Margot Robbie’s love of Harley Quinn is really only just beginning. A character enveloped in the fog of ‘Suicide Squad’ has been unharnessed and allowed to break free into her own stratosphere of curious, eccentric, dangerous and downright sinister versions of rebellion, violence and evil.
And yet, at the heart of ‘Birds of Prey’, and going further forward in the return of ‘Suicide Squad’, another (as yet untitled) Harley sequel, and ‘Gotham City Sirens’, we have at least another three instalments of a DC character who thrills, fascinates and terrifies in equal measure.
For Margot Robbie, Harley Quinn’s boots are just monster fun to step into, as she reveals to RSNG...
RSNG You have said that you fell in love with the role of Harley Quinn – what was it that made that happen? MARGOT ROBBIE, ACTRESS ‘I love everything about Harley Quinn. Every comic she is in, she is endearing, she is funny, and she is such a fun character for an actor to play because of her unpredictability. That gives you so much scope because she has an array of so many different reactions to anything that happens in a scene.’
‘She could use violence against someone else, violence against something else – by smashing something up or breaking it – or she could be the total opposite of that and she could leap on the person there and give them a big kiss, because it’s all about what works for her and not for the other person.’
‘As well as it being fun, the almost infinite of possibilities makes it so easy to play a character like Harley, and I can safely say that I have never had so much fun or enjoyment either when I am reading the comics about her or when I am playing her in a role on screen. I love her.’
All I am really doing is acting – the hard work is done by writers, producers and directors – I’ve got the easy bit in all this
RSNG You seem to be carving a niche for yourself where you can comfortably fit into the role of someone so dangerously eccentric as Harley, yet at the same time drop right back to a stylish, immaculate character, such as Queen Elizabeth or even Sharon Tate? MR ‘All I am really doing it acting. It’s flattering that the effortlessness of portraying those characters is coming through, because that is really how it feels. Whether it’s someone toeing the line or someone going right out there on the farthest tip of acceptability, at the end of the day it’s a thrill and a pleasure to play these sorts of roles.’
‘I like to think I put into each of them considerable personal investment and a good part of my own persona, but if you saw the characterisation notes and the extent to which we take someone like Harley, work with who she already was then bring about new dimensions to her, you’d know that so much of the hard work is done by writers, producers and directors.’
‘I’ve really got the easy bit in all this, and that goes for all sorts of characters I’ve played.’
RSNG What gave you the idea to pitch this movie as a stand-alone one? MR ‘When I was playing Harley in Suicide Squad, it was so fun and entertaining – even just for me immersing myself into the character – that I thought because she is only a part of the movie, wouldn’t it be amazing if we could take her aside and showcase even just a few parts of her personality.’
‘The fact that we see a lot more of what goes into Harley’s personality, and in giving her more screen time, makes us appreciate her as a character a lot more and what she brings to the DCU as a whole.’
‘We see her in her element, in her comfort zone, we see where she lives and how she lives, what she likes to do when she is free of being assigned something to do. We see what clothes she chooses to wear for herself, instead of the limited options she is given from the box in Suicide Squad.’
‘Also, the normal-ish things in her life – what she wears when she likes to go out and get drunk, and the aftermath of that; how she deals with a hangover, haha! There are many personal things to Harley, she’s not too dissimilar to anyone else like that and it’s nice to have that window into her life.’
It’s no bad thing to keep these forceful characters out there, and Harley obviously has a lot more coming up
RSNG There’s obviously also a very strong feminist vibe to the movie – would you agree? MR ‘I think we need to be careful not to just assume there is a feminist vibe to something just because it’s a movie that enriches all those elements of female empowerment. When it’s the other way round and men are leading out all the very masculine ideals, we don’t go on about it reinforcing male and manly stereotypes in that way, so I think it pays to consider what the real point is. Is it just an action movie with an iconic female lead?’
‘What I certainly do agree on is it’s no bad thing to keep these forceful characters out there, and Harley obviously has a lot more coming up in which she can continue to evolve on screen well beyond what we have done so far.’
RSNG You don’t just play Harley in this movie, but you also worked as a producer on the film. Did it make you proud to be a part of a project that brought so many strong female roles into it? MR ‘When I am an actor, it’s all about working with as many other great actors on a project, a movie, whatever I may be doing at that time. That’s what I love doing and what I live to do.’
‘When you get the chance to be a producer – and especially on a movie like this – it means you are able to introduce talented women into characters and roles where you may not necessarily be familiar with them, before.’
‘For a comic-book movie to be made up of almost entirely all female actors, that’s rare. To be part of a team who is setting a new trend for that and paving the way for others to follow suit, that’s a real big responsibility and I would like to think that we have achieved it first-time around.’
RSNG Do you see Harley Quinn as a hero, a villain, an anti-hero or something else? MR ‘I don’t really see Harley as someone who is truly evil, but then again she isn’t someone who is totally good, either. I think the thing with Harley is that she has completely different sets of rules and morals to many other people, so the things that she does that she thinks may be good, to other people may be quite bad – and usually they are.’
‘It’s not that she isn’t aware of the difference between what is right and wrong, it’s more then case that they are just different to what some other people may think is right and wrong and there are certainly different levels of wrong.’
‘Also, she has different priorities and things of importance to others and that’s why people may judge her to be bad or anti-good, depending on their own moral compass.’
WHAT NEXT? Read our exclusive interview with Star Wars star Daisy Ridley.