Interview: Margot Robbie
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After making a name for herself opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, BAFTA-nominated Australian actress Margot Robbie is about to hit our screens once more – and she’s hardly dialling down with the prestige of her leading men. In new heist rom-com Focus, Margot stars alongside Will Smith. Clearly, big things are happening fast for the former Neighbours actress – although she isn’t taking anything for granted: “I was pinching myself when I was on Neighbours and yeah I’m definitely still pinching myself now,” she says. “Each is equally as exciting at the time.” Rather than letting nerves get the better of her at the beginning of her career, though, leaving her native Australia for Hollywood with hopes of making it big on the silver screen seemed a natural progression for Margot. She says: “It didn’t feel like a gamble at the time, it kind of felt like the only way to keep moving forwards. I did a lot of pre-planning and saved all my money preparing for three years of unemployment which didn’t turn out to be, so I was lucky.” Her success has soared so far due to her brilliant on-screen presence, but she confesses she still doesn’t “know why it’s all happening.” In Focus Margot plays Jess, is an amateur, eventually professional, con-artist and pick-pocket, who is also the love-interest of Will Smith’s character, Nicky. Focus is written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, whom Margot appreciates write great female characters, one of which she was privileged to play: “They [the directors] said that the heart of it was a love story, so there was a lot to do for Jess in that sense because halfway through she’s a woman scorned and kind of transforms after that, they develop it really well.” She also appreciated playing a character whose personality was developed and adapted throughout the film: “It was really nice to have a character that has one starting point and is a totally different person by the end of the film. It’s kind of nice to play with that, so I was lucky.” Will and Margot work exceptionally well together on-screen, with electrifying chemistry between them – something that was apparently unexpected. “It was something neither of us were really expecting,” Margot says, “but for some reason when we walked into the room we just really got along and that continued throughout the shoot and it made every scene exciting and fun. “It’s not really something you can manufacture so it wasn’t forced or planned, it just existed already, which was handy.” Despite this chemistry, Nicky and Jess (Will and Margots’ characters) have a bumpy ride in terms of their relationship in the film (*spoiler alert*). “I think it took her [Jess] a little while to forgive him, and she kind of punished him for a while,” Margot says. “I think eventually she just realised that that sort of game didn’t matter, and that if he was willing to give it his all, then she would too.”
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