Margot Robbie Explained Why Her Feet Were So Dirty In That Viral Scene From Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

If there’s one thing that Margot Robbie is known for besides playing roles like Harley Quinn, Tonya Harding and Nellie LaRoy, it’s how frequently she’s shown her tootsies on the big screen. There’s a whole timeline about her feet stretching back to when she made her Hollywood debut in The Wolf of Wall Street, and Robbie’s feet received renewed attention a few months back thanks to the Barbie trailer. But as far as her released movies go, arguably the biggest example so far comes from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and the actress has explained why her feet were dirty during that memorable scene from the 2019 flick.

It’s no secret that many of Quentin Tarantino’s movies highlight women’s feet in one form or another (which the filmmaker has defended), and along with Margaret Qualley’s Pussycat going barefoot while riding around with Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth in his car, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood also saw Robbie’s Sharon Tate slipping off her boots while in a theater watching herself in the movie The Wrecking Crew. While going over her various looks, both on screen and in real life, with Vogue, Robbie shared the reasoning behind her feet looking all scuffed up rather than relatively pristine with these words:

My character walks into a movie theater to see herself on the big screen and she kind of kicks off her go-go boots and puts her feet up and settles in to watch the movie. But my feet were dirty because I'd been walking around set. They stayed dirty in the movie because Quentin said, 'Don't. Don't clean them.' Someone ran in to do it and he was like, ‘No it’s real, keep it.’

It would have been easy enough to clean off Margot Robbie’s feet after she’d been walking around on set, then shoot the scene, but Quentin Tarantino decided to keep them as they were in order to make the moment fee; more “real.” It’s entirely possible this Once Upon a Time in Hollywood scene wouldn’t have gotten as much attention had Robbie’s feet been scrubbed beforehand, but looking at how it was ultimately shot, it definitely sticks out.

Having said that, this shouldn’t be used as a defense for displaying your feet in a movie theater. Had anyone been sitting right next to Sharon Tate, you can bet they would have insisted she put her shoes back on or at least mean-mugged her for a while. That's my strategy when this happens on airplanes. 

All in all, Robbie says her Once look was super meaningful, and was even able to speak with Sharon Tate's sister about what the actress loved. She called the overall costume "special," noting, 

This costume was special for a lot of reasons. One [Tarantino] wanted the white gogo boots, that was written in the script. I had this black Chanel purse because Sharon Tate always had her black Chanel purse. I remember when I talked to her sister she mentioned as well, she's like, ' She always had that purse she loved that purse.' Playing Sharon Tate was like being on holiday every day because she was so happy and lovely and lighter than air. Just this golden floaty angel. And so I just felt happy and floaty every day as well.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood proved to be another critical and commercial success for Quentin Tarantino’s filmography, and Robbie walked away from it with a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. So it was undoubtedly special for a lot of other reasons as well.

How Margot Robbie got involved with Once is kind of a fun story. She was brought onto the movie after she wrote to Tarantino and told him she’d love to work with him in “any capacity,” and she described the story as a “celebration” of Sharon Tate’s life ahead of its release. Rather than depict Tate’s death, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s ending established a different fate for the character thanks to Cliff Booth and Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Rick Dalton, who recently “died”  at the age of 90.

If you’d like to stream Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, you’ll need to have a Start subscription. Otherwise, Margot Robbie has two 2023 new movie releases arriving soon, with Asteroid City coming out on June 16 and Barbie following on July 21.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.