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Margot Robbie on Harley Quinn’s Pants (or Lack Thereof)

Margot Robbie on Harley Quinn's (Lack of) Pants

Harley Quinn laughing

This summer, Margot Robbie will appear in Suicide Squad and Tarzan, two films with major blockbuster potential. In a New York Times feature this week on her career, the actress and her Suicide Squad and Tarzan directors (David Ayer and David Yates, respectively) shared what fans can expect to see from her roles this summer. Robbie also talked about the “hustle” of Hollywood and dished on the costumes she’s had to wear throughout her career.

In discussing her 2013 role in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street, she explained “The sacrifice I have to make is that I have to do this nudity thing that I don’t really want to do. But I get to work with Scorsese, which I really want to do. O.K., what outweighs what?” Robbie says that Scorsese eventually offered her the option to wear a robe or underwear instead of going fully nude, but that she decided the character “wouldn’t do that, no way. She would be fully naked.”

Robbie’s role as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad also required her to be comfortable with wearing something revealing, but she says Harley wears hot pants “because they’re sparkly and fun,” and not because “she wanted guys to look at her ass.” Despite thinking the hot pants suit her character, she, “as Margot,” isn’t a fan: “I don’t like wearing that. I’m eating burgers at lunchtime, and then you go do a scene where you’re hosed down and soaking wet in a white T-shirt, it’s so clingy and you’re self-conscious about it.” She also told The Times, somewhat jokingly, that if she appears in a second Suicide Squad movie, “I’m not wearing hot pants next time.”

For his part, director David Ayer said of Harley’s outfit “I didn’t think denim overalls would be appropriate for that character.” Ayer went on to say that Robbie understood the revealing costume was “part of the iconography.”

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything inherently offensive or sexist about the presence of female nudity or revealing costumes in a movie; plenty of movies that I love and consider feminist have both. What a female character wears in a piece of media is less important to me than the lens through which their clothing and body is portrayed. Is their outfit just an appeal to the male gaze? Is the character empowered or objectified by what they’re wearing? Does the character actually have, you know, a character, or is she ultimately just in the movie as window dressing?

Obviously, Suicide Squad isn’t out yet, so there’s no way to really answer any of those questions, but going off the trailers alone, I’m not super confident about how Harley’s outfit will be framed. Although it’s true that the Suicide Squad trailers spend a significant portion of time establishing Harley’s personalitymore than any other recent superhero trailers have spent on their female charactersthat third trailer also has a scene where Harley slowly peels her top off in front a group of ogling dudes. Sure, that could be better in the context of the movie, but to me, it seems like an indicator that Suicide Squad is more interested in developing dudes’ boners than it is in developing Harley as a character.

Time will tell, of course, and I certainly hope I’ll be proven wrong. In the meantime, we can look forward to seeing Robbie in some really interesting roles down the linethe actress recently founded her own production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, to develop projects she can feature in.

(via Uproxx, image via Warner Bros.)

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