How Margot Robbie Learned to Skate Like Harley Quinn from a Real Roller Derby Expert for ‘Birds of Prey’

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn came home early to VOD platforms. After movie theaters closed due to stay-at-home orders in various states, Warner Bros. released the film for streaming purchase. When you buy the 4K UHD, Blu-ray or DVD edition, you’ll get more behind the scenes extras of Margot Robbie getting into character.

Margot Robbie Roller Skating
Margot Robbie | Claudette Barius/DC Comics/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Showbiz Cheat Sheet got an early copy of the Birds of Prey Blu-ray. In the bonus features, Robbie talks about learning how to roller skate for the derby scenes and the climactic action scene. She also introduces viewers to her roller skating coach and stunt double. Birds of Prey is available on physical media May 12.

Margot Robbie wanted Harley Quinn to roller skate

After Suicide Squad, Robbie was ready to play Harley Quinn again. She said getting back into character was easy.

“Harley, she never really left me, “Robbie said. “She was kind of always there. She came back really, really quick. She was like ready to go.”

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey | Warner Bros.

The roller derby inspiration came directly out of the comic books Robbie read.

“In The New 52 comic, there’s a roller derby fight club situation,” Robbie said. “I love that comic. I kept saying you have to have roller derby.”

Margot Robbie thought her ice skating experience would apply to Harley Quinn

Robbie earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of figure skater Tonya Harding in the film I, Tonya. She learned the hard way that wheels and ice blades are quite different.

“I definitely understimated how hard it would be,” Robbie said. “I thought I’ve done I, Tonya, I’ve done a lot of ice skating. Just throw some wheels on. It’ll be the same thing. It definitely wasn’t as painful as ice skating I have to say.”

Rachel Rotten whipped the star into shape

Birds of Prey hired Robbie a professional roller derby skater to train her. Rachel Rotten explained what she taught Robbie to do on wheels.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn | Cassandra Barius/DC Comics

It’s really about getting her as comfortable on wheels as she was on ice. Today we really worked on Margot being able to stop on a dime. We worked on some whips which is a transfer of energy where somebody essentially throws a skater using your arms. It’s scary at first because you pick up so much speed when you’re taking that energy transfer. We worked on her taking the Canary Cry. Getting into that movement, sound propelling her forward. So we got a lot of fun work done today. Made her hit me a little bit. It’s fun. 

Rachel Rotten, Birds of Prey Blu-ray bonus features

Margot Robbie also wanted to showcase Harley Quinn’s gymnastics

Robbie regretted that she had to play Harley Quinn so stiff in Suicide Squad.

“In Suicide Squad 1 we didn’t really get as much of the acrobatic style in there,” Robbie said. “In this version, there’s a lot of really amazing moves that Renee does that realy speak to Harley’s history as a gymnast.”

Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) | Claudette Barius/DC Comics

Much of that acrobatic work fell to Robbie’s stunt double, Renae Moneymaker. 

Margot is so good on the skates that anything short of those bigger and double gags, she was able to do just fine. When it came to some of the fight skills on the skates, because I do have the stunt and fight background, it was a little more adaptable for me to learn how to do those on the skates than just teach someone who had never done martial arts how to do martial arts on roller skates, which is a very complicated thing by the way. 

Renae Moneymaker, Birds of Prey Blu-ray bonus features