"The haters always say, 'Tonya, tell the truth,'" says Margot Robbie, in character as Tonya Harding in the new red band trailer for I, Tonya. "There's no such thing as truth. Everyone has their own truth," she flatly concludes.
Your standard sports biopic I, Tonya is not. Of course, it couldn't have been any other way considering Tonya Harding was far from your standard sports icon. Rising from meager means and a childhood spent being raised by an abusive mother (here being played by Allison Janney), Harding shot to the forefront of the American figure skating scene in the early 90's. That is until, of course, she and her then-husband famously hired a man to attack her main skating rival Nancy Kerrigan in a scandal that would interest The National Enquirer just as much if not more than it did ESPN. The Craig Gillespie-directed movie covers it all: the sad upbringing, the struggle to get to her brief moment of glory, and the media circus that surrounded her downfall.
The movie seems less interested in staking its own claim on what it perceives is the truth, or even dividing hero from villain or right from wrong, instead inspecting the situation from several angles. Robbie even breaks the fourth wall in the trailer to directly address the audience. The movie seems to have more in common with Gus Van Sant's To Die For than it does, say, your typical sports classic like Rudy.
Even in her preparation for the role, Robbie knew she wouldn't be playing the "real" Harding.
“I wanted there to be a clear distinction between the ‘real’ Tonya and the one I would be playing,” she told W about her meeting with the skater herself. “I didn’t want to sugarcoat her."
“In the beginning, I wasn’t really sure. There were things that didn’t add up. Facts were muddled," she continued. “But the more I became Tonya, the more I saw things from her point of view. I’m on her side 100 percent. I don’t think she did anything but be different from what the world wanted. There are cool misfits, and then there is Tonya. She didn’t fit in. And I love that.”
The part may also lead to Robbie herself competing for a different kind of gold. It's very likely she'll wind up with her first Oscar nomination this year.