The Margot Corner
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When you look at movies, the lead girl is always gorgeous and thin. There is a stereotype that you need to look a certain way and when you get in the business you really feel the pressure.
I was always very dramatic – my family would probably use the word ‘dramatic’ – as a child; always putting on performances, making everyone come watch, and pay to watch. I was very business-savvy as a child.
I love flying so much. I even like airplane food. No one bothers you and your phone never goes off and you can’t have emails go through. It’s undisturbed.
Certainly there’s a huge appeal to the ’60s, because it was such a big turning point to everyone. It was the era of change, the boiling point. People rebelled against things – the hippies, the feminists, the protesters. All these things just built up and boiled over. I think people can relate to that today.
The ’60s are my favorite decade – with the Cold War, the women’s movement. And then there’s the music, the fashion, the clothes, the hair.
New York is the coolest city. The place just never sleeps. It’s amazing.
It’s fascinating to see how versatile New York City is. It lends itself to being so many different places!
I kind of left everyone behind in Australia – all my friends and my family and I had to break up with my boyfriend.
I just try to keep healthy more so than trying to be thin.
Every time I see a piano, I have this urge to play it.
You know, it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it, so…. It was a nightmare!
[on achieving such rapid fame in Hollywood] It was a bit weird to begin with. I hadn’t ever met a famous person before. I had no idea what this business, industry, or job could be like.
[on Harley Quinn] The comics are rad. I hadn’t read any growing up, but now I’m obsessed. I read them in my own time. We went to Comic-Con this year and I didn’t get to be in and amongst it because we were shooting, but the energy is insane. People are nuts. I could go as Harley Quinn in the actual costume from the movie, and somebody there would have a better one.
[on dating Tom Ackerley] I was the ultimate single gal. The idea of relationships made me want to vomit. And then this crept up on me. We were friends for so long. I was always in love with him, but I thought, Oh, he would never love me back. Don’t make it weird, Margot. Don’t be stupid and tell him that you like him. And then it happened, and I was like, of course we’re together. This makes so much sense, the way nothing has ever made sense before.
I think I could handle the partying side of being a war correspondent but I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live in a war zone on a daily basis. It’s a very difficult and dangerous job and I have so much admiration for the journalists who are able to handle that life on a daily basis.
[on her Queensland, Australia origins] I had no idea I was living in a state that gets laughed at until I moved to Melbourne. And then someone was like, ‘Ohrrr, yar from Queensland, eh? You put “Eh?” on the end of your sentences because you’re all a bit slow.’ And I was like, ‘Is this a thing? That Queensland is the dumb state?’ It’s so embarrassing.
[on going to red carpet events] I think I enjoy the getting ready part more than the actual event, to be honest. If I dress like this, people don’t look twice. It’s as soon as I put on makeup and a dress and have my hair done-I can’t get ten meters without being recognized.
I think nudity for the sake of nudity is shameful. If they’ve put it in just so that a girl gets her top off, then that’s disgusting. And you can always tell. But I also think it’s disgusting when someone would have got naked in real life, in the film they conveniently leave their bra on, or hold up the bed sheet. Seeing someone being choreographed into being covered up irritates me just as much. The whole point of Naomi [Lapaglia] is that her body is her only form of currency in this world. So when Marty was trying to help me out, and said in the scene where she seduces Jordan perhaps I could have a robe on, I said she wouldn’t. She has to be naked. She’s laying her cards on the table.
[on being labeled a bombshell] I’m not very thrilled with being labeled that way. It minimizes your work in a film like that where you’re working with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. I don’t want to be reduced to the clichés that come with being called sexy or a blonde bombshell. I want to keep looking for roles where the main interest will be in the character itself; her importance in driving a story forward rather than her relationship with the male character. But I think films like The Wolf of Wall Street and Focus gave me a chance to play very charismatic and clever women – even though they do have a glamorous side.
[on reading for the role of Naomi Lapaglia] When I first read it, I thought, I have nothing in common with her. I hate her. It was a really tricky one to get my head around. But her motivation was ‘You guys are doing it-why shouldn’t I? It’s this man’s world, and I’m going to get mine.’ And I understand that.
[on playing Harley Quinn] Yeah, I guess it’s intimidating because there’s obviously a lot of people I want to please, and a character I have to do justice. But it’s a challenge, I’m definitely up for it, and hopefully I don’t disappoint.
[on auditioning for American network television] You have to audition in front of the network. It’s called a test, and they test, say, three to six actors for a role. You are in front of a panel of network executives, and the show-runner, and all that, in a room with a spotlight. It’s horrible, the most intimidating process ever. And you have to sign your contract before they test; you sign on to do seven years before you even know [if you’ve got the part]. They don’t want to waste time testing people who will turn around and say, ‘I’m worth a million dollars an episode.’
[on taking roles requiring an American accent] I spent two years learning about the muscles in your mouth and bone structures and resonators and all that, so I had a good foundation.
I had told my mom that I had paid off her mortgage. That was something when I first started working and I was making money, I was speaking with a business manager and they said, ‘you should invest your money. What do you want to do with it?’ And I said, first thing is I want to pay off my mom’s mortgage. They said it was going to be a long time before I could afford to do that, but that’s what we worked towards. Every couple of months I’d check in, ‘do we have enough yet?’ And then eventually he was like, you can afford to pay your mom’s mortgage. We did all the paperwork and stuff and it was a big secret to be sitting on for so long. But yeah, it was definitely one of the best moments of my life. It’s like, what any kid dreams of being able to do for your parent and I feel very lucky that I actually had the opportunity to do that.
[on doing nudity] It’s not just with doing a naked scene, but any scene where you feel like you’re going to make a fool of yourself. I just say, ‘you gotta go all out, you need to fully commit to this.’ Because if you half-ass it, it will look so stupid. But if you do it with complete conviction, often times you can pull it off.
[on giving tattoos] I spelled one wrong. That’s definitely the worst. I spelled a word wrong. No going back on that, really.
I would like to be a strong woman. I don’t always feel it, for sure.
[watching The Wolf of Wall Street with her family] It was a bit odd. We had a screening and I didn’t really think it through and suddenly I was sitting there and I was like, ‘oh my God my brother is there, this is going to be so weird.’ It was cool with most family members, but afterwards my older brother Lachlan had the world’s most awkward conversation. He tried to say congratulations and we tried to hug it out, but it was just so weird. I was like, ‘you know what? We don’t have to talk for a couple days now.’
[on hitting Leonardo DiCaprio during her audition for The Wolf of Wall Street] I thought I was going to get arrested. I was like, ‘that was the dumbest thing you’ve ever done!’ You’re going to jail now, or getting sued. And what are you going to do? We were doing a scene. We were improvising and I got a bit caught up in the moment, and it wasn’t scripted, but I was screaming at him and I hit him in the face. Instead of just saying a line, which I’m sure would have been good enough, but I took it a step too far. And then, of course, as soon as I’d done it I was swiftly taken out of the scene and I thought, ‘oh my gosh, what have you just done?’
[on why she departed Neighbours] I didn’t want to play the same role for too long of a time. Because I could already tell within myself that I was starting to play myself a little bit, and I didn’t think I was going to grow as an actor if I just started reacting the way I would in real life. So, I wanted to go to America because there was just more opportunity.
There’s no one more genuinely likeable than Will Smith.
[on what advice she would give Harley Quinn] Find your love elsewhere. Look to your girls, your girl gang. You gotta find your love in the good places. Don’t look for it in the bad places.
[on doing sex scenes in The Wolf of Wall Street] Actually, I hadn’t done a proper sex scene before. I’d done scenes where it’s leading into sex or sex has just finished, but I hadn’t done a start-to-finish sex scene like I did in Wolf. That was my first.
[after hearing descriptions of herself] Wow! Well, they clearly haven’t met me in person. But thank you for the ego boost for the day. That was exceptionally kind.
[on perfecting an American accent] The one word that trips me up is ‘home.’ I don’t know if that’s a psychological thing or a mechanical thing. It’s the vowel, especially since I’m from Queensland and don’t have the most rounded accent to begin with.
[on preparing for the role of Dr. Harleen Quinzel] I ended up looking into MMPI testings. It’s a test that psychologists use to determine what mental illness people might have. It’s a list of 500 questions or something. Whenever we had time to rehearse or improvise, or even in the scenes, I’d just start with those questions. Some of them are basic, and some of them are not. [I’d] see which ones would catch him off guard, how he’d react, and I’d be like, ‘OK, I’m gonna go for this tactic now. It’s a lot of trial and error. It’s kinda like when your friend is doing something stupid in a relationship, and you’re just so frustrated. You’re like ‘What are you doing? Why?’ I landed upon codependency as the tact to take… It’s like a compulsion, I suppose. When you start looking at it the way an alcoholic is compelled, you know, needs to have a drink. You think of it in those terms, like it’s an actual psychological problem, which codependency actually is.