The film Bombshell is the latest piece of pop culture featuring a number of prominent characters to create the downfall of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who resigned in scandal in 2016 after many sexual harassment accusations were made against him.
Bombshell is an American drama film directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph, broadcasted in 2019. The film stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie and is based upon the women’s stories at Fox News, who set out to reveal CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Those actors are both well recognized for their real-life careers in public fame. Margot Robbie performs a character named Kayla Pospisil. Kayla serves in the Fox News newsroom.
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Margot Robbie’s ‘Bombshell’ character is a composite of actual women at Fox News.
Bombshell describes the sexual harassment CEO Roger Ailes perpetrated on the women of Fox News. Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson were two of the more pre-eminent on-air characters who came forward with charges. There were various more women at Fox News who followed them. There was no Kayla Pospisil, but Margot Robbie’s character represents many others.
“She is real to me but in this particular case she is an amalgamation of a number of women’s stories and she’s even more real because of that,” Robbie said. “I have even more responsibility because of that but it’s also a privilege.”
Margot Robbie decided not to reach the women of Fox News
Charles Randolph penned down the script for Bombshell based on the documentation of the Fox News sexual harassment claim. Margot Robbie could have met with some of Roger Ailes accusers but believed that it would not benefit her to portray Kayla Pospisil.
“These guys did spend a lot of time talking to these women and I was very fortunate to have that body of research and experiences there ready and available to me,” Robbie said. “I didn’t want to meet them personally. I felt that I needed that barrier which was a choice I struggled with here and there with different characters.”
Margot Robbie has performed real characters like Tonya Harding and Sharon Tate. When her subjects are living, Robbie does not have a standard rule about meeting them. She chooses on a case-by-case basis.
“If there’s that one element that I’m just not clicking with and I’ve met with real-life people that I’ve played and it’s unraveled for me, okay,” Robbie said. “In this case, there was so much research already and I got it.“
Even Margot Robbie fictional characters are real to her:
Margot Robbie took responsibility to perform on behalf of the women at Fox News who came forth. Just because a character may be fictional, that does not go away.
“I’ve played a number of real-life people before and I’ve always felt a huge amount of responsibility when doing that,” Robbie said. “Then I feel responsible for fictional characters I play too because they end up becoming really real to me. I felt a huge sense of responsibility to Harley, to any. They exist in my mind. They have childhoods.“
Robbie made a biography for Kayla Pospisil too:
“You come up with all this stuff, their backstories and this,” Robbie said. “I could tell you where Kayla’s going to be at 60 if you want to hear. It’s really interesting.”
Director Jay Roach said IndieWire that the character of Pospisil is based on several women who talked to filmmakers about Ailes’ harassment. “We’re not revealing the people we talk to. We’re trying to protect them,” he’s said of the project’s sources. As IndieWire writes, Charlize Theron alluded during an Ellen DeGeneres Show appearance to Kayla being the representation of real stories: “We used a lot of source material in finding the story and also spoke to a lot of women who were part of the story. Some of them were still working at Fox. Some of them really didn’t want their names out there.“
While critics could claim that Robbie did not have to trouble about representing real-life people like Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman did (Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, respectively), Robbie still gives a remarkable performance in the movie—she plays a young traditional woman who belongs to a large Fox News-watching Republican family. Pospisil is also one of Ailes’ victims.
Margot Robbie worked hard for her character:
For her character in Bombshell, Robbie learned Kayla’s Florida dialect, analyzed the Fox News programs she would have watched, and created a Twitter account to follow traditional millennial women’s social media antics. She worked with an acting coach to determine Kayla’s sentimental journey and a movement coach to build her physicality. It all paid off when Robbie is chosen in the supporting actress category at Golden Globes, as well as for exceptional performance by a female actor in a supporting role at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.