Mary Queen of Scots star Margot Robbie has revealed she’s developing a new TV show about the Second World War’s “incredible” female codebreakers.
The actress also has her own production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, and is forging ahead with a new show about the women she “would have loved to hear about in class.”
“I’m only really finding out the most fascinating things about history now that we have a production company,” she tells the new edition of Radio Times. “We’re finding these projects and I’m learning all these things. It’s like, ‘So why is this not in the history books?’
“The things women did in the Second World War were incredible. We have a TV project [in development] about female codebreakers who shaved two years off the war. Never heard of any of them, or the women of the SOE [Special Operations Executive]. I would have loved to hear about that in class.”
Robbie is most likely referring to the female codebreakers of Bletchley Park, who were vital to wartime intelligence breakthroughs. Their story has been touched on in ITV’s The Bletchley Circle, but the work of the SOE is perhaps less well-known: this was the British government’s secret organisation devoted to espionage, sabotage and resistance in occupied Europe. More than 3,000 women were involved.
Explaining why she had chosen to start a production company, Robbie says: “I wasn’t seeing many scripts where I wanted to play the female role – I always wanted to play the male role. The female roles are always a catalyst for the male story, and that’s unsatisfying.
“So I was like, ‘Well, we’ll start making our own films, because we can’t just sit around for ever and wait for them to come along.'”
I, Tonya was LuckyChap’s second project. “No one was going to give me that role,” Robbie says. “I don’t even know if anyone was going to make that script. So you have to start a production company and do it.”
Next on the agenda is a live-action film about Barbie – and though Robbie will be playing the iconic doll, her Mary Queen of Scots co-star Saoirse Ronan has a part in mind for herself.
“Are you doing Barbie?” she asks. “F*** yes! Maybe I can be your weird friend…”
In the joint interview, Robbie – who married assistant director Tom Ackerley in 2016 – also reveals her sympathies for her character Queen Elizabeth I when it comes to the pressure to have kids.
“I got married, and the first question in almost every interview is, ‘Babies? When are you having one?’ I’m so angry that there’s this social contract,” she tells Radio Times. “You’re married, now have a baby. Don’t presume. I’ll do what I’m going to do.”
“Only women get asked that when they get married,” says Ronan. “Men don’t.”
Read the full interview in Radio Times magazine available in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday 15th January
Mary Queen of Scots is out in UK cinemas on Friday 18th January