First, I just need to note that I NEVER thought I would live to see Vogue promoting a story on “next-gen ice creams.” That seems like a story ripped right out of a parody pitch meeting, wherein Anna Wintour would be so enraged by the idea of writing about DESSERTS in her BLESSED FASHION BIBLE that she would throw a chair through a glass wall.
Okay, onto the meat of this post: This cover does not say, “Hi, I’m Margot Robbie. I’m fearless, fun, and defying Hollywood’s expectations.” Instead, it is more of a meditation on bedhead and hangovers, or the perils of letting anyone drive you anywhere in a convertible with the top down. She looks, to be blunt, bored as f*ck and also like she might be hoping you will mistake her for Olivia Wilde. So many of Vogue’s covers feel like the U.S. mothership feels Edward Enninful’s UK edition breathing down its neck and hijacking some of its artistic cred, and nobody over there has a clue what to do about it, so they just put Margot in expensive PJs and pointed a wind cannon at her and said, “Feel your feelings.” If this is “fashion’s more-is-more season,” couldn’t we do Margot Robbie in a more-is-more cover extravapalooza? Her persona in most profiles, including this one, is a lot more appealing than The Beautiful Walking Dead. This doesn’t really make me want to pick up the magazine and read.
Good, then, that for now we can read it online. I enjoyed learning about Margot’s production company, and how she has a female director and writer and lots of rad ladies on the crew of Birds of Prey — the “less male gaze-y” Harley Quinn movie — and that she’s using her cred to get a lot of first-time female writers and directors working. I didn’t think the quote, said to Robbie, “You kind of have a business mind,” was all that energetic or essential, and Quentin Tarantino’s first cited reason for casting her to play Sharon Tate was, wait for it, “She looks like Sharon Tate.” So some bits of this are mundane, and I often wished we were spending more time on Margot’s quotes and less on getting other people to tell us she’s great. Let her show us, because she can.
But I have to give Robbie credit for facing the question of working with Tarantino — whose work she always idolized, and to whom she wrote a letter asking for an opportunity after she saw herself in I, Tonya, and finally thought she was ready — in light of the #MeToo discussions, which encompass everything from whether his Miramax work was tainted by the tentacles of Harvey Weinstein (whom Tarantino’s onetime muse Uma Thurman has accused of misconduct), and then the story Thurman told about an on-set car crash and other situations she felt either put her in danger or demeaned her. Robbie doesn’t wriggle out of the question:
Tarantino has never been accused of sexual misconduct or harassment. He called the car crash “one of the biggest regrets of my life.” Robbie tells me she was reassured by this and by the fact that Tarantino had helped make the footage public. “But the thought definitely crossed my mind,” Robbie says, “like, Will people view this decision as conflicting with what I’m doing on the producing side?
“I don’t know,” she continues. “I don’t know how to say what I feel about it, because I’m so grateful to be in a position of power and to have more creative control when that is embraced and encouraged now. At the same time, I grew up adoring movies that were the result of the previous version of Hollywood, and aspiring to be a part of it, so to have those dreams come true also feels incredibly satisfying. I don’t know. Maybe I’m having my cake and eating it too. . . .”
Robbie is answering this question because I asked, and it shouldn’t really fall to actresses to right the wrongs of Hollywood. The fact is that old power structures haven’t gone away, even as new ones are still emerging. “It would be easier, and so much more unfulfilling, not to have a production company,” Robbie says. “To not hire first- and second-time female directors, and stake millions of other people’s money, and put my name to it and everything I’ve worked for, but I’ve made the choice to do it, and I don’t regret it. On the flip side—and it doesn’t even feel like a flip side—it was my lifelong dream [to work with Tarantino], and I got to do it, and it makes me sad if people might hold that against me despite everything else I’m doing.”
Whether you like her answer, or appreciate the fact that she’s wrestling with it openly, or think it’s terrible, I do think she gets a salute for not dodging any of it when so many others do. The whole piece is here; enjoy.