayla earned her multiple awards nominations including Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress. She won an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award (AACTA) for Best Supporting Actress.

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Margot Robbie movies: Birds of Prey (2020)

Margot Robbie reprised her role of Harley Quinn in the 2020 Suicide Squad spin-off, Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, which she also produced. Directed by Cathy Yan, the film also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, and Rosie Perez