Vogue's profile of Margot Robbie, who covers the July issue, really wants to convey that she's relatable. She's not a blonde "bombshell" who stops time every time she enters a room, nor does she bathe in Evian water in her trailer between takes. She's a hardworking producer whose company is juggling nearly 50 projects, and an extremely dedicated, physical performer who takes pride in her craft, while not taking herself too seriously. In her down time, she hangs out with her friends, and husband and co-producer Tom Ackerley. She swears a lot. In other words, she's a person, not a cardboard figure dropped in scenes to make men salivate.
Asked at the Cannes Film Festival why someone as talented and high profile as Robbie had so few lines in the movie, the director waffled and essentially refused to answer the question. He has since given an explanation, but as the film's July release looms closer, it's an issue that's likely to come up again.
And then there's the fact that Tarantino, who worked so closely with Harvey Weinstein for years, has been embroiled in the controversy over Uma Thurman's allegations of sexual assault against the disgraced producer. Thurman further alleged that Tarantino was complicit with the Weinstein-owned Miramax in creating a toxic environment on the set of Kill Bill, going as far as to suppress footage of her brutal car accident, which has since been released.
For all the fun, quirky facts alluded to in the interview, the most relatable turns out to be Robbie's answer to the question about why a woman who prioritises spotlighting women's work in own company would choose to work with Quentin Tarantino.
"The thought definitely crossed my mind,” Robbie told Vogue. “Like, 'will people view this decision as conflicting with what I’m doing on the producing side?'
“I don’t know,” she added. “I don’t know how to say what I feel about it, because I’m so grateful to be in a position of power and to have more creative control when that is embraced and encouraged now. At the same time, I grew up adoring movies that were the result of the previous version of Hollywood, and aspiring to be a part of it, so to have those dreams come true also feels incredibly satisfying. I don’t know. Maybe I’m having my cake and eating it too...”
It's a carefully nuanced, but still frank, answer — the kind we rarely get in celebrity profiles. And it's to Robbie's credit that she didn't avoid the question, and instead is up front about the ambivalence that many women share when it comes to films helmed by men who have been tainted by the cloud of #MeToo scandals.
It would be easier, and so much more unfulfilling, not to have a production company, Robbie continued. "To not hire first- and second-time female directors, and stake millions of other people’s money, and put my name to it and everything I’ve worked for, but I’ve made the choice to do it, and I don’t regret it. On the flip side—and it doesn’t even feel like a flip side—it was my lifelong dream [to work with Tarantino], and I got to do it, and it makes me sad if people might hold that against me despite everything else I’m doing."
Robbie has put her money where her mouth is. She's playing an active part in furthering the cause of women in Hollywood, and using her own box office clout to raise up those who don't have a voice. And yes, she's also working with Quentin Tarantino on a film that's going to raise eyebrows. Women are not perfect. We contain multitudes, and we don't always have the answers. And you know what? It's not always up to us to have them.