What’s the furthest you’ve ever gone for a job interview? Because unless you had an appointment aboard the International Space Station, Margot Robbie probably has you beat.
If you’re not an Australian housewife or otherwise a fan of the antipodean soap opera Neighbours, you probably know Robbie from her breakout role in The Wolf of Wall Street as Leonardo DiCaprio’s Lawn Guyland-accented second wife. The 24-year-old actress has been hard at work since getting Scorsese’s imprimatur: She starred in the Sundance debut Z for Zachariah, is currently filming the adaptation of the Afghanistan memoir The Taliban Shuffle with Tina Fey, and starts pre-production to play the Joker’s amour fou Harley Quinn in DC Comics’ Suicide Squad next month. More immediately, she’s starring opposite Will Smith in Focus, a gig that took a little more than a call to her agent to book.
“I was backpacking for a week with my brother on an island off Croatia,” says Robbie, beginning the globe-hopping, will-she-make-it story of how she auditioned for the globe-hopping, will-they-make-it caper. “I end up having the craziest 24 hours of my life. I’m soaking wet because I’d been swimming, I get back to the hostel at 6 a.m., no sleep, turn my phone on, and I’ve got all these messages: ‘They want you to audition for Focus. Your flight leaves tonight.’ There’s only one catamaran to the mainland and it leaves in 20 minutes, so I’m grabbing my stuff and I race off and I get the catamaran, I get a bus to the airport, I get to the airport and wait six hours, I fly to France and wait another six hours, I fly to New York, and by the time I get to New York they’ve lost my luggage. My shoes are wet, my denim shorts are damp, I’ve got no makeup, no clothes, and I’d calculated that in the last 50-something hours I had six hours sleep in total, and I walk into the audition and it turns out Will was running late.
“He comes in and says, ‘Sorry I’m late, I was coming from Queens.’ And I look at Will and I was like, ‘Yeah? Well, I just came from an island off Croatia and I’m here on time.’”
Trash-talking your A-list potential co-star is a bold move, but then again, this is the actress who was cast in Wolf partly because she unexpectedly slapped DiCaprio during that audition. And lo, she got the job. “When they hired me for Focus, they said they liked my audition,” she says. “I was like, ‘So I got the job because I looked like shit and called Will Smith a dick?’ It worked out well. Acting 101, I guess.”