I, Tonya movie posterIn the sports world, Tonya Harding’s name continues to be stigmatized. The skater, played here by Margot Robbie, was involved in organizing an assault on Nancy Kerrigan, her competitor, to prevent her from being part of the US Olympic team.
In 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) was savagely attacked by a man after training for the American championships in Detroit. The assault, which aims to prevent him from participating in the Lillehammer Olympics, was sponsored by two men, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), the ex-husband of Tonya Harding, and Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser). ), his bodyguard.
However, for Margot Robbie, the Australian actress also producing “I, Tonya” and who knew nothing of this story before reading the scenario both dramatic and humorous Steven Rogers (“Kate and Leopold”), things are not so simple. Indeed, was Harding aware of the attack on Nancy Kerrigan? Who is Tonya Harding really? Is the portrayal of her by the media realistic?
“Tonya’s story was the first big scandal of the famous 24-hour news cycle, just before the verdict of OJ Simpson’s trial changed things forever. The media fell into sensationalism: they made Nancy and Tonya two opponents so, in fact, they were both excellent athletes. That such a brutal incident could occur in the graceful world of figure skating was totally contradictory. Moreover, Tonya was an anomaly since she was a force of nature whereas the perception of the sport is that she must be small and delicate. Everyone had an opinion, some liked it, others hated it. And the public has become addicted to this story, just as it is today with reality TV,
The tone of Steven Rogers’ screenplay is one of dark humor, but without ever giving up the veracity of the information presented to moviegoers. After interviewing Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly, he realized that their versions of the events were completely contradictory. “I could present all sides of this story and let the audience decide for themselves which version to believe,” he says.
For the film crew, including director Craig Gillespie (“Lars and Love in a Box”), it was impossible to talk about Tonya Harding without exploring her past. “We need to see what happens to someone as a child to understand their motivations as an adult,” said Margot Robbie, who watched, in addition to all possible TV shows and interviews, a film that Tonya had made of her daily life at 15 years old. His relationship with his mother, LaVona (Allison Janney), is an important part of this equation.
Like Emma Stone for “The Battle of the Sexes,” Margot Robbie had to change her physical appearance a lot, as well as get to know the sport she did not know, and instead practiced hockey when she was small.
During the 30-day shoot, she worked with makeup artist Deborah La Mia Denaver, who used shading techniques to change the shape of her chin, jaw and cheeks to look like Tonya Harding. She also wore prostheses to embody the sportswoman in her forties. In addition, even though stuntwomen and skaters were used in several scenes – especially those of competition -, it was nevertheless necessary that the actress puts skates on!
“We have protection when we play hockey, so I thought that figure skating would be easy! I’m fast on the ice and I thought I’d get there without a problem. But skating is radically different! I stumbled all the time and unprotected, it’s a torture every time you fall on the ice, “she says.
The actress worked with Sarah Kawahara, the Japanese-Canadian who choreographed some of Nancy Kerrigan’s performances. As Margot Robbie pointed out, “Figure skating is like ballet … except it’s brutal and it requires impressive physical strength and athleticism. The goal is to make everything graceful by giving the impression that no effort is made. I have the greatest respect for anyone who can do figure skating; it’s an incredibly hard and extremely cruel sport. ”
“I, Tonya” has been presented in Quebec theaters since January 5th.