She played the dangerously loony DC Comics character Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, and actress Margot Robbie will play another outrageous — but much more real — character in I, Tonya, a biopic of infamous Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding.
Neon released the first, full-length, red-band trailer for I, Tonya this week, and it’s already generating considerable buzz for the film as an Oscar-contending performance for Robbie.
As initially reported by Deadline, Kate & Leopold and Love the Coopers screenwriter Steven Rogers penned the script for I, Tonya, with Craig Gillespie (The Finest Hours, Million Dollar Arm) directing the dark comedy. Along with Robbie, whose performance in The Wolf of Wall Street first gained her the attention of mainstream audiences, in the lead role, the film also features Sebastian Stan (Captain America: the Winter Soldier) as Gillooly, and Allison Janney (The West Wing) as Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden. (Janney’s performance is also earning a lot of early Oscar buzz.) Supporting cast members include Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale, and Mckenna Grace.
I, Tonya is reportedly based on interviews with Harding herself and her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, who orchestrated the 1994 attack on skater Nancy Kerrigan that was intended to end Kerrigan’s bid during that year’s Winter Olympics.
In October, the first teaser trailer for the film offered a glimpse of Robbie’s critically praised performance as Harding. I, Tonya premiered in September 2017 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was named first runner-up for the People’s Choice Award.
A two-time Olympian who won the U.S. Figure Skating Championship in 1991 and placed second in the World Championships, Harding was one of the country’s most accomplished skaters in the early 1990s, and her ongoing rivalry with Kerrigan helped invigorate the sport during that period. She entered the sport’s record books in 1991 as the first American woman to complete a triple axel jump in competition, but was unable to maintain her competitive momentum due to a series of injuries, opening the door for Kerrigan to take the spotlight.
In 1994, Kerrigan was attacked after a practice session in Detroit, and it was later determined that Harding’s former husband was involved in setting up the attack. While the investigation was still ongoing, Harding and Kerrigan went on to compete in the Winter Olympics later that year and a recovered Kerrigan won the Silver Medal, while Harding finished in eighth place. Harding was eventually prosecuted for the attack on Kerrigan and was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
The path of Harding’s skating career — particularly the period leading up to and after the attack on Kerrigan — has been the focus of multiple documentaries over the years, including ESPN’s 2014 “30 for 30” film The Price of Gold and NBC’s Nancy & Tonya later that same year.
The film is scheduled to hit theaters December 8.
Update: We added the first full-length trailer for the film.
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