The I, Tonya Skill That Helped Margot Robbie Play Harley Quinn In Birds Of Prey

Harely Quinn in Birds of Prey

Margot Robbie is one of those actors who it seems can do anything. She's played a wide variety of characters in her comparatively short career and she seems to disappear into every role she creates. She appears willing to do just about anything required of her on screen, and that includes, as it turns out, action scenes on roller skates.

It's maybe not too shocking that Birds of Prey includes an action scene where Harley Quinn runs around on roller skates, that's par for the course for a character like her. However, what might be a bit more surprising is that it's actually Margot Robbie doing all her own skate work in the film. Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan told CinemaBlend's Sean O'Connell that, while they did have a technical expert on the set to work with Robbie, she took to the skates quite easily because of her experience playing Tonya Harding in I, Tonya. Check out Cathy Yan's full comments below...

It's got to be nice when the hard work one does for one film pays dividends later on. That was the case here, as Margot Robbie had to train long enough to play Tonya Harding that she could be believable as a world class skater. In Birds of Prey, she probably only had to be good enough to avoid breaking her ankle, as Cathy Yan mentions that the insurance company apparently didn't love the idea of the movie's star on roller skates, but her previous experience on ice skates probably helped prevent such accidents.

We've seen glimpses of the scene in question in the trailers for Birds of Prey, which show Harley Quinn in skates being pulled behind a motorcycle. It's perfectly clear why the insurance company was not a fan of this idea.

You wouldn't think that figure skating and roller skating would necessarily have all that much in common, besides the similar tools the two activities require, but in this particular case, their might be more similarities than differences. As the movie I, Tonya portrays, Harding was always something of an outsider in the figure skating community. During an era where the focus was on graceful skating, Harding was more of a pure athlete, capable of more impressive jumps than most of her competitors. As such, Margot Robbie's training to perform like Harding likely helped in a sequence in Birds of Prey that, one can assume, was low on grace and heavy on power.

Those of us not lucky enough to attend the World Premiere or other early screening have to wait to see what Harley Quinn can do on roller skates, but based on the reaction of those that have seen the film, it will be worth the wait. Early reactions have been quite positive overall, making Birds of Prey look like it will almost certainly be the latest in a string of WB/DC success stories that has included Shazam!, Joker and Aquaman. Birds of prey hits theaters on Friday.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.