It’s hard to believe in just seven short years Margot Robbie has gone from being virtually unknown globally, to becoming a two-time Oscar-nominated actress and one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood.
The 30-year-old Australian actress, who is leading David O. Russell’s new untitled star-studded film, was starring on local soap Neighbours when her big break audition came in 2013.
The then 23-year-old was up for the part of Leonardo DiCaprio’s love interest in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, and she made a split second decision during her screen test that could have been more break than make.
“In my head I was like, ‘You have literally 30 seconds left in this room and if you don’t do something impressive nothing will ever come of it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, just take it.’” Robbie told Harper’s Bazaar at the time.
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She added: “And so I start screaming at him (DiCaprio) and he’s yelling back at me. And he’s really scary. I can barely keep up.
“And he ends it saying, ‘You should be happy to have a husband like me. Now get over here and kiss me.’ So I walk up really close to his face and then I’m like, ‘Maybe I should kiss him. When else am I ever going to get a chance to kiss Leo DiCaprio, ever?’
“But another part of my brain clicks and I just go, Whack! I hit him in the face. And then I scream, ‘F**k you!’ And that’s not in the script at all. The room just went dead silent and I froze.”
Sounds slightly awkward, but as it turns out, that was what won her the part.
Scorsese told Time magazine he was left “stunned” by her improvisation.
“She clinched her part in The Wolf of Wall Street during our first meeting by hauling off and giving Leonardo DiCaprio a thunderclap of a slap on the face,” the director said.
“[It was] an improvisation that stunned us all.”
To say Robbie’s rise was swift after the film was released in 2014 is an understatement.
She appeared in four films the following year, including Focus alongside Will Smith, and in 2016 she won the role of the iconic Harley Quinn in the DC Comics superhero film, Suicide Squad.
But it was 2017 – only three short years after she broke onto the scene – when Robbie’s fame really bolstered.
She played disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, and scored her very first Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
It was also the very first film to come from production company LuckyChap Entertainment, which Robbie started alongside her husband, Tom Ackerley, and friends Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr.
Robbie, who founded the company in 2014 with a mission to develop female-driven content, stepped on as producer for I, Tonya, working with a pretty dismal $US11 million ($A20 million) budget.
It was a giant success both critically and commercially.
Since then, she’s gone on to star in more successful films, including the Oscar nominated Bombshell and Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood.
Originally published as Margot’s tense audition with Leo: ‘I froze’