Coming into 2022, Margot Robbie’s star was already on the rise with a growing body of impressive performances in films like I, Tonya and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, not to mention the Suicide Squad films and her own Harley Quinn spinoff sequel Birds Of Prey (which she also produced). A lot of actresses in that position might consider taking some well-earned time off to refresh and regroup, especially with Covid protocols factoring into the way films are made now. Not Margot Robbie. She starred in ambitious back-to-back projects—Amsterdam and Babylon—and still had time to produce more shows and movies with her production company, LuckyChap Entertainment.
As a prolific actress and producer with a willingness to cultivate both emerging and established talent, Robbie’s success can hardly be contained within a single year. We may actually be in the midst of a Margot Robbie era, as she joins actresses Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Elizabeth Banks, and others who have stepped behind the scenes to take control of their own narratives. What’s set Robbie apart is her successful track record in projects and collaborators, qualities that have won her nominations and awards for her work both in front of and behind the camera.
If you’re confused by the similarities between Robbie’s two projects this year—Amsterdam and Babylon—released just a few months apart, you’re probably not alone. While they’re tonally very different (very, very different) they share some of the same jazz-age aesthetics. You might find some of the same words and phrases cropping up their reviews as well, like “chaotic” and “star-studded.” And you’ll often see Robbie’s performances singled out as the best part of both projects. She’s already earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work as ambitious starlet Nellie LaRoy in Babylon, and is expected to get the nod come Oscar time (it would be her third nomination) as well.
Robbie tends to be drawn to roles in period pieces, especially those which allow her to disappear into a character from another time and place. Even when she plays Harley Quinn, she’s so fully immersed it’s hard to see her as anything but that character. Her other notable appearance this year was another trip back in time, in a way. She returned to her roots in a cameo on the final episode of the long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours, where she got her start playing Donna Freeman from 2008 until 2011.
Robbie’s work on the business side has been more wide-ranging and genre-spanning. This year alone she produced two shows for Hulu—the eight-episode miniseries Mike, based on the life of Mike Tyson, and the second season of Dollface, starring Kat Dennings. She’s also been prepping a number of projects due in the next year.
You may have heard of a little film Robbie has coming up in the next year called Barbie, currently scheduled for release in theaters on July 21, 2023. Since the first promotional image of Robbie as Barbie in her classic pink convertible Corvette was released at CinemaCon back in April, every new tidbit of information about the project—including set photos, casting announcements, and behind-the-scenes teases—has been eagerly devoured by the internet. The first teaser, which just dropped last week, launched an avalanche of memes and currently has over 5 million views on YouTube, and counting.
Joining Robbie is an all-star cast that also includes Ryan Gosling as Ken, plus Will Ferrell, Issa Rae, Michael Cera, Simu Liu, America Ferrara, Rhea Perlman, Ncuti Gatwa, and Jamie Demetriou. A lot of the excitement for the project can also be attributed to Robbie’s hand-picked choice of director—indie darling Greta Gerwig. Gerwig also co-wrote the screenplay with her husband Noah Baumbach (no stranger to the indie scene himself) and has described the film’s tone as “Knowing but not snarky, buoyant but not vapid.”
Not content to own the summer of 2023 with one film, Robbie is also set to appear in the upcoming Wes Anderson project Asteroid City, opening next June. The story reportedly revolves around a Junior Stargazer and Space Cadet convention that is “spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.” The film’s massive cast also includes Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Stephen Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum.
Looking at Robbie’s body of work, a few names come up again and again. Though she’s continually expanding her roster of collaborators, Robbie likes to keep her friends involved. Several of them have even appeared as extras or featured players in her films. In an industry that often strains relationships, forming such productive and ongoing creative partnerships is a good sign you’re doing things right.
Take actress-writer-director Emerald Fennell, for example (last seen playing Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown on Netflix). Robbie produced her feature directing debut Promising Young Woman in 2020, which went on to score five Oscar nominations and a win for Fennell’s original screenplay. Robbie even snuck in a small role for her in Barbie. The two will team up once again for the upcoming film Saltburn for MRC Film and Amazon Studios, which Fennell wrote and is directing. All we know about the plot at this point is that it’s a “story of obsession” centered around an aristocratic English family. It stars Rosamund Pike, Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Richard E. Grant, Archie Madekwe, and Alison Oliver. It’s expected to premiere in theaters and on streaming later this year.
Robbie will reportedly also soon step into a new Ocean’s 11 prequel, along with her Barbie co-star Gosling. The project, which she’s also producing, will reunite her with director Jay Roach, who helmed the 2019 drama Bombshell (her role as an ambitious Fox News staffer earned her a second Oscar nomination in the supporting category, after being nominated for lead actress for I, Tonya). Set in Europe in the 1960s, It’s yet another period piece for Robbie to dive into. Depending on how much time Robbie and Gosling take off after Barbie, we may see their new crime caper in theaters before the end of 2023.