Margot Robbie is no stranger to completely transforming into character for many of her movies, but the latest one took it to a whole new level.
The actress, who plays Queen Elizabeth I in the upcoming Mary Queen of Scots, told Harper’s Bazaar for their latest cover that her costars were often intimidated when she was in costume—especially when she played the Queen in the years after she was affected by a horrible and scarring bout of small pox.
“I’d say, ‘Hey, how’s your weekend?’ But they wouldn’t even get close to me,” Robbie, 28, recalls of trying to chat with people while covered with scars and thick white makeup. “It was very alienating. And I felt very lonely. It was an interesting social experiment.”
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Robbie says had to wear layers of prosthetics and makeup to transform into Elizabeth, who often sported the heavy white makeup to cover the scars on her face for the small pox. It made her completely unrecognizable in the role, stripping away the Australian beauty’s distinctive features and glowing blonde hair.
“Normally there’s someone who steps in and says, ‘No, keep all the girls looking pretty!’” she says of her experience on movie sets. “But Josie Rourke, the director, was keen to explore how Queen Elizabeth’s looks affected her relationships.”
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Of the relationships Elizabeth had, Robbie told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year that her rivalry with Queen Mary of Scotland, played by Saoirse Ronan, was born out of manipulation from outside sources. The film deals entirely with their fraught communications.
“Everyone manipulated their relationship,” Robbie told EW of Mary and Elizabeth. “It’s complicated, it’s tragic, and it’s bizarre. The only other person in the world who could understand the position they were in was each other.”
Mary Queen of Scots hits theaters Dec. 7.
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