Said mother's name is LaVona Golden and she's played to howling effect by Allison Janney with what The Drama of the Gifted Child author Alice Miller might describe as a flawless storm of narcissism. Despite the colorful glitz and cheese of the figure-skating setting, "I, Tonya" has an unmistakably tumultuous air from the very start. But after more than 20 years as the villain, the latter may finally be getting reevaluated as an "independent strong woman", per Gillespie - someone who bucked convention and was punished for that. "Because it is so heinous in the film".
However, he concludes, "the more I edited, and the more I meditated, and the more I considered the wholeness of the person of Tonya Harding, I began to feel a conviction to write something with dignity and grace, to pull back the ridiculous tabloid fodder and take stock of the real story of this unusual and magnificent America hero".
At that point, the Australian wasn't familiar with Harding's story, or that the most ridiculous plot points - like Kerrigan assailant Shane Stant crashing into a locked glass door - were drawn straight from real life.
"A large part of my first conversation with Margot Robbie was, 'How should that interaction between them happen?"
Tonya Harding was not a very likable character when she was at the top of the women's figure-skating world-and that, "I, Tonya" wants us to know, says as much about us as it does about her.
But Harding has found a champion in Robbie, producer as well as star of "I, Tonya", a dark comedy opening Friday, Dec. 22, in San Francisco.
The first European woman to land a triple axel on the world stage, she successfully completed her first one just moments after Nakano did at Skate America in 2002.
One of the key moments of filming was when Craig Gillespie made a decision to experiment with Tonya talking directly to camera after being attacked by Jeff. The trailer for the movie boasts that it's based on an "insane true story", but Robbie's fourth wall-breaking Tonya is skeptical of the concept of truth. That wasn't in the script. Eventually even that notoreity faded, and she receded into her private life.
Kerrigan's leg was not broken, but she did have to withdraw from the National Championships, which Harding won. "So that reinforced her mental state", Gillespie explained. "That she is emotionally disconnected". So once it was over, I was so grateful to have a job as great as "Mom' to go back to". The film has generated considerable awards buzz, mainly for Robbie and co-star Allison Janney, who plays Harding's mother.
At the 2002 Skate America, Nakano's first worldwide senior event, she became the first female skater in 10 years to land a triple axel.
"I went through waves". She filed multiple restraining orders against Gillooly, and the authorities knew how her mother had treated her - and yet, as we've heard all too often this year, they turned a blind eye. It was nearly unbearable, and I definitely judged her in a way that I think the media wanted me to. And in turn, the movie, in theaters today, marks her best performance to date. She makes Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest look like Mrs. Clause.
"I could get behind that". Her interactions with Kerrigan, however, are relegated to a brief aside - something Robbie was thankful for that and says was intentional. "Abuse is cyclical. It becomes this terrifying normality of life". Instead, he spins the tragedy of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan into a searing indictment of America's obsession with "America" and the ways that public opinion can be irreparably warped by sensationalist news media.