We talked to Margot Robbie about becoming best friends with Tina Fey in “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”
You might know Margot Robbie from her turn as Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street (she actually slapped Leonardo Dicaprio across the face during her audition, as you do — but don’t worry, it landed her the role). You’re going to start seeing her everywhere come this summer, because she’s going to be in not one, but two major blockbusters: the live-action Tarzan, and also the highly-anticipated Suicide Squad, in which she plays fan favorite Harley Quinn.
Before all this happens, though, Robbie’s playing war correspondent Tanya Vanderpole in Tina Fey’s newest war dramedy, Whisky Tango Foxtrot, out now.
HelloGiggles got the chance to talk to Robbie, and over the course of our phone conversation we got the inside details as to just how close Robbie and Fey got (practically best friend status) and what it was like playing someone hungry for dangerous situations.
Also, the movie’s just like, really good, and you should check it out. Expect nothing less from the amazing team of Robbie and Fey.
HelloGiggles: I saw Whisky Tango Foxtrot the other night, and I absolutely loved it.
MR: Oh thanks!
HG: I thought the movie was the perfect balance of comedy and drama, and it never really leaned too far into either one of those. How did you keep the mood on set for that, because it’s a lot of heavy war stuff.
MR: Fortunately, we had a very well written script to work off. So that makes it easier, we weren’t fighting against anything. It was already fully formed on the page, and we had great direction from John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, and I was surrounded by people like Tina [Fey] and Martin [Freeman] and Chris [Abbot], and Steven [Peacocke] and the cast was so good, the script was so good, our directors were so good. It kind of made my job very, very easy.
HG: The movie shows you guys frequently hanging out together, like one big party, at the so called “Fun House.” Is that what it was really like on set?
MR: It felt like it! Those scenes get totally carried away, and then I would remind myself that I wasn’t actually drunk I was completely sober, and it was 11 am in the morning. You get so caught up in the whole atmosphere, and for a second I’m like “woooooo!” and I’m stumbling. And actually I’m like, “I’m fine.” It’s like a kid being at another kid’s house for playtime, I was getting overexcited. It was really really fun. I loved the party scenes. It’s just nice to actually not [have] to portray any specific objection for a scene and just to like, be jumping around with your friends. It was a really fun set.
HG: What was it like working with Tina Fey? in the movie, she describes you and her character as “best friends.” So can you now claim that you, personally, are best friends with Tina?
MR: Look, now that we’re putting on record, Tina and I are best friends. [laughs] Yes, Tina and I got along so well immediately, which made the whole thing so much easier. She is the easiest person to get along with. She is so chilled, and she’s obviously funny, [but] everyone knows that. She’s wicked smart. She’s just so chill, which was really nice, you know? I was a little bit intimidated by the thought of working with someone as good as her, because you just hope you can be good enough to work opposite them, I suppose. But she’s so approachable, so lovely, it was really easy.
HG: Her character, Kim Barker, was based on a real person. Was your character, Tanya Vanderpoel, based on anyone, or was she a mix of characters?
MR: No, Tanya was kind of a completely fictional character that [writer] Robert Carlock came up with. I guess she kind of embodies the spirit of some of the war reporters [over there at the time]. But no she’s not based off of anyone, and she’s not in the book [The Taliban Shuffle].
HG: How did you prepare for the movie?
MR: I watched a lot of interviews from female war correspondents. And I did a lot of reading about the war in Afghanistan and what was happening at the time. [Also] the history of Afghanistan, and why it might be terrifying a woman to go to a particular part. My character goes to this particular place, where they describe all the Tribals, and she’s going to go see the Tribals, and then to actually do the research behind [it], and the geographical area that my character was going to, I realized, “Oh that is actually terrifying. And the consequences are dire.” So yeah, it was a lot of reading and watching.