Why Tina Fey And Margot Robbie Found Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Impossible To Prepare For

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot sees both Tina Fey and Margot Robbie play war correspondents in Afghanistan during the height of the US’ attempt to fight the war on terrorism. Obviously, the 30 Rock comedienne and Wolf Of Wall Street actress have never really been in a war time environment, and the duo have admitted that one of the biggest hurdles of their shoot for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was creating a real feeling of danger and peril. 

During a recent press conference for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I heard Margot Robbie explain how, having had no exposure to being a war correspondent, she tried a variety of ways to prepare for her role as Tanya Vanderpoel:

It is difficult, having no exposure to what it would be like to be a war correspondent. I did like a lot of reading about things that we weren’t actually talking about in the script necessarily, but you know, the things that would happen to reporters over there, just so that I could recognize the stakes that we would technically be in and try and bring that fear to a scene … So I just tried to read about it, so I could kind of get a grasp of the stakes. ... But yeah, definitely difficult not actually being there and not actually feeling the imminent danger the way they would have been.

Margot Robbie’s comments were echoed by Tina Fey, who admitted that their shooting location of New Mexico wasn’t really imbued with quite the same peril and dread as Afghanistan. However, Tina Fey insisted that issue almost instantly dissipated because of the quality of Robert Carlock’s script. 

The most challenging thing, personally, was trying to pretend we were there [in Afghanistan]. To really try to imagine the feeling of danger. Because we were in New Mexico, we are in the United States. ... Because everything else was there for us. The words were there, the characters were so well drawn, so that for me was the biggest challenge.

I’m guessing that, since the alternative would have been to actually travel across the length and breadth of the globe to Afghanistan, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’s actors were quite happy with the decision to shoot in the safety of New Mexico. 

Also, having been lucky enough to already see Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I can attest that directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa do a fine job of recreating the Afghanistan location, with it never being apparent that shooting had taken place in the good ol’ US of A. Or maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough. 

Based on Kim Barker’s book The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days In Afghanistan And Pakistan, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot will be released at the end of this week on March 4. And with a cast that includes Tina Fey (30 Rock), Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), Martin Freeman (The Office), Christopher Abbot (Girls), Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa), and Alfred Molina (Boogie Nights) you can rest assured that it’s peppered with humor and at the very least emminently watchable. For more on Whiskey Tango Foxtrot look out for my review, which will be uploaded later this week. 

Gregory Wakeman