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July 19, 2018 — By

Evening Standard

In just over 10 years, Margot Robbie has gone from Neighbours to Oscar nominee and one of the most sought-after names in Hollywood. Now, as Gavanndra Hodge learns, she is focused on using her high-powered status for good.

For much of her life, Margot Robbie has been addicted to fear: to the electric adrenaline that surges through her when she is sure she can’t do something, but forces herself to try regardless. ‘I love feeling terrified, I love it when I think I can’t pull it off this time,’ she says. It is this compulsion that made her — then a 23-year-old unknown — unexpectedly slap Leonardo DiCaprio in the face during her screen test for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (the slap got her the job).

It is this determination to push it just a bit too far that made her insist on doing most of her own stunts when she stole the show as Suicide Squad’s baseball bat-wielding psycho with a heart, Harley Quinn. It is this refusal to stay within the limits of what might be expected from a ‘toothpaste model’ (her words) that led her to set up a production company with her now husband and two best friends when she was 24, and to produce and star in I, Tonya. ‘People said, “That will never get made,”’ she says of her film about the controversial, tenacious, domestically abused US Olympic figure skater, Tonya Harding. ‘It gets to me when people say that. So I was like, “Let’s give it a go.”’

I, Tonya was a critical success. Allison Janney won an Oscar for her portrayal of Harding’s ruthless, nicotine-addled mother and Robbie was nominated for an Oscar (and a Golden Globe) for her interpretation of the DIY diamanté Harding. The film was also a financial success — costing around £8 million to make and grossing £35m. Not bad for its producer and lead actor.

I, Tonya was the second film produced by Robbie. The first was Terminal, which has only just had its theatrical release. And it is to discuss Terminal that we are here, inside a suite at The Soho Hotel in London, eating chocolate biscuits and drinking Darjeeling tea. Robbie, who has just turned 28 (she went to Soho Farmhouse for her birthday), is wearing a peach-coloured silk vest and thin gold necklaces, which she fiddles with as she talks.

I was drawn to how odd and dark the script was,’ she explains. Terminal is indeed an odd film, a revenge-noir gangster flick visually inspired by films such as Brazil and Blade Runner. Robbie sparks and sizzles as a pole-dancing, tea-serving hit woman for hire with Wanstead vowels (‘you should try my sticky buns, handsome’). It was written and directed by first-timer Vaughn Stein, a former assistant director and a friend of Robbie’s British husband, Tom Ackerley, also a former AD who she first met on the set of 2013’s Suite Française. One senses that it was an act of friendship that made Robbie push to get Terminal made.

He [Stein] wanted to do it so badly and no one would put the money behind him, which is the case for so many talented creatives. So it was really nice to give him the chance to get his vision out there. At the same time we got the chance to learn how to produce.’ The film, which also stars Simon Pegg, was made over 27 relentless days and sleepless nights in Budapest. It cost £3m and Robbie says it makes her ‘swell with pride’.

Robbie grew up in the mountainous hinterland of Australia’s Gold Coast, kangaroos bouncing outside her bedroom window. Her days were spent on the beach, making rope swings, plunging into mountain rock pools. ‘No one thought I would be an actress because where I grew up it wasn’t a job you could do — I never met anyone who had so much as made a cup of coffee on a film set.

Her parents divorced when she was young and her mother, a physiotherapist, raised Robbie and her three siblings single-handedly. ‘She is such a saint; she is amazing, I love her. She held it together and always put everyone else first.

It was a chaotic, crowded and noisy childhood. ‘We weren’t easy kids, we didn’t make it easy for Mum.’ Not least Robbie herself, who was determined to assert her independence from a young age. ‘When I was five I was watching my mum put spread on my sandwich for school and I was saying, “It’s not going to the edges”, and she was like, “If I am not doing it right, do it yourself. So I started making my own lunch from five years old. If I wanted something a certain way I just did it myself. Mum says that sums me up. I’m still trying to make it up to her.’ (One of the first things Robbie did once her career took off was to pay off her mother’s mortgage.)

When Robbie was 17 she moved to Melbourne, and when she wasn’t working in a Subway restaurant she was badgering the production team on Neighbours. Her persistence paid off and in 2008 she won the part of Donna Freedman, who she played for two and a half years; but all the while she was seeing a dialect coach, perfecting her American accent so that she could make the move to the United States. Again, determination won out. Robbie’s second Hollywood film role was opposite DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street.

Robbie says that she does not regret any of the parts she has played, but she is becoming more aware of the social impact of the roles she chooses. ‘It is a weird thing, having a profile,’ she says, becoming quiet for the first (and only) time during our conversation. ‘It is hard because I would never have got to this position if I was trying to censor everything I did. I would never have an impact on anyone if I played perfect characters.’ She does have some compelling roles coming up: as a pox-ridden Elizabeth I in Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots with Saoirse Ronan; and as Sharon Tate, the actress who was bloodily murdered by Charles Manson’s followers, in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with Brad Pitt and DiCaprio. These are substantial, high-profile roles that explore the power and vulnerability of women ‘that seems to be the contradiction that I am most attracted to’, she says. And films that she is developing include Marion, a feminist retelling of the Robin Hood story; and Gotham City Sirens, for which she is reprising her role as Harley Quinn, but this time uniting a posse of DC Comics’ deranged heroines. ‘If I was going to play Harley again, I wanted it to be in the kind of movie I wanted to see. So it’s about a girl gang.’ The film is due to start filming early next year.

Robbie has been vocal in the #MeToo movement. Last year she was asked to give a speech at a Hollywood event celebrating women and film; she prepared by asking all her female crew member friends about their experiences in the industry, creating a collective narrative that was more powerful than one person’s experience. ‘Of course I knew the problem existed. I just hadn’t viewed it as a problem we were allowed to be angry about. Because no one spoke about it, no one said, “I am not putting up with this any more.” It wasn’t called a problem, it was called a fact of life. That is such a terrible mindset. If we just accept things like sexual harassment as a fact of life, it doesn’t get fixed.

This collective approach is one that comes naturally to Robbie. ‘I never do anything on my own. I don’t see the purpose of doing anything if I don’t do it with my friends. I go mental when I am on my own; my thoughts are so loud it drives me insane.’ On set she says she is never found in her trailer, but always chatting to cast and crew. She made such good friends with the crew on the set of Suite Française that a group of them decided to rent together in Clapham, squeezing seven people into a four-bedroom flat. ‘Those were the best days of my life,’ she says of the nights spent in Clapham’s bars, and the days on the Common with a football and booze. One of those flatmates was Ackerley, who she married in 2016 in Australia, wearing her mother’s old wedding dress. ‘It was lovely, just chilled, you didn’t have to wear shoes.

Her hen night at a friend’s house in Australia, however, was ‘absolute carnage’. There were at least 45 women, including Robbie’s gang of school friends, the ‘Heckers’. ‘There are 16 of us, we have been called that since we were at school.’ Her Neighbours friends were also invited, as were her British gang from her Clapham days: ‘They are a rowdy bunch, too, and the combination was explosive.Robbie is a big fan of fancy dress, always forcing it on other people at parties, so her friends dressed her up in various wigs and massive sunglasses for the surprise finale. ‘They hired a Harry Potter-themed stripper for me; he had all the Harry Potter phrases and innuendoes. I was so touched, it was really such a thoughtful thing to do. They know me so well.

Robbie has been reading the Harry Potter books on a loop since she was eight years old. ‘Right now I am on the fifth book. I know what’s coming next when I turn the page. I can’t meditate and this is what I have to do to fall asleep. Vaughn [the director of Terminal] told me that if you have trouble sleeping, which I do, you should read something that you are very familiar with to calm you. If I read something new before I go to bed, my brain goes 1,000 miles an a hour. Reading Harry Potter makes me happy and calms me. I read for about an hour to two hours every night. My husband hates it.

She also loves magic tricks and has spent many an evening at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, where she and Ackerley have moved. ‘They always call me up on to the stage because I am always the one in the audience screaming. I give the best reactions.

Otherwise you will find her on the Warner Bros lot, where her production company is based, but despite the many projects she has in development, the thing that is getting her most fired up right now is her desire to do theatre. ‘I didn’t go to drama school and I didn’t go to university. I just really want to do theatre. The idea of doing it absolutely terrifies me, and I love that.

Determination has not, traditionally, been considered an attractive female trait. Women are told to be like the swan: graceful on the top, paddling like mad under the surface. Margot Robbie is exciting because she is happy to own her determination, happy to let the world see the beauty and the effort. ‘You can’t wait for it, you have to make it happen,’ she says, shaking my hand firmly.

‘Terminal’ is in cinemas now, and will be released on digital, DVD and Blu-ray on 6 August

May 18, 2018 — By

As Terminal is hitting screens in Russia and across the globe, TASS’ Dmitry Medvedenko speaks to Academy Award nominee Margot Robbie, the film’s star and producer, about what it’s like to do two jobs at a time, how titles get lost in translation, and how she feels about bad reviews and low scores.

– Terminal is coming to theaters across the globe, you filmed two years ago, and the world has somewhat changed over these two years, hasn’t it?

– Yes, definitely. At LuckyChap, our company, all of our films have a large female element to them, whether it’s a female-driven story because there’s a female protagonist, or written or directed by a female. Obviously, in the last just 8 months, after the #metoo and #timesup movement suddenly we had to look at our projects differently, and some suddenly felt even more relevant, while some felt less relevant. It’s a very big shift in the culture and in the industry, and it has kind of brought other things to the forefront of our minds. To reply to your question, Terminal, which had already been shot, it sadly and ironically feels more relevant now, releasing it at this time. It is a classic female revenge story.

– Yet the protagonist in Terminal has a very strong sexual power and vibe that she uses to drive the narrative forward.

– Yes. Vaughn [Stein], the director, and I talked a lot about how Annie has a whole dress-up box and how she can be a chameleon and transform herself into whatever she knows men want to see her as, whether it’s a sexy stripper or a kooky waitress or whatever – she understands the male gaze and knows how it shifts, so she can fulfill her plans where they’re not looking. It was very much a play on the classic film noir or femme fatale trope. And we kind of wanted to lean into that and subvert the tropes in some way.

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– How would you classify the genre of the movie? I watched the movie not more than two hours ago, and I couldn’t pinpoint it.

– Haha. We’ve been saying it’s a ‘neon noir thriller’.

– Is that something completely new?

– It’s a very small genre, haha, nobody makes neon noir thriller films, they’re not exactly marketable. So it’s kind of funny that was the kind of film we set out to make as our company two years ago, something that’s very hard to market. It has a lot of, you know, British humor in it, it’s very weird, obviously there’s a thriller element enticing, but it’s done in a very strange, kooky world. So yeah, it’s a weird little indie film, that’s why we kind of loved it. It was just very different and strange, and an opportunity to do some world building and create an aesthetic we’ve never seen before, and more than anything we wanted to just do something different. Everyone had a great time designing the film, with brilliant ideas on how to do things for no money, and we’re proud of the look they’ve created. The movie was made for $4,000,000 and I think it looks like it was made for a lot more than that.

– By the way, Margot, I don’t know if you’re aware of how the movie’s title was translated for the Russian release. Actually, for both I, Tonya and Terminal the titles were changed right before the release.

– ​I know they do change the titles for certain reasons. How was Terminal translated?

– Well, the initial translation for Terminal was ‘Konechnaya’, which means ‘terminus’ or ‘end of the line’. But the final translation was a different word, almost letter-to-letter identical – ‘Konchenaya’, Which is directly translated as “goner”, so coupled with the Femme Fatale on the posters, it’s kind of applied to your character…

– Huh.

– How do you feel about that?

– I did not know that. I would have preferred they kept the former title. The ‘end of the line’ makes more sense to the film. Unfortunately, we only have so much control over our international distributors, so when they do choose a name, we don’t necessarily get to pick it with them. But I do prefer the previous title you mentioned, that seems to make more sense to the film.

– You’re both the star of the movie and one of the producers, how does that feel – does it give more freedom, or maybe do you feel more responsibility for the movie?

– Both. There’s a lot more freedom and there’s a lot more responsibility. I really enjoy producing, and like I said this was the first film we were producers on. We were, you know, 25 years old I think when we did this, and we hadn’t produced a movie before so we learned everything on the job, though we worked on film sets for the last 10 years, just not in the producing capacity.
So it was obviously a very enlightening experience, but it was also lovely, and very creative-stimulating to have no boundaries. I mean we had financial boundaries, time boundaries, but we didn’t have to answer to anyone, the studio, or boss, or someone that was going to say ‘no’ to things. So it was a very liberating position to be in, to have the people we’re working with come up to us and say ‘hey, I’ve got an idea, it’s really crazy, but… what do you think?’ And we could always say ‘yeah, go for it!’ I mean there’s no one else to answer to. If you could do it for the small amount of money that was allocated to your department – please do, feel free! And everyone did, and it created this incredible collaborative and exciting atmosphere. And even though it was a small indie film, it felt like the possibilities were endless, because there’s no one saying ‘no’. On the flipside it’s also a huge responsibility, and having no one else to answer to means we shoulder the responsibility.
And there’s a huge different side to producing, when you’re using other people’s money – I feel obligated that we don’t lose money. Whether we make money or not I think is less important, I just never want to lose money they’ve invested in a film. But films aren’t a solid investment; anyone who has invested money in a film knows that. It’s kind of like gambling – you do it because you love it.

– Reviews have been coming in rather mixed, with IMDB so far rating it 5.2, and Rotten Tomatoes giving it 24%. How does that make you feel?

– Ooh, I haven’t heard the numbers yet… I think we weren’t expecting this movie to be a wide commercial success, like I said earlier, it’s such a bizarre, strange indie film, and it was never designed to please the masses. So I’m not necessarily surprised and I’m not necessarily hurt by that because a lot of movies I really adore I see with terrible Rotten Tomatoes scores, and a lot of movies I really didn’t enjoy I see get 90-something percent. That’s art, it’s subjective, everyone has a different opinion, and I think we need to take it with a grain of salt. At the same time, it’s important to know how people feel about the product you’re making, and there are always lessons to be learnt. For me this movie is strange and weird, and something that wasn’t designed to be so commercially appeasing, I’m not as upset about it.

– In the movie, you speak with a British accent, cockney – is that right? How hard was that to pull off?

– I was living in London at the time, I love the cockney accent. My producing partners are English, the director is English, quite a few crew members were English, but most were Hungarian, so I kind of had accents all around me. I love having an accent for every role because it helps me disappear into a role, and the cockney one is a really fun one. Because mixed with Vaughn’s dialogue which is that classic British banter with Simon Pegg I got to enjoy for like 10 pages straight at a time – it just flows better in that accent, it’s fun, it was really a joy to deliver those lines in that accent.

– What would be the hardest accents for you to attempt?

– For me, that would be Irish and South African. I haven’t done those accents before. I know that if I worked at it, I could do it, it would just take a lot of work, which I need to do for any accent anyway. Accents don’t actually come naturally to me, I just spend a lot of time working on them.

Source: tass.com/

April 22, 2018 — By

DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros and DC Entertainment have chosen Cathy Yan to be the director of an untitled girl gang movie, likely the next superhero film to be graced by Suicide Squad scene-stealer Harley Quinn, in the form of Margot Robbie. A deal has to be completed, but it is expected that Yan will become the second female filmmaker to join the DC club after Wonder Woman‘s Patty Jenkins, and the first female Asian director ever tapped to direct a superhero film.

This is a bold bet for Warner Bros’ Geoff Johns and Walter Hamada, who oversee DC under Toby Emmerich. Yan got the job over numerous well established male directors, and because she is taking this giant leap with just one small-budget indie movie under her belt. That would be Dead Pigs, a film that won the World Cinema Dramatic Award For Ensemble Acting at Sundance last January. Despite being a new talent, Yan’s presentation for Birds of Prey was exceptional, and Robbie held firm to her desire for this film to be directed by a woman.

Robbie’s LuckyChap is producing with Sue Kroll and her Kroll & Co Entertainment and Bryan Unkeless of Clubhouse Pictures. Robbie and Unkeless produced I, Tonya.

The project is based on Birds of Prey, which in the DC universe teams Quinn with several other crime fighters, namely Black Canary, Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and Huntress. It is not confirmed if all of them will be characters in the film. What is clear is that both the main characters and most of the creative braintrust are female, remarkable for a studio-sized superhero film. The script was written by Christina Hodson, who wrote the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee, and just got hired to write the Batgirl movie.

This film looks cleared to start production by year’s end or early next year, after Robbie completes Once Upon a Time in HollywoodHarley Quinn films are still under construction. That includes the Suicide Squad sequel to be directed by Gavin O’Connor. Two others, Harley Quinn Vs The Joker and Gotham City Sirens with Suicide Squad helmer David Ayer, seem further in the distance.

Back to Yan. She was a Wall Street Journal reporter who worked from New York, Hong Kong and Beijing, and one of the paper’s youngest reporters to land multiple stories on the front page. She wrote and directed numerous short films before stepping up to features with Dead Pigs.

In that film, a mysterious stream of pig carcasses floats silently toward China’s populous economic hub, Shanghai. As authorities struggle to explain the phenomenon, characters intersect. They include a down-and-out pig farmer with a youthful heart struggles to make ends meet, an upwardly mobile landowner fighting gentrification against an American expat seeking a piece of the Chinese dream, a romantic busboy hides his job from his father, and a rich young woman struggling to find her independence.

March 25, 2018 — By

EW – The lady may protest too much, but she’s about to get her due.

On Thursday, ABC announced it is partnering with Margot Robbie’s production company LuckyChap, as well as Hoodlum and ABC International, to produce a 10-part series retelling the works of Shakespeare from the female perspective.

According to ABC, the project will be led by a female creative team and produce 10 standalone episodes. Each episode will be based on one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays updated to reflect our contemporary world. The project will be produced in Australia and filming is set to begin in late 2018.

We are thrilled about this Australian partnership as an opportunity to showcase unique, distinctly female voices in writing, and to demonstrate the high quality of the Australian film and television industry. The project will share diverse points of view, from writers representing the different cultures and areas within Australia, which many would not readily associate with works of Shakespeare,” said LuckyChap Entertainment in a statement.

The project is intended to reflect a wide range of cultures and areas. Giula Sandler created the concept and will oversee the series, as well as writing one episode.

Managing Director of ABC Studios International Keli Lee said, “ABC Studios International is thrilled to be a partner in this unique project. This production is a chance to create something classic yet boldly original and modern. The works of Shakespeare are iconic and this will present them in a way they’ve never been seen before.

March 17, 2018 — By

STUFF I, Tonya star Margot Robbie has confirmed she will play late actor Sharon Tate in the upcoming film by Quentin Tarantino.

Speaking to Stuff in Sydney ahead of the Peter Rabbit premiere on Saturday, Robbie confirmed she would play the actress who was brutally killed by Charles Manson’s associates on August 9, 1969.

Robbie said she was very excited to star in Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

“So yes, I will need to start researching,” she said.

Tarantino’s film has so far been shrouded in secrecy but Variety has confirmed that Leonardo DiCaprio will also star in the film.

Tate and four friends were found dead August 9, 1969. Manson ordered his followers to visit the house where the pregnant Tate was staying in Benedict Canyon area of Los Angeles with Steve Parent, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger.

Tate was eight and a half months pregnant with director Roman Polanski’s baby.

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