MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
MARGOT’S MAKE- UNDER
It’s hard to imagine the dazzling Margot Robbie looking anything less than stunning – but the star has proven just how much of a pro she is by getting a serious makeunder for her latest role in the period biopic Maryqueenof Scots. Margot, who also deglammed for her Oscar-nominated performance in I,tonya, admits it wasn’t easy to take on the part of Queen Elizabeth I in the epic tale of two monarchs at war. Nor were those hours spent in the make-up chair every morning, it seems...
How did they transform you into the Queen every day?
They’d start with a headwrap, gelling and pinning my hair down. Then we’d do a bald cap. Surprisingly, the quick part was the white make-up. And the heavily drawn-on blush, eyebrows, lips. Normally there’s someone who steps in and says, “No, keep all the girls looking pretty!” But Josie Rourke, the Director, was keen to explore how Queen Elizabeth I’s looks affected her relationships.
When you first saw yourself made up as Elizabeth, did you cringe?
I really loved it. It wasn’t scripted to be quite the drastic aesthetic transformation that you end up seeing on screen. But when you’re looking at pictures of people with smallpox, it is horrific. It is that drastic and incredibly painful, and it also helped us answer the question of why she ended up packing on all that white make-up and why she had the receding hairline and all the wigs. In real life, she also had wooden teeth, but we didn’t take it that far. We definitely didn’t over-exaggerate the look. There were very talented people who said, “Let’s take it to that place.”
How did you feel about playing such an icon?
It’s terrifying to take on a role that so many incredible actresses have played before, the last time by my absolute acting idol Cate Blanchett. That, on a surface level, was enough to scare me off. Delving a little deeper, I just didn’t know how to play a queen. I couldn’t find any common ground. I couldn’t find a way into the character, to understand what she was experiencing. I thought I wasn’t really worthy of this role. I thought they should be getting an actress who’s gone to drama school and studied Shakespeare and literature and history. I had a lot of research to do to provide the context of the period... it was a wild, wild time. I fell in love with the period and with Elizabeth. She’s a very tragic character, to me.
Do you still pinch yourself when you think how far you’ve come since your Neighbours days?
I’ve been working non-stop for 10 years, but I’m still giddy every time I walk on a set. We live and breathe the work here in LA. I’ve got my head down!
Were you ever worried you’d always be typecast as the pretty blonde?
Once I did The Wolf Ofwallstreet, I was definitely receiving specific roles that were all really similar to what I had done in that movie, which was odd to me because I’m nothing like that character. I remember saying to my team, “We can’t take any of these roles, otherwise I’m going to play the wife or girlfriend my whole life.” I don’t want to pick up a script where I want to play the guy character, instead of the female character I’m being offered. In cinemas Thursday January 17