Twenty-four years following a scandal that rocked the world, Margot Robbie takes on the position of determine skater Tonya Harding in a behind-the-scenes story that may have you ever questioning what’s actual, what’s pretend, and the way a lot we really know in regards to the controversial figures who turn into cultural lightning rods. I, Tonya opens in NY/LA December eighth and theaters in every single place January fifth. Grab your tickets HERE.
At Tuesday night time’s New York screening of I, Tonya, Margot Robbie arrived in a sheer, glittering floor-length costume. I nearly needed to do a double take to be sure that it was certainly Robbie standing in entrance of me, and never the massive display screen model of determine skater Tonya Harding. And then she supplied up that vast, signature smile and Australian accent and I assumed Ah, there she is.
Robbie might not beTonya Harding, however she certain is championing the notorious determine skater as each the star and producer of this movie, which reveals Harding’s perspective of her involvement in an assault towards fellow determine skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. The movie was simply nominated for 3 Golden Globe Awards, together with one for Robbie within the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy class. But for Robbie and her manufacturing firm, Lucky Chap, I, Tonya is only the start of bringing extra girls’s tales to gentle.
“Our company has 13 films in development at the moment, and I’m starring in a few of them,” Robbie stated throughout a Q&A after the screening. “And we’ve a TV division proper now, so I am actually busy producing female-led tales in the intervening time. And hopefully I will be enjoying [ Suicide Squad’s] Harley Quinn once more quickly, I am hoping subsequent yr!”
I, Tonya screenwriter Steven Rogers joined the dialog, in addition to Paul Walter Hauser, who performs Harding’s former “bodyguard” Shawn Eckhardt within the film. Rogers defined that what he hopes makes this movie distinctive is the layered method it tells the story of probably the most scandalous moments in sports activities historical past.
“It is a really funny story, and it is a really tragic story, and it is a really crazy story,” he stated. “And it is a true story, relying on whose perspective you consider. I did not need to restrict it…I felt like why ought to any film be only one factor? Why cannot it’s all that stuff?”
You can watch the total video of our panel under or learn highlights to take a look at extra on how Robbie realized to skate like Harding, her view on why girls in sports activities are pitted towards each other, what all three of the panelists are feeling in regards to the state of Hollywood within the midst of the #MeToo motion, and extra.
Refinery29: Like the film says, I feel everybody has a special reminiscence of what really went down between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. What had been your recollections of what occurred in “the incident?”
Paul: “I knew very little. I was born in 1986, so for me it was snapshots of seeing these people being investigated and that being a story across Ricki Lake and Montell Williams and Oprah and Sally Jesse. It was part of that like loud trashy television coverage.”
Margot: “I was four years old at the time, so I missed it completely, and I was in Australia. When I read the script, I didn’t know any of it was true. I didn’t know any of these people were real-life people, I thought it was completely fictionalized in Steven’s brain!”
How did the concept for I, Tonya come to life?
Steven: “I gambled on myself and wrote the script without financing to see if people would actually want it. And if they did, then I could have some caveats. The first caveat that I had was that Allison Janney was gonna play the part that I wrote for her [as Harding’s mother]. I’ve known Allison for 100 years, so I wanted it in writing, or it was a dealbreaker. I did this before Allison had even read the script or said that she would do it!”
Margot: “I read the script, and obviously our production company was looking for female-driven content for my production company. We spoke to a lot of brilliant, brilliant directors, but the conversation we had with Craig Gillespie, who ended up being our director, no one could articulate how they would accomplish the tone in the film the way he could, and how they’d handle the violence. They were the two biggest questions we had, and he just had such a clear vision for the project. He had no judgement of these characters.”
You interviewed Tonya Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly in actual life earlier than creating the film. Can you speak slightly bit about what that was like?
Steven: “I simply occurred to see this nice documentary on ESPN about Tonya Harding referred to as 30 for 30. There had been issues about it that basically resonated with me about class in America and the disenfranchised and what we inform girls they’re presupposed to be. And fact, and the notion of fact, and what we inform ourselves simply to have the ability to dwell with ourselves. All of that was wrapped round this actually loopy story. So I went on the Tonya Harding web site to seek out out if the life rights had been even accessible, and I discovered a quantity for her agent and it was a Motel 6. I simply thought I am so in! I tracked down Tonya Harding, and I tracked down Jeff Gillooly, and I might by no means actually even interviewed anybody earlier than. When I did interview them, their tales had been so wildly completely different, they simply remembered every little thing otherwise. I assumed, that is my in, I am going to present everyone’s perspective after which let the viewers resolve what’s what.”
Margot, how did you bodily get ready for the a part of an Olympic ice skater? How a lot of what we noticed was you versus a stunt double?
Margot: “Anything truly spectacular is not me. Try as I might, I could never pretend to be a professional ice skater. I did like four or five months of training, five days a week, four hours a day. It was a lot. I’d skated like a handful of times growing up, but not really because I’m from the Gold Coast in Australia. There’s no ice! I can surf! But when I moved to America, I joined an ice hockey team…but it turns out ice hockey skates and figure skates are totally different, so I was face planting until I could really wrap my head around the topic. I quickly discovered that it was a brutal sport and incredibly difficult. I trained for ages and after awhile I started making progress and after awhile it became really fun, I really love it.”
There’ on this film. What had been a few of the hardest scenes so that you can movie, Margot?
Margot: “Logistically, shooting those scenes, that’s fine, it’s a mechanical thing. Emotionally, it’s different. Honestly doing those scenes with Allison or with Sebastian Stan [who plays Jeff], it really comes down to your acting partner. But what struck me, there was a documentary made about Tonya when she was 15, way before she knew the media was going to scrutinize her every move, so she was very candid and vulnerable. She was talking about her home life, and she was saying very candidly to the camera ‘My mom hits me and she beats me and she’s an alcoholic.’ She was saying it just like that. Just desensitized to it at 15. That struck me as an important element of this abusive cycle that she went through as a child and into her marriage that she just accepted because it was so habitual. Craig had the great idea of having her break the fourth wall in those moments so you could see her emotionally disconnect from what was happening to her physically at the time, so you got the idea of how repetitive these sorts of abusive relationships can be. And I think speaking directly to the audience in those moments makes it a little easier for the audience to be like, okay I can keep watching, on some level I think she’s fine, and I’m watching a movie. I think that was an important way to do it. But Craig said you can’t shy away from the violence, because doing that would be an incredible disservice to anyone who has suffered violence. It was something we paid particular attention to.”
Why do you guys assume that the general public was so fast to make Tonya the villain on this actual life story, regardless of the roles that her ex-husband and bodyguard performed?
Steven: “It was the first time there was a 24-hour news cycle and the first time that people really had to fill it. So I think people cared less about being accurate, and they just wanted content. So the easiest way to do that was to just reduce them to be just one thing. Tonya was the villain and Nancy was the princess and that’s what we were fed and that’s what we believed.”
Margot: “I think it was easier to put Tonya as the villain because she just wasn’t the image that the figure skating world wanted. I’ve watched every video of her skating like a thousand times over and the number of times they comment on the class of family she comes from, it should just be about the skating, but they’ll be like ‘Here’s Tonya Harding, girl from the wrong side of the tracks!’ It’s just like, give her a chance! But it’s about which box they decided to put each woman in. I think both were unfairly portrayed, because they portrayed Nancy Kerrigan as being from the elite, but she apparently came from a blue-collar family herself.”
Paul: “I think there’s really been an unfair stigma, lately men have been getting it in Hollywood and thank God people are uncovering a lot of garbage. But women, go to any checkout aisle of any grocery store, and you’ll see people plastering names and accusations on women in the media that just by reading them, you know they’re untrue. It’s just people gravitating toward a story and things tend to snowball. In Tonya’s case, like many stories, they let it evolve into this monster.”
Steven: “I think the media likes to pit two women against each other, and people eat that up.”
Shawn and Jeff every obtained 18 months in jail for his or her roles within the Nancy Kerrigan incident, however Tonya Harding was banned from ice skating for all times. Do you every assume these had been truthful sentences?
All three: “No.”
Margot: “I just don’t think she should have been banned from figure skating at all. That was her livelihood. She dropped out of school to do skating, there was nothing to fall back on. She obviously didn’t come from a family that could lend her family or anything like that. I think that was so unfair. I don’t care if people think she did it or not, she didn’t deserve that.”
You guys are telling a very vital story for girls on this film. In the wake of the #MeToo motion, are you guys hopeful about Hollywood proper now?
Paul: “So hopeful. I think we’re done with the bullshit. I think people are ready to be vocal and stick up for each other. There were a lot of people that wanted to stick up for people, but everyone was afraid of their jobs. And now people are losing jobs. I’m thrilled that it’s happening and I think you’re gonna see a big turnaround, not just in how people are treated, but how films are made and seeing more female-led projects in Hollywood.”
Margot: “What he said! But it’s true, I think the new wave…we’re a really young production company, this is our first film to make it to the big screen that we’ve produced. I can kind of feel that this young generation as we enter the industry, we’re pointing out the things that we don’t agree with and we wanna change it. It is about moving forward and finding what we’re gonna fix and actually doing something about it instead of talking about it. There’s been a lot of talk about it, and the chat does need to continue so it doesn’t get swept under the rug. But everyone pivoted very quickly into how are we going to fix it, though, and how are we going to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
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