The career is officially in lift-off mode for Margot Robbie. The beautiful and talented actress is only 27 years old and already won her first Oscar nomination for iTonya. And she has a ton of big-budget projects coming out soon, like the Harley Quinn standalone, the Tarantino Manson Family flick, and the Mary Queen of Scots movie, just to name a few.
Superstardom came quick, since it wasn’t too long ago when the Australian actress got her start. In 2008, Robbie began working in Neighbours, an Aussie soap opera. Then she landed a role on the short-lived American drama series, Pan Am. Next, some luck came into play, and Robbie landed the role of Naomi in The Wolf of Wall Street. This daring role launched her into the Hollywood conversation. She scored leads in Focus, The Legend of Tarzan, and then Suicide Squad as Harley Quinn.
Robbie rose above dozens of beautiful and talented actresses for every role, and you won’t believe some of the huge names on this list. Margot has been chosen over some of the most well-established, critically-acclaimed, and sought-after actresses in the business.
15 Anne Hathaway - Harley Quinn
Anne Hathaway is an Oscar-winning actress, the first of many on this list. Yes, Hollywood is a fickle place, and even if you win the biggest award out there, you can still be replaced by another actress at any time. The role of Harley Quinn was first considered for Anne, after she did such a great job with her Catwoman role in The Dark Knight Rises. Hathaway would have done well playing the demented Harley Quinn. She was so slinky and seductive as Catwoman, a perfect combination for the female supervillain. However, executives decided to go with Margot Robbie instead, since the Catwoman role was done so recently. Speaking of recent, Harley Quinn is one of the most recently created DC characters, having made her first appearance in 1992. Compare that to Catwoman who first appeared in 1940.
14 Amber Heard - The Wolf Of Wall Street
Amber Heard once had a budding acting career. After her marriage and rocky divorce with Johnny Depp, she turned into more of a tabloid damsel in distress than anything, and her career has suffered. But, back before all the Depp troubles, there was a casting call for the Martin Scorsese film, The Wolf of Wall Street. The Oscar-nominated script was written by Terence Winter, the Sopranos writing alum. The script was based off of the memoir by former stocks wolf, Jordan Belfort himself. And in that memoir, Naomi, Jordan’s wife, is repeatedly described as “the hottest blonde ever.” So, how do you narrow that description down in Hollywood? Well, Heard certainly made the top of the list. Heard has that bad girl attitude and is fearless when it comes to love scenes. With DiCaprio already cast as the lead, the final casting just came down to chemistry, which he had plenty more of with Robbie. More on that later...
13 Cara Delevingne - Harley Quinn
Here’s something that happens in Hollywood from time to time. It’s one of those casting practices that goes all the way down to the foundation. They even do this with high school plays. Everybody auditions for the lead, and if they don’t get the lead, they get a lesser role. With big Hollywood egos, this doesn’t happen with such a high percentage, like it would in high school, but it does still happen. That percentage goes up when the actress is more of a model, trying to cut her teeth in the cinema business. Cara Delevingne is a sought-after name lately. She’s a bit of an it girl, with her peculiar look and sultry personality. She was eventually turned down for Harley and got the Enchantress role in Suicide Squad instead. This happened with Tulip Fever as well, when Alicia Vikander got the lead and Cara nailed the supporting role.
12 Emma Stone - Focus & Tarzan
Sometimes, actresses and actors are constantly going against each other. It’s easy to figure out why. Certain people are a certain type. Like if you want a DiCaprio type and he’s busy, try Christian Bale. Ryan Gosling doesn’t work? Call Bradley Cooper. The same goes with actresses. If you have a certain body type, a certain age, and you’re versatile, there’s really not much separating you from other professionals with the same qualities. Margot has gathered up a couple roles that were first offered to Emma Stone. Stone, another Oscar winner, had a scheduling conflict and had to pass on the Jane role in The Legend of Tarzan. Then for Focus, the lead actor, Gosling, was changed to Will Smith, and Stone backed out. Speaking of weird casting, Olympic swimming champ Michael Phelps was once considered to play Tarzan. Dodged a major fail on that idea. Or maybe not. Who knows? He was pretty funny in that soy milk commercial.
11 Amanda Seyfried - Harley Quinn
Here’s an Oscar-nominated actress who may seem a bit of an odd fit for a superhero movie. Yet, any good artist doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed, so maybe that’s why Amanda Seyfried first pursued the Harley Quinn role. Eventually, Amanda was cast aside from the movie and wasn’t even cast in a smaller role, like Delevingne. The fact that Seyfried hasn’t appeared in the comic book genre before or since is hard to ignore. Seyfried hasn’t done many big blockbusters at all. The closest she’s come is either Mean Girls, which was a glorified teeny-bopper flick, or Les Miserables, which is a high-brow musical. Otherwise, Seyfried has stayed true to the indie flicks, with amazing performances that had nothing to do with superpowers. But, who knows? She could have tackled the role. Naysayers bashed Scarlett Johansson’s casting as Black Widow, but that turned out pretty decent.
10 Rosie Huntington-Whiteley - The Wolf Of Wall Street
Okay, Rosie may have been considered, but we’re guessing she wasn’t in the conversation for long. Can you imagine how different the movie would have been if Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was cast as Naomi? The film may have flopped. Okay, we are getting a little too harsh there, but let’s just say that of all the actresses on the list, Rosie is by far the least talented. She was so wooden in Transformers: Dark of the Moon that critics said she made Megan Fox look like Meryl Streep. And Fox isn’t really known for her acting skills. But I guess they were looking at beauty first to fill the “hottest blonde ever” requirement, and Rosie is surely that. Naomi would have been the biggest role ever for Rosie and surely the last. As it stands, Rosie has still only done two major films, Mad Max: Fury Road and the aforementioned Transformers.
9 Michelle Williams - Focus
Here’s another great actress who has been nominated for four Oscars. Michelle Williams was the big-time acting vet when she was considered for the female lead in Focus. Williams has been in Hollywood since she was a kid and even starred in the TV series Baywatch and Home Improvement. Much more recently, she was the subject of controversy when she was paid union minimum for All the Money in the World retakes, while Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5M. Wahlberg later donated his earnings to TimesUp, when he learned of the pay discrepancy. Sounds like Williams needs a new agent. On the other hand, her agent has been doing well, helping Williams land major roles in films like Manchester by the Sea and The Greatest Showman. She will appear in a major superhero flick soon, with lead Tom Hardy, in Venom.
8 Lily Collins - Harley Quinn
Now this could have been an interesting casting. Lily Collins hasn’t had the lift-off roles like iTonya or The Wolf of Wall Street, but this actress does have great potential. She would have been a good choice to play Harley Quinn, but of course, the role went to Robbie. Collins did a great job in To The Bone, an honest film about the perils of eating disorders. She wasn’t nominated for any awards for that one, but she did catch the eye of many critics. Perhaps the biggest challenge for Lily, while making a name for herself, is rising above her father's shadow. Lily is the daughter of legendary musician Phil Collins. Nowadays, Phil’s music is mostly heard in elevators or grocery stores, but back in the late 1980’s, he was a king. He even dabbled in acting, appearing in the hit show Miami Vice. He also played the lead in the 1988 feature film Buster.
7 Jennifer Lawrence - Focus
Now, this woman seems to be in the conversation for nearly every role in Hollywood. Jennifer Lawrence is another super young actress, aged 27 (same as Robbie), who has already won an Oscar and made a boatload of cash with Hunger Games. She is one of the flashiest celebs around and often makes goofy faces and slightly inappropriate comments. In reality, she can come off as slightly awkward, but on film, she is incredible. No doubt she would have done well in the con artist versus con artist film, Focus. Robbie got the role instead and ended up taking much of the focus...away from Will Smith. The final casting came down to the great chemistry between Smith and Robbie. So good, in fact, that there were rumors that Smith cheated on his wife to pursue romantic exploits with the Aussie.
6 Olivia Wilde - The Wolf Of Wall Street & Harley Quinn
Living in the spotlight isn’t easy, and sometimes, it can be hurtful. This is Olivia Wilde. She’s 34. Gorgeous, right? She has starred in many films, including Tron and Burt Wonderstone and the TV series Vinyl. She’s been engaged forever to Jason Sudeikis. She is not Olivia Munn, who dated Aaron Rodgers. The Olivias do get mixed up sometimes. But back to Wilde, who was actually called “too old” to play Naomi in The Wolf of Wall Street. According to Variety, Wilde was first told she was “too sophisticated” but then later told that “old” was the truth. Now that's insulting and devastating, right? Adding insult to injury, Robbie beat her out again later for the Harley Quinn role. No word on why that pass was made, but it still hurts.
5 Jessica Chastain - Tarzan
Jessica Chastain has really come out of nowhere, hasn’t she? She is enjoying quite a spike in her career. For years, she was just another supporting actress, but she has landed some lead roles that have totally increased her star power. Chastain got her first Oscar nomination for The Help in 2012. Then, she got another one for Zero Dark Thirty. She has followed up most recently with the biopic Molly’s Game. She’s sticking to the biopic genre and doing two more soon. She'll play legendary actress Ingrid Bergman in Seducing Ingrid Bergman. And then, she’ll play country music legend Tammy Wynette in George and Tammy. Chastain was briefly considered for the role of Jane in The Legend of Tarzan. This film had a casting battle, as many films seem to have, once you start digging.
4 Jessica Biel - Focus
Jessica Biel is definitely a fan favorite. But for some reason, she really hasn’t captured the favor of critics or the Hollywood elite. She is known more for her good looks than her good acting, which must be some sort of tragic irony, since all she wants to do is act. Biel did finally get some critical acclaim for her role in the mini-series The Sinner. She received her first major nomination, a Golden Globe for lead actress. She didn’t win but it’s a step in the right direction for a woman not only seen as a pretty face, but also the wife of Justin Timberlake. The role of Jess in Focus really got passed around for a while, right? The role really doesn’t have any definition to it if there are so many actresses who could have jumped in. The Focus script was written by Glenn Ficarra, who also wrote Bad Santa and the upcoming Harley Quinn and Joker standalone.
3 Emma Roberts - Harley Quinn
Here’s another actress on the list with some famous family members. Emma is the daughter of actor Eric Roberts and the even more famous aunt, Julia Roberts. Emma has been getting a ton of roles lately. She has three new projects, including In a Relationship, which will be released next month. Then there’s Little Italy, Paradise Hills, and Anya’s Ghost. She also stars in Billionaire Boys Club, a 1980's remake, which hasn’t been released yet since Kevin Spacey also stars in the film. Emma would have been a pretty good Harley Quinn, but not quite as good as Margot. Emma does have that subtle dark edge to her, which came in handy in the Scream Queens TV series. Emma has also turned heads in nearly 30 episodes of American Horror Story.
2 Kristen Stewart - Focus
Stewart is yet another actress who has gotten more press from her personal life than her acting career lately. Kristen was on top of the world for a while with the whole Twilight series. Then she got the lead in the gritty fairytale, Snow White and the Huntsman. Then what happened? Well, Stewart started focusing more on experimental roles, and her dominance in film began to dwindle. The big projects she did choose went nowhere, and somewhere along the line, she passed on Focus. Stewart has pretty much hit the reset button. She’s gotten into some smaller supporting roles like Lydia in Still Alice and Marylou in On The Road but has yet to earn any critical acclaim. Stewart has a busy next couple years, though, with three projects due in 2018 and possibly a Charlie’s Angels remake in 2019.
1 Blake Lively -The Wolf Of Wall Street
Here’s a casting decision that may have been a deal breaker for Blake Lively. Can you imagine if she had landed this role? Where would her career be right now? It would have skyrocketed, right? Or it could have fallen flat. Blake definitely has the “hottest blonde ever” look locked in. She also has/had chemistry with DiCaprio. Remember when they dated for five months back in 2011? The rumor is that she dumped him, so maybe that’s why she didn’t win the Naomi role. You may have heard by now how Robbie sealed the deal on Naomi. In an impromptu impulse, Robbie slapped Leo across the face during a script reading. The actress thought her career may be over, but Leo just laughed and said, “Do it again!” Following an impulse is what good actors treasure, and those open instincts will continue to help Robbie conquer Hollywood.
Sources: Variety, Ranker, People, IMDb, HollywoodReporter