What Neighbours taught Margot Robbie about making it in Hollywood

How a girl from the Gold Coast became Australia’s hottest export.
Loading the player...

For Aussie actors, the path is a well-trodden one – head to Los Angeles and wait your turn. The only thing is, someone forgot to tell Margot Robbie to wait.

The former Neighbours star wasted no time in becoming a box-office superstar. She stole the show in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street, earned leading-lady status in The Legend Of Tarzan and showed off her villainous side in Suicide Squad.

Now, Margot is set to impress all over again in her latest film, Goodbye Christopher Robin. The period drama follows writer AA Milne (Domhnall Gleeson), who created the iconic tale of Winnie-the-Pooh. Margot plays the writer’s wife, Daphne.

The film caps off a massive year for the 27-year-old Gold Coast gal. But, as always, Margot has a little time for TV WEEK…

Margot shines as socialite Daphne in Goodbye Christopher Robin.

This film tells the story of AA Milne, the man behind Winnie-the-Pooh. Were you a Winnie fan growing up?

Funnily enough – and I’m not just saying this because we’re on the press tour – I had Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger [stuffed toys]. My mum used to do their voices, and it’s exactly what my character, Daphne, does in this film.

So when I read the script and saw that Daphne was doing the same thing with her child, I called [Mum] straight away and said, “You won’t believe what’s in this script.”

It was meant to be! How did playing a mother in the film make you think about your own mum?

My mum was amazing – she used to do so much for us growing up. She used to write me little notes and put them in my lunch box, because she worked a lot and often couldn’t come to school carnivals. That made me feel really special.

You also give birth in the film – you’re screaming like crazy. How did you do that?

I was really annoyed that we didn’t see more of that birth, because I did scream my heart out! [Laughs] I lost my voice for two days afterwards. I really put everything into making that look like the most excruciating childbirth imaginable.

Margot played Donna Freedman on Neighbours

Is it crazy to think that only 10 years have passed since you started acting? You’ve come so far… do you put that down to good decision-making?

You’re right, it’s been 10 years since I started working full-time as an actor. It still does feel quick. In terms of making the right calls, it’s very much been putting one foot in front of the other and just trying to keep moving forward. There were a lot of decisions along the way that I probably should have taken. But I’ve always thought if it’s not moving me forward, then I’m not doing it.

What is the biggest misconception about you?

That I spend all my time sitting on a yacht or at a fancy party or something. I wish it was true! It’s the funniest thing, because making films is the least glamorous thing ever. And, for the most part, you’re sitting at a car park. And you only have portaloos while you’re doing it, and there is nothing glamorous about it. I spend my life on set – thank God, because I’m a working actor – but, honestly, there is absolutely nothing glamorous about it.

What else surprised you about Hollywood when you first arrived?

Just how different it was to Australia. When I first walked onto set, there was one of those director-looking chairs with my name on the back of it, and I flipped out. I was like, “That is the coolest thing – who did that? Is this a joke or something?” And they were like, “No, it’s written into everyone’s contracts and a union rule to have your own chair with your name on it.”

Aussies have such great success in Hollywood. Why do you think that is?

I love that Aussies have a great reputation in Hollywood. I think it comes from having a good work ethic. Neighbours helped me develop one – it [the filming] moves quickly, and you learn that if you’re not going to show up and do a good job, someone else will take it.

Related stories