You seem like a fairly cheerful person, Margot, which is a little similar to your Suicide Squad character Harley Quinn.
She is a really cheerful, bubbly person and I remember when I first started researching the role I had to look online because this has such a big fan base and big following. I wanted to know why people liked it so much. And a lot of comments online were that she just has this unflattenable sense of humour, she’s so bubbly and loves the joker so much. It was obvious people really liked that happy side of her so I definitely don’t want to lose that. Having said that, David [Ayer, director] says it’s a much darker side of the story, something unexpected. So on the one hand you get to be happy during a time that you want to be and on the other hand you have to dig deep and go to dark places. It’s a balance. The other thing is the other characters are pretty serious, so in a lot of the scenes I play out the bubbly side I suppose.
Is her love for The Joker what drives her?
Yeah, at the root of it all I take on a character as she’s in love with The Joker. When you start seeing it like that, it’s easy for me to justify my actions and from there on there’s many other things going on. Because she’s a psychiatrist I think she plays on a lot of mental illnesses and pretends she has things she doesn’t.
How do you prepare for that?
You can find so much on YouTube. There’s a lot of great TED Talks on people with schizophrenia, they’re well educated people too. She wanted to be a doctor, a psychiatrist… it’s really interesting to hear what voices people listen to. I listen to voices in my head over and over again, which drives you crazy. Other than that, reading online, you can find the MMPI test online… things like that.
Did you have much input into your look?
I didn’t have much to do with my look. The hair and make-up team already had a billion references they were working off. It all spun off the day, the imagination, not just for my character but for all the characters. It’s not a bright shiny comic book style, the idea is more symmetrical. Fortunately for us the comic books have so many different looks for her that it wasn’t one certain look, so we had a bit of wiggle room there and I agreed with it all.
A lot of comic book movies are pretty sexist towards women.
I wouldn’t even pigeon-hole it just to comic movies, it’s a lot of movies that are sexist. A lot of the time I think of the script and I love the male character and I’m not that excited about the female character. This film is probably the strongest example of me picking up the script and thinking, “I literally want the female character… that is the best character”. It’s so nice to have this opportunity. I wouldn’t say it’s sexist because the female character is actually better than the male ones in this.
Were you close with Jared Leto during the shooting of the film?
We weren’t together all day every day, which is a good thing. It’s weird, you convince yourself for so long that this person is like the greatest, everything he does is so wonderful. So when he does things on set, I’m like, “He’s so funny.” He’s great. It does rub off.
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