I, Tonya: Margot Robbie on recreating Tonya Harding's broken skate lace moment at the 1994 Olympics
To read more from our Holiday Movie Preview, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
The dark, dark comedy I, Tonya, which stars Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad) as the ice skater and hits theaters Dec. 8,charts Tonya Harding’s hardscrabble upbringing with her cold-blooded mother, LaVona (Mom‘s Allison Janney), through the 1994 Olympics.
The film vacillates between several points of view, particularly Harding’s and Gillooly’s (Captain America: Civil War‘s Sebastian Stan), with faux documentary interviews interspliced with the action. “The structure of the film was born out of the fact that [screenwriter Steven Rogers] did a six-hour interview with Tonya and felt like there were so many questions left unanswered that he went and did an equally long interview with Jeff,” Robbie says. “Then he found that both interviews contradicted each other so much that he was like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s the movie.'”
Robbie did extensive research to capture signature moments including recreating the above iconic image when Harding pleaded with the Olympic judges when her skate lace broke. Says Robbie, “When we were shooting it, Julianne Nicholson, the actress who plays Diane [Harding’s coach], was like ‘What should I say beforehand?’ And I was like ‘Oh I’ve seen it somewhere!’ We were like searching and searching and I was like, ‘A Japanese outlet has the audio of it — I’ve seen it.’ So I found this Japanese news outlet recording of it. So stuff like that we replicated word for word. I tried to replicate when she’s about to walk out you can hear in the audio she’s like, “It’s not going to hold me!” And then she gets on the ice and the hand movements and all that kind of stuff we replicated. Any of those iconic moments that people may have a sense of nostalgia for we tried to replicate as close as possible.”