Margot Robbie says her on-screen transformation into Queen Elizabeth I in her upcoming drama “Mary Queen Of Scots” was an “alienating” experience because her castmates couldn’t bear to look at her in her intense makeup.
“I felt very lonely. It was an interesting social experiment,” the 28-year-old Australian actress tells Harper’s Bazaar, describing her smallpox-scarred look, which took three and a half hours to create every day.
“They’d start with a head wrap, gelling and pinning my hair down. Then we’d do a bald cap,” she describes, adding that she wore a variety of wigs for the part. “Surprisingly, the quick part was the white makeup 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’s looks affected her relationships, and everyone had the guts to do it.”
Saoirse Ronan, Robbie’s co-star in “Mary Queen Of Scots” has high praise for the actress.
“Margot is a very, very good actor who takes her work incredibly seriously,” says Ronan who plays Mary in the film. “I don’t think looks even factor into it. Even when she has a glamorous role, she’s got this brilliant, strong presence, and part of that is because she’s a very sincere and authentic person. She’s very open. What you see is what you get.”
While Ronan and Robbie got along off-screen, audiences will only get to see the pair share one scene together in the finished film about Mary Stuart’s attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, only to find herself imprisoned as she awaits execution.
“I feel like Mary and Elizabeth could have just sat down and worked it out over coffee,,” Robbie laughs. “But all those men kept getting in their way.”
“Mary Queen Of Scots” opens in theatres December 14.