As an up-and-coming star in Hollywood, you really have to pull out all the stops to get noticed.
But Neighbours actress Margot Robbie perhaps got a little carried away when she ended up hitting Leonardo DiCaprio in the face during an improvised audition.
The 24-year-old Australian says she thought she was never going to work again after getting physical with the Titanic actor in front of legendary director Martin Scorsese, in a camera call for The Wolf of Wall Street.
"I get home at six in the morning to all these missed phone calls and my team is saying, 'You are on a plane in a couple of hours to New York to read with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio,'" she says, recalling the incident in a cover interview out this month with Harper's Bazaar.
"So: race to the airport, get to New York, go straight to see [casting director] Ellen Lewis, she takes one look at me, I’m wearing jeans, flat boots, and she says, 'No. Here’s what you’re going to do: SoHo’s right there. Lots of stores. You’re going to get a really tight, short dress and the highest pair of heels you can find.'"
In the audition the next day, Robbie explains how things reach a tricky edge with her, DiCaprio and Scorsese (who rather brilliantly, she refers to as "Marty").
"OK, so: big open room, video camera, Ellen Lewis is filming. Just me, Marty and Leo. In the scene, Robbie’s character and DiCaprio’s character, the degenerate financier Jordan Belfort – the Wolf of the title – are on their first date. ‘We get three lines into it and he says something and, subconsciously, I roll my eyes. And Leo’s like, 'What was that look for?' And I’m thinking, in my head: 'That’s not a line! Is he really asking me that? Should I explain?' And then I realise he’s ad-libbing. I’m like, 'Oh, shit. He’s improvising! I need to improvise now!'
"So I’m failing miserably. And Leo’s phenomenal. He’s powerful. He can do his part and he can do your part at the same time with his eyes closed. I’m barely getting a word in. When I do it’s not anything interesting – I just look pathetic.
The pair then cut to a scene where they're improvising being married and having an argument.
"In my head I was like, 'You have literally 30 seconds left in this room and if you don’t do something impressive nothing will ever come of it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, just take it,'" says Robbie. "And so I start screaming at him and he’s yelling back at me. And he’s really scary. I can barely keep up. And he ends it saying, 'You should be happy to have a husband like me. Now get over here and kiss me.' So I walk up really close to his face and then I’m like, 'Maybe I should kiss him. When else am I ever going to get a chance to kiss Leo DiCaprio, ever?' But another part of my brain clicks and I just go, Whack! I hit him in the face. And then I scream, 'Fuck you!' And that’s not in the script at all. The room just went dead silent and I froze."
While not all of us would pass up the chance to kiss DiCaprio, it sounds like a bold move on Robbie's behalf - albeit one that left her terrified:
"I’m thinking, 'You just hit Leonardo DiCaprio in the face. They’re going to arrest you because that’s assault. You’re definitely never going to work again, that’s for sure. They’ll probably sue you as well in case there’s a bruise on his face and he needs to film something else.'
"And then all of a sudden Marty and Leo just burst out laughing. Marty says, 'That was great!' Leo’s like, 'Hit me again!'"
The impromptu and risque scene clearly worked for Robbie, who went onto score the role in The Wolf of Wall Street, a film that won rave reviews and garnered five Oscar nominations last year.
Robbie, who also starred in the TV series Pan Am, now has a slew of film credits to her name including new comedy-drama Focus, co-starring Will Smith.
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features