Cigarettes, American cynicism, and half-baked hater logic meet the cold, steely blade of former Olympic superstar Tonya Harding in the first teaser trailer for I, Tonya, the upcoming comedy-biopic about her controversial life under the mainstream spotlight.
“America: it wants someone to love. But they want someone to hate,” Robbie says as a reenactment of Harding’s historic completion of a triple axel at the 1991 World Figure Skating Championships flashes onscreen. “And the haters always say: ‘Tonya, tell the truth!'”
A brief shot of a faceless figure holding a telescopic baton — similar to the one used to strike the leg of Harding’s most imposing competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, ahead of the 1994 Winter Olympics — plays next, signaling the fall from grace Harding endured after the controversial assault, as Robbie pauses before asserting: “There’s no such thing as the truth, I mean, it’s bullsh–!”
Directed by Lars and the Real Girl‘s Craig Gillespie and written by Stepmom‘s Steven Rogers, I, Tonya presents a stylized (and often comedic) approach to staging the story behind the disgraced sportswoman’s societally coded image, including her abusive relationships with her parrot-loving mother, LaVonda Golden (Allison Janney), and husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan).
Though it had yet to secure a distributor, I, Tonya stuck its landing with flying colors at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, bagging the second runner-up prize for the annual event’s prestigious People’s Choice Award, much to the surprise of critics and awards pundits. Shortly thereafter, Neon, the distributor responsible for this year’s Ingrid Goes West and Beach Rats, acquired I, Tonya for a hefty $5 million.
I, Tonya skates into limited release Dec. 8, with a nationwide rollout to follow. Watch the first teaser trailer for the film above.