From nat­u­ral beauty to 16th cen­tury beau­ti­fied

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - Read the film re­view in The Guide

IN Jan­uarys past an olive-skinned Mar­got

Rob­bie might have been seen in her bathers en­joy­ing the beaches in her home State of Queens­land.

But this Wed­nes­day she’ll barely be recog­nis­able to her le­gion of fans when she be­comes the lat­est power ac­tor to morph into El­iz­a­beth I in the much-an­tic­i­pated Mary Queen of Scots.

Rob­bie dons lay­ers of make-up and pros­thet­ics, and even de­picts the so-called Vir­gin Queen, who ruled Eng­land and Ire­land from 1558 to 1603, while she was suf­fer­ing a bout of small­pox (in­set, above).

Rob­bie’s just the lat­est ac­claimed ac­tor to make the trans­for­ma­tion, with Judi Dench playing Queen El­iz­a­beth I in 1998’s Shake­speare in Love and Cate Blanchett wow­ing in El­iz­a­beth the same year. And the leg­endary Bette Davis played the monarch twice — op­po­site Er­roll Flynn in The Pri­vate Lives of El­iz­a­beth and Es­sex (1939) and The Vir­gin Queen in 1955. Rob­bie, who stars along­side Saoirse Ro­nan as Mary Queen of Scots, said it took up­wards of three hours in hair and make-up to achieve the look.

The 28-year-old for­mer Neigh­bours star, who was nom­i­nated for an Os­car for I, Tonya, said she en­joyed the trans­for­ma­tion, de­spite the re­ac­tions of cast mates and crew.

“It was an alien­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause peo­ple looked away from me,” she said.

“(But) I feel like I’m more hid­den when I’m be­hind the make-up. It makes me feel safer in some ways. “Playing Queen El­iz­a­beth I, I didn’t recognise my­self and, ob­vi­ously, I didn’t sound like my­self. So the process of be­com­ing her gave me time to stop be­ing my­self and made it eas­ier to trans­form.”

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