Is Tanya From 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' A Real Person? Margot Robbie Plays Both Friend & Foil In The New Film

In the new war comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot , Margot Robbie portrays British TV journalist Tanya Vanderpoel, a fellow reporter who has been stationed in Afghanistan for longer than Tina Fey's Kim Barker and serves as both Barker's fun-loving, open-minded BFF as well as her de facto guide in navigating the foreign land. And since the film is based on the novel The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which was authored by the real Kim Barker, a lot of people are wondering which other characters in the movie have real life counterparts. For instance, is Tanya from Whiskey Tango Foxtrot a real person?

Unlike Barker, Margot Robbie's character is not based on a real person, and the character of Tanya Vanderpoel does not appear in the book. So where did she come from? Well, according to an interview Robbie and Fey gave to Access Hollywood , the character was created in order to provide both a female relationship for Barker in the film, as well as a rivalry and potential alternative to the more-cautious protagonist. Here's what Robbie said about her character in the interview:

"Tanya got to Kabul shortly before Kim did and they kind of become friends, and they have a bit of healthy competition, and kind of encourage each other to, you know, go a little further and up the stakes in the jobs that they're taking and the risks they're taking. And then by the end it's not so much of a healthy competition anymore, and Tanya kind of takes it that step too far and I think she's like the cautionary tale for Kim to think, 'Oh, actually I don't want to be like her.'"

So given how important the character sounds to the story, how did her creation happen? She was probably inspired by numerous people whom Barker came across in Afghanistan, but ultimately was created by screenwriter Robert Carlock, who worked with Barker on adapting her book. Here's what Fey told Access Hollywood about that process:

"I think Robert Carlock worked with [Barker] a lot in terms of he would check things with her, and run things by her. At the same time she was great because she knew when she first met with Robert about adapting the movie, she's like, 'I get it. You're gonna change things. You're gonna take two people and make them into one [person], you're gonna change my name. I get all that.' And she kind of gave her blessing. She understands that it's a different thing between a memoir and a movie."

So Tanya Vanderpoel is a fictional character created by Robert Carlock to serve as a friend and foil to Kim Barker, and was probably at least somewhat inspired by the, as Amazon put it in their review, "promiscuous subculture among her fellow reporters". Hey, as long as Fey and Robbie are starring in a movie together, I think that's all that really matters here.

Images: Paramount Pictures;