Margot Robbie completely transforms herself into disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in highly anticipated film I, Tonya. The Australian actress phoned into On Air With Ryan Seacrest on Wednesday, November 29, and revealed whether she thinks the former athlete was connected to the 1994 attack on her competitor Nancy Kerrigan.
On January 6, 1994, Kerrigan was attacked by Shane Stant after practice at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, were accused of hiring Stant to break Kerrigan's right leg so that she would be unable to compete against Harding at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Following the scandal, Harding was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association after pleading guilty to hindering the prosecution.
In the film, Margot explains, the sports scandal is told from multiple perspectives, including Harding’s.
“Everyone has remembered it very differently,” Margot said of the headline-making incident. “It wasn’t her [who hit Kerrigan]. It wasn’t even her ex-husband. It wasn’t even her ex-husband’s best friend. It was her ex-husband’s best friend’s associate or something like that. It was very removed from her, but history has kind of paraphrased it and put the blame on her.”
Margot shared that she met with Tonya prior to shooting the film. The actress said that she flew to Portland to meet Tonya and prior to that, spent six months prepping for the role by watching interviews and archived footage.
“To sit in front of her in person was kind of surreal,” Margot said. “But it was great. It was really good to meet her. … We showed her the film a week before it premiered at Toronto, but she didn’t have a say in the script. She wasn’t a consultant on the set or anything like that.”
Margot added that Tonya watched the movie alone and that she texted her after.
“There’s moments in our script where you’re seeing things from Jeff’s perspective … so there’s obviously moments she doesn’t agree with, but for most part, she said she laughed, she cried,” Margot said. “I think it was a more emotional experience than she was expecting, but at the end of the day I think she’s grateful someone told her side of the story finally.”
So does Margot think that Tonya was connected to plotting the crime?
“No. If you’re watching her perspective, she had no idea about anything,” Margot said. “There’s obviously other character point of views in the film as well … but it’s not really about saying ‘she’s the victim here’ or ‘she’s the villain here.’ It was really the point of saying she’s just a person and … you can’t pass judgement … It was never about saying ‘this is what really happened.’ It was just about saying there’s always more to a story.”
Listen to the full interview above and catch I, Tonya in theaters on December 8.