‘Suicide Squad’ Star Margot Robbie Defends Harley Quinn’s Costume
Not only did Harley Quinn become an instant fan favorite following her debut on Batman: The Animated Series, but she quickly became an iconic villain, and it wasn’t long before she transitioned to the pages of DC Comics. While most fans agree that Margot Robbie is the perfect choice for the role in Suicide Squad, there’s been much less agreement over her wardrobe — or lack thereof — in David Ayer’s upcoming film. Robbie herself has officially chimed in, offering her thoughts on Harley’s controversial fashion choices.
Robbie was recently profiled in The New York Times, but before we get to Suicide Squad, there’s this interesting passage about the actress’ role in The Wolf of Wall Street — specifically, how she dealt with the nudity required of her character:
“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?”
Though the director told her she could play the scene in a robe or underwear, Ms. Robbie said that once she got invested in the character: “I was like, she wouldn’t do that, no way. She would be fully naked.”
That gives you a little background regarding how Robbie approaches her work — although Margot Robbie would not have removed her clothes, she knew that Naomi, her character, would.
Which brings us to Suicide Squad. There’s been some controversy over Harley Quinn’s short-shorts and tight clothing, as the character has been traditionally depicted in a red and black bodysuit (which is still skintight). One scene in particular from the trailer has Robbie’s Harley Quinn bending over to pluck a purse from a busted shop window while her anti-hero comrades leer at her behind. That scene has irked some fans, who believe that her character is being reduced to a sex object.
Here’s what Robbie has to say on the matter:
Ms. Robbie said she could justify the wardrobe: Her character is “wearing hot pants because they’re sparkly and fun,” she said, not because “she wanted guys to look at her ass.”
But, she added: “As Margot, no, 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.”
David Ayer also chimed in, saying that he “didn’t think denim overalls would be appropriate for that character,” and adding that Robbie knew that this costuming was “part of the iconography.”
Debate all you want, but ultimately it comes down to intent and context, and watching the aforementioned scene in the trailer, it’s easy to see another side of it — or, rather, understand that we’re seeing things from her teammates’ perspective. A faithful depiction of the character wouldn’t be a hyper-sexualized one, and as Robbie points out, her fashion choices are for her, not for anyone else.
What’s most important is that Ayer and Robbie remain faithful to the spirit of the character, not her clothing. And we’ll see how well they did when Suicide Squad arrives on August 5.