Margot Robbie Says Playing Queen Elizabeth I Was ‘Alienating’

The actor says she was unrecognizable as the monarch, making time on set a social experiment

Margot Robbie at Peter Rabbit premiere
James D. Morgan / Getty Images

The actor says she was unrecognizable as the monarch, making time on set a social experiment

Actor Margot Robbie says it was a real learning lesson playing Queen Elizabeth I in the upcoming movie Mary, Queen of Scots. To play the role, Robbie was transformed for three and a half hours in the hair and makeup room each day into a character, which made her unrecognizable to the rest of the people on the set.

PageSix says that Robbie said it was like a social experiment where someone who has always been thin wears a fat suit to see if they are treated differently.

“I’d say, ‘Hey, how’s your weekend?’ But they wouldn’t even get close to me.”

The normally blonde Robbie wore a series of red wigs with a very pale white face. For the time period of the film, Elizabeth had smallpox, so the actor had to wear a variety of prosthetic scars to document the stages of the disease.

A big part of the decision to take this particular role came down to the fact that it wasn’t driven by her looks. She said she was tired of playing supporting roles.

“I didn’t want to pick up another script where I was the wife or the girlfriend— just a catalyst for the male storyline. It was uninspiring.”

Harper’s Bazaar spoke to Robbie who said that there were different hair and makeup scenarios almost every day.

“They’d start with a head wrap. Gelling and pinning my hair down. Then we’d do a bald cap. Surprisingly, the quick part was the white makeup. And the heavily drawn-on blush, eyebrows, lips.”

Robbie’s costar in Mary, Queen of Scots is actor Saoirse Ronan, who says that the Australian takes the work very seriously.

“Margot is a very, very good actor who takes her work incredibly seriously. 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.”

Part of choosing parts where women weren’t playing second fiddle was starting her own production company, LuckyChap. Robbie says she sees a difference when she works on women-led projects.

“When we set out to create our company, it was sort of a new idea, but then in response to the #MeToo conversation, it was all that anyone was talking about. People were like, ‘Why don’t we make movies for women?’ Uh, what a revelation, right?”