Allison Janney breaks down the different parts of Tonya Harding's mother LaVona in I, Tonya

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Taking on a character who’s based on a real-life person is never an easy task, but for Allison Janney it was even trickier.

The Emmy-winning actress plays U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding’s abusive mother LaVona Golden in the upcoming film I, Tonya, which details the skater’s career and 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan that got Harding banned for life from figure skating. Written by Steven Rogers (Stepmom), the film takes its material from the wild and contradicting interviews with Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly surrounding the attack.

Unfortunately for both Rogers and Janney, they couldn’t track down the real LaVona Golden. “He tried everywhere, everywhere led to a dead end,” Janney recalls to EW. “Tonya wasn’t really interested in knowing where her mother was, or didn’t really care.” So, with that, Janney had to look elsewhere for inspiration.

“He was fascinated with, and I am too, about the truths that people tell themselves in order to live their lives,” she says about the story Rogers ultimately told.

Watch the full clip above to see what Janney and the rest of the I, Tonya cast says about the “added responsibility” of taking on these real-life figuresI, Tonya skates into theaters Dec. 8.

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