Margot Robbie to Play Infamous Figure Skater Tonya Harding in ‘I, Tonya’
It was the cry heard ‘round the world, and while Nancy Kerrigan’s harrowing story has rightfully drawn empathy for decades, the story of her infamous foe has often been reduced to a mess of tabloid drama. But Tonya Harding’s story will now be told with the help of Margot Robbie, who is set to play the world-class figure skater in I, Tonya — and when you think about it, that’s kind of perfect.
Deadline reports that Robbie is attached to play Harding in I, Tonya, based on a script by Steven Rogers (P.S. I Love You, Kate and Leopold), who developed the screenplay based on his extensive conversations with the former figure skater and her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly. Robbie is reportedly searching for the perfect director for the film, which is said to be in the vein of Gus Van Sant’s black comedy To Die For, starring Nicole Kidman in the true story of a fame-hungry weather reporter who seduces a trio of teenagers into murdering her husband.
I, Tonya will tell the story of Harding, the figure skating champ whose path to glory was disrupted when her husband and his accomplices attacked her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, with a baseball bat. Though Kerrigan’s leg was severely bruised, she went on to compete at the Olympics in Lillehammer and received the silver medal. Harding, however, was too distracted from the ongoing investigation into her husband, and placed eighth.
Harding came from an underprivileged background and committed herself to her sport, eventually becoming the first woman to land a triple axel in competition. She went on to win the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed second at the World level. As both women ascended to potential Olympic glory, a fierce, media-fueled rivalry narrative emerged, ultimately resulting in the attack on Kerrigan.
Gillooly wasted little time in blaming Harding for the crime, and what followed was a highly-publicized melodrama involving finger-pointing, courtrooms, prison sentences and a sex tape.
Robbie appears next in The Legend of Tarzan, which hits theaters on July 1, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5. For more on the epic Kerrigan and Harding story, check out the fascinating ESPN 30 for 30 doc, The Price of Gold.