Some of the greatest actors in Hollywood have relied on method acting to really help them get into character for their films. Robert DeNiro actually earned his cab driving license for the 1976 the Martin Scorsese classic Taxi Driver, and Shia LaBeouf, known for taking risks, actually dropped acid to prepare for his role in Charlie Countryman. Now, Australian actress Margot Robbie has joined the ranks of method actors taking extreme measures for her film Bombshell, infiltrating the right wing side of Twitter to see how millennial conservative women think.
Bombshell tells the story of how the sexual harassment reports made by Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), and the fictional associate producer Kayla Popsil (Robbie) led to the epic downfall of late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). The film, which hit theaters in December, examined the conservative network's not-so-secret toxic work culture of misogyny.
Despite mixed reviews — many viewers were put off by what they saw as an attempt to redeem women who have played a major part in the oftentimes problematic programming of Fox News — Bombshell is a front runner this award season. The stars of the film understand that the women that they portrayed were far from angels (who could forget Kelly's blackface fiasco?), but as actors, it was their job to humanize them.
For Robbie, that meant trying to discover who Kayla would be if she was a real person, and the first step in bringing the character to life was to look into the minds of the women she would likely surround herself with. "“I didn’t understand her to begin with,” Robbie told Variety. “But my process is to do a ton of research, consider every single option, know every single situation, scenario, thought and motivation inside and out, so I can step onto set and then let it all go.”
She began watching different Fox News shows that she suspected Kayla would have liked, and the Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood star also created a fake Twitter account to follow other conservative women. Robbie didn't mention who she followed or how she interacted with them, but given her Golden Globes-nominated performance in Bombshell, it appears that she got everything that she got everything that she needed.
Robbie's co-stars were also beyond impressed by her dedication to her character. While Kidman and Theron had real people to look to, Robbie had to fashion Kayla from scratch, using only her recon to build the foundation for the modern conservative. "I think her performance in this movie is a very rare performance,” Theron said of Robbie. “I’ve seen this movie 50 times now, if not more, and every single time she gets me. It’s just ridiculous — and I’m dead inside! And she gets me every fucking time.”
Will the Robbie's method acting pay off? We'll have to see when the first leg of the 2020 awards season kicks off with the 77th Golden Globe Awards, set to air on January 5.