Margot Robbie has portrayed a plethora of characters over the course of her career, but Harley Quinn is perhaps one of her most memorable roles thus far, having played the character in three DC films — 2016’s Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey, and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad (2021).
Despite all her action scenes, fight sequences, and stunts, Robbie said she faced the most difficulty in the film’s love scene.
Margot Robbie speaks about challenging scenes in The Suicide Squad
In July 2021, Margot Robbie, co-star Juan Diego Botto, and writer/director James Gunn were present at a press conference of The Suicide Squad. There, Robbie addressed the challenging scene in the movie.
You see, in the DC Comics Universe, Harley Quinn is white after she fell into chemical waste. In real life, makeup artists had a tough time as they had to paint Margot Robbie white every day. This became particularly challenging when Robbie had to film a love scene, such as with Botto. The makeup would rub off on her co-star.
Robbie had this to say about the challenges of filming certain scenes saying,
“I feel like one of the hardest things we do in this film was not the giant set pieces and the explosions and all that and the stunts, it was resetting makeup between our characters because when Harley kisses someone, it’s a mess afterwards.”
Harley Quinn’s look was changed in The Suicide Squad
Director Gunn confirmed this was a bigger issue on The Suicide Squad than in the previous two Harley Quinn movies. Gunn changed the makeup but also wrote a love scene for Harley. Gunn said,
“Something we haven’t talked about much in any of these interviews is how we changed your white skin. We wanted to make sure you were really, really white throughout the whole movie which is what Harley is. So that was a great idea when we were doing it. “
“Then in the movie itself sometimes it ends up being a hindrance, especially when white is all over Juan Diego’s face.”
Juan Diego Botta was a good sport
Margot Robbie’s co-star Juan Diego Botto also had something to say about Harley Quinn’s makeup all over him.
Botto played Presidente General Silvio Luna who took over Corto Maltese in a coup in The Suicide Squad. He’s obsessed with making Harley Quinn his bride, which you can imagine doesn’t go well for him. Botto acknowledged the white makeup smearing all over him. However, he was still happy to do as many takes as required. Botto said,
“Not complaining though, not complaining,”
Robbie recalled the daily process of getting full body makeup for The Suicide Squad joking,
“She leaves a mark. It was our morning ritual. A little divider, I’d be naked on one side getting spray painted every day.”
Gunn added to this by describing the aftermath of each take in gruesome detail. He said,
“He has his face and then Margot’s face on top of his face here.”
The Suicide Squad makeup department had to do a lot of research on Harley Quinn
Heba Thorisdottir, the makeup department’s head for The Suicide Squad explained the challenges they faced while preparing Margot Robbie’s look for the movie.
Deciding on a signature look for Harley Quinn required extensive research. Thorisdottir said,
“We searched online, we ordered tons of the comics — we went on eBay, we got old ones, we got newer ones — and we put together her character based on what happens in her script,”
Ensuring a smooth base was arguably the most important step in creating Harley’s look on Robbie. Thoridottor explains,
“We always start with a hot towel and skin care, then I would use Desert Mist from Arcona as a sealant between the skin care and the products,”
“Then I used the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer for [the look] to stay on all day.”
After using an Hourglass Cosmetics Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil to fill out the eyebrows, Thorisdottir used red eye shadow shades from two different palettes — one from Viseart and the other from Japanese brand Suqqu to achieve Harley’s vermillion look, which was topped off with Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara.