Margot Robbie and Michael B. Jordan seem to effortlessly check all the movie star boxes: Megawatt charm? Check (those smiles!). Actor clout? No problem (having Martin Scorsese and Ryan Coogler launch their respective careers can't hurt). Lucrative blockbuster movie franchises? Yep, that too (Robbie in Suicide Squad and Jordan in Creed, with a memorable detour into Wakanda). So, as it turns out, they have a lot to talk about—and not just about fame and their good fortune. Here, as part of our annual Best Performances portfolio, Robbie, who starred in the recent palace-intrigue period drama Mary Queen of Scots, and Jordan, who returned in Creed 2 and dominated the screen in Black Panther this year, sit down with W's Editor at Large Lynn Hirschberg to share not only how it is they make morally questionable villains like Harley Quinn and Killmonger into magnetic antiheroes, but also their totally embarrassing early email addresses, their most memorable red carpet fashion faux pas, and their frankly amazing first kiss stories.
So Michael, what's the first album you ever bought?
Michael B. Jordan: First album? Ah, man, that's a good one.
Margot Robbie: Oh, that is a good one.
Jordan: I want to say, on cassette tape... um, Usher's My Way.
Robbie: That's a good answer.
Jordan: You're taking me back. I want to say I rode my bike to the music store that was, like, down the street.
What was the first album you ever bought, Margot?
Robbie: I think the first album I bought was, um, AFI's Sing the Sorrow. I was in a bit of a heavy metal phase. But I think the first single I bought was Blink 182, "All the Small Things."
Jordan: Okay. So the heavy metal. Are you still in that phase or did you pass that?
Have you ever gone through a heavy metal phase, Michael?
Jordan: I have not.
Jordan: But electric guitar solos are my thing. Like, I love, the Ernie Isleys of the world, the "Who's That Lady" solo is pretty incredible. [Michael Jackson's] "Dirty Diana" is pretty good.
Do you play air guitar?
Jordan: Air guitar? All day. [Laughs.]
Robbie: I can air guitar. That's about the extent of my musical prowess, really.
Michael, did you box before Creed?
Jordan: I never officially boxed but karate, martial arts, and stuff like that. And then I kinda segued into boxing.
And you, Margot, have you ever boxed?
Robbie: I've done a bit of boxing, yeah—mainly to prepare for fight training, like stunt work. And I really, really like it. I have stupidly long arms, like, they're too long for my body. So actually it's kind of good when you're boxing.
Jordan: The reach is incredible.
Robbie: An extra long reach. And it looks good on camera. Having long limbs on camera makes your punches—
Jordan: Your punch is a little wider, yeah, yeah, yeah. She knows what she's talking about.
What I love about both of your performances in different movies is that although you kind of play superheroes in both Suicide Squad and in Black Panther, you're also kind of antiheroes at the same time. There's a kind of dichotomy to the characters.
Robbie: A lovable rogue.
Jordan: That's right. I like that. I mean, those are the most interesting characters to me sometimes, like when I'm watching films that, on screen, are the ones that you can empathize with. Like, they want you to root against 'em. They want you to not like them. But somehow you can still understand where they're coming from and that's important.
Do you have a favorite villain? Other than Killmonger.
Jordan: Yeah, because he's tough. I mean, honestly, it's between [Michael] Fassbender's Magneto and Heath Ledger's Joker. Honestly. Those two are pretty up there for me. [To Robbie] What about you?
Robbie: I'm totally stealing someone else's answer. I've heard someone else say this, but I do truly think this is a genius villain: HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Jordan: Ohhh. Man.
Robbie: It's just such a cool villain. That was genius.
But it is also kind of weirdly sympathetic.
Robbie: Totally. The best villains are sympathetic.
With both these characters, you act with very little clothing on. Is it difficult to act when you are basically naked?
Robbie: Uh ...
Jordan: I'm always naked, actually.
Robbie: Honestly, for me, as Harley at least, the more skin showing the longer it takes in hair and makeup 'cause she's got, you know, white skin and a million tattoos. So if anything outside, god, the scenes where I don't even have the jacket on, that's an extra 20 minutes in the makeup trailer.
Jordan: Yeah, same here. Killmonger, all the scars and stuff like that, the makeup, it took a long time to put the prosthetics on.
Robbie: Yeah, you want to be more covered up.
So, Michael, what was the very first thing you ever auditioned for?
Robbie: Hmm. I'm trying to think of the first thing I auditioned for.
Let's say the one you got.
Jordan: The Sopranos. I don't know what season it was, but Tony [Soprano] was having a flashback. And I played a bully in his childhood who bullied him on the boardwalk on his way home one day.
Jordan: Yeah, I was Bully #2, I think.
Was it a speaking role?
Jordan: It was, but we were just yelling shit at him. I don't know. I was improv-ing, actually. I was living in the moment—
Robbie: (Laughs.) I was so present—
Jordan: I was...
Robbie: —that I now can't remember.
Jordan: ... locked into Bully #2.
And Margot, what was your first audition?
Robbie: My first audition was the first indie film I did in Australia. And I got the job; the film was never released. Uh, I've never actually seen it...
You've never seen it?
Robbie: No, I've never seen it.
Jordan: Now we gotta find it.
Robbie: No, you really don't need to.
Jordan: [Laughs.] What was the name of that again?
Robbie: Don't, no... I'm not even gonna mention it. Not even going to mention it.
What did you play?
Robbie: I played an angsty teen. Kind of what I was at the time, anyway. It was fun.
Jordan: Oh man. I have homework now.
Robbie: [Laughs.] No, you don't. No. Really. No need to delve that far back.
And what did you do right after your independent film that didn't happen?
Robbie: I did another independent film that also didn't get released. After that, I auditioned for a show called The Elephant Princess. I got down to the last three for the lead role. And I didn't get it. But they remembered my audition and they invited me back for a guest role later on. And that guest role is what took me to Melbourne. So then, from that point, that's when I started working consistently and I got paid for that one. So that was a big step up in the world.
You hadn't been paid for the first two?
Robbie: No, I'd done a lot of unpaid work at that point, because I just wanted to be working.
Jordan: That's awful.
Robbie: It always leads to something else, anyway. Funnily enough, Liam Hemsworth was also on The Elephant Princess.
Jordan: I can't wait to give him shit.
Michael, what was your first email address?
Robbie: Oh, that's a great question.
Jordan: Oh, you going there? Oh, man.
Robbie: [Laughs.] I can't wait to hear this.
Jordan: [Laughs.] It was an AOL, too. It was, uh, bilnem, b-i-l-n-e-m, and it was like "Basketball Is Like Nothing Else Matters." That's what it was at AOL.com.
Robbie: That is great. It could be more embarrassing. That's actually kind of cool.
Jordan: Yeah. Basketball, that was it for me.
Robbie: That was life.
Jordan: I was going to the NBA.
Robbie: Nothing else mattered. At that time. [Laughs.] You still have it, right?
Jordan: No. No. No, that's gone. That's gone. That went away right after, I think, when dial-up went away. [Laughs.]
Margot, what was your email?
Robbie: Mine was also kind of sport related. It was so embarrassing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jordan: Okay. You're a Hotmail kind of person.
Robbie: In Australia, that was it. It wasn't AOL.
You had to add 02 because there was so many sweetsurfers.
Robbie: Yeah. Sweetsurfer was taken. I had to add the number.
Jordan: Random question. So was America Online only in America?
Robbie: AOL? I don't know. But we had MSN. It's like all you do after school is get on your MSN account and have group chats.
What was your first red carpet outfit, Michael?
Jordan: Are we talking, like, Bully #2 days or are we talking, like, grown man?
You walked the red carpet for Bully #2? [Laughs.]
Jordan: Naw, I mean, it might not have been for my project, but I think I might have, like, weaseled my way onto a red carpet. Sometimes on these fan sites, they put together all these weird clips from like, "I don't even remember that."
Robbie: Oh, yeah. God bless the Internet.
Jordan: Anyway, I remember just wearing... it's really enough I had a cardigan on, but I had these extremely big, baggy jeans on. It was definitely a cultural timing thing. Like it was the moment in time for fashion. Anyway, the jeans were huge—
Jordan: No. No. Not that bad. Not Kris-Kross. But they were just in, baggy with this really fitted cardigan top. Yeah, I had like a rosary on, that might have been hot in the moment. I might have been like 13, 14 years old.
Robbie: I wanna see this outfit.
Jordan: It's so bad. It doesn't exist anymore actually.
Robbie: Sure, sure.
Jordan: I had them take it down from the Internet.
Robbie: I'm gonna find this.
Margot, what was your first big red carpet outfit?
Robbie: People like to bring it up often, because it was quite a choice, I'd say. [Laughs.] I don't know if it was a good choice. But I was 18, you know, doing my first carpet. The Australian equivalent of the Emmys is called the Logies. I was working on a TV show and got nominated for a Logie, and it was my big moment on the red carpet. I thought honestly the biggest thing that will ever happen to me was going to the Logies. So, I went all-out with the dress. It was very short at the front, long at the back. Lots of layers, bright colors, shiny fabric—
Jordan: What kind of colors are we talking about?
Robbie: Like, the brightest orange you can think of, interspersed with the black shiny fabric as well. So, it's like orange, black, orange, black, big bow at the back.
Robbie: Like, stripper-looking hair. I was obviously very tan at this stage because I was still living in Australia. It's a look. But you know what, I don't regret it because every time someone's like, "Ooh, bet you wish you could take that one back?" And I'm like, "No." I was 18. I was having fun. I can dress boring for the rest of my life. I went for it, whatever.
Jordan: I love it.
I think that's great. Okay, Michael. Where was your first kiss?
Jordan: Hmm. Weirdly enough, I remember the girl. It's funny. I was in school, and the lunchrooms were downstairs, so the basement was they had the lunchrooms and stuff like that. In between, on the stairwells going downstairs, it was right in the middle, like the landing area. So, you wasn't quite downstairs in the basement and you wasn't quite on the first floor. It was a little blind spot or whatever. And, she was on her way to lunch, I was on my way to my to my other class and... she kissed me, actually.
Jordan: Yep. She was a little aggressive.
Robbie: She made the move.
Jordan: She did. I didn't fight it.
Were you surprised?
Jordan: Naw, I didn't fight it.
Robbie: [Laughs.] Oh, twist my arm. I'll make out.
Jordan: Yeah. But usually when you're young, everything's planned. Like, "We're gonna do this at this time and this time."
Robbie: Yeah, yeah.
So, you knew it was happening?
Jordan: Yeah, I knew it was happening. But, then again, did I really know if was gonna happen? No. But ...
Robbie: Were you walking a little taller afterwards?
Jordan: Oh, for sure. I think my tie, you know what I'm saying? Like, posture was sitting up. I just remember like getting butterflies for sure.
Oh, how cute.
Robbie: That's really sweet.
Margot, you have to tell yours because it's a good story.
Robbie: It's very romantic. It was. I was on an island... I know, really painting the scene. It's an island that's not far from Queensland. You just kind of get a boat over; it's not really that exotic, but it is really beautiful. It's called Great Keppel Island. And it's midnight and we had met on the beach earlier in the holiday. It was a family holiday. And we planned it, as you do. You know, everyone was like, "You guys should totally kiss." And we were like, "Okay". So, we planned to meet at midnight. And he left the next day and we never saw each other again.
Jordan: Wow. That's tragic.
Robbie: And it was a great first kiss. It was great. It was perfect. Like it really, it wasn't awkward. Like a movie, cinematic, amazing kiss at midnight on this island. I got back home and I told my cousin I met this boy and we kissed and it was amazing. And she was like, "Did you get his phone number?" Which was, of course at that time, his home phone number. I was like, "No". So, we went through the whole phone book.
Oh my God.
Jordan: Wow. This is a story.
Robbie: Looked up his name in the phone book and called every one of them. And, none of them were him. I never found him. And then years and years later, I was at a party and we ran into each other.
Jordan: Does he remember that story?
Robbie: He did. We both like looked up and were like, "What?!"
Jordan: It's you, Midnight?
Robbie: It's you?
Jordan: That's you? [Laughs.]
Robbie: Yeah. It was very funny.
Jordan: That's awesome. The level of dedication of young people trying to get a kiss... it's incredible. Going through the entire phone book.
Robbie: God, kids these days just wouldn't understand.