Margot Robbie wrote fan letter to Quentin Tarantino, got role in movie
Margot Robbie even offered to work in craft service to be on Quentin Tarantino's sets
When Margot Robbie thought she was a good enough actress, she wrote US director Quentin Tarantino a fan letter.
At the time, the 29-year-old Australian was working on her 2017 Oscar-nominated biopic I, Tonya, which she produced and starred in.
She said at our interview at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills: "I did write him a letter just to let him know that I've loved his films as long as I can remember and that I would so love to see him work at some point. I think I offered to work in craft service or something just to get onto one of his sets.
"I didn't even know if the letter would get to him. He asked for a meeting and that's when he told me about the project, which I think was in super, super early stages. It was another little while until I could read the script."
The script was for the film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which opens here on Aug 15, and Tarantino offered her the part of the real-life model-actress Sharon Tate, whose gruesome, sensational murder is the stuff of Hollywood lore and the subject of several books and movies.
In a separate interview, Tarantino recalled thinking Robbie was ideal for the role.
"I did not have a number two. To me, Margot was absolutely, utterly perfect. She was as beautiful as Sharon in a very similar way. Margot has the dynamic visual and personality quality of a 60s It Girl, which is a very special kind of It Girl and they don't grow on trees. And not only did she have that, she was also a terrific actress and she could hold her weight in this triangle with two of the biggest stars of their generation."
The Tate character is not a lead in the film, which focuses on the relationship between a washed-up actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman (Brad Pitt).
The story is set in 1969, and taking a cue from its title, is more of a memory piece of a place and time remembered by Tarantino who lived in Los Angeles in his formative years.
But it does include the tragic killings of the eight-months-pregnant Tate and four others at her Los Angeles home by members of the Manson Family cult.
Tate was then 26 and married to French-Polish director Roman Polanski.
To prepare for the role, Robbie spent time with Tate's sister Debra.
The picture of Sharon that emerged from these meetings was what she tried to use in her portrayal.
"I was interested to discover the more human parts of her. You very quickly get the impression that she was beautiful, lovely and kind, and she was emerging onto the scene and finding her feet in her career, which was really picking up. So those things I already knew.
"And then I was delighted to hear the more personal stories, like when she would be funny or cheeky, and discovering her sense of humour.
She said Tarantino as a director exceeded all her expectations.
"It was so evident reading the way he wrote Sharon that this is a character that he cares so deeply about, and you could tell that he wanted to honour her memory and redirect people's focus to her life.
"It's impossible not to look into Sharon Tate and not fall in love with her. Every interview, every film, she's so easy to adore. She just exuded goodness, kindness, fun and joie de vivre and I absolutely fell in love with her."
The 60s costumes were also fun for her to wear.
"There were a couple of specific looks, like the snakeskin trench coat that she wore to the premiere of Rosemary's Baby (which Polanski directed).
"At the very first fitting, I saw the outfit from Ossie Clark, a designer that Sharon wore a lot of, the yellow top and shorts that I wear to the Playboy Mansion, and I just immediately grabbed it.
"You look at images of Sharon and she kind of coined the boho chic vibe. She would just go to a premiere wearing a crop top and pants and have her hair not done at all and just wild eye make-up and that's it."
And then there was the training for the many dance sequences in the movie.
"I got to work with Toni Basil, who choreographed all of Elvis Presley's movies and was actually in (the 1969 film) Easy Rider. She still dances, she can dance the socks off me, she doesn't stop. She actually was also very much in these circles in the 60s. She met Sharon and Roman and she'd go to the clubs with Steve McQueen, all of them. She could give me a particular insight into the 60s.
"She was very good about telling me what's cool, what's not cool, you would go there, you wouldn't go there. That kind of stuff you can't really learn from a textbook or from reading online, so she was just the most amazing resource.
"But the most fun part was doing this whole go-go dancing sequence in front of a black and white backdrop. It was wild and I loved it."