Margot Robbie’s ability to completely transform into Harley Quinn was arguably the best part about 2016’s Suicide Squad. So, we’re obviously excited to see her disappear into yet another over-the-top role in the upcoming dark comedy I, Tonya.
I, Tonya chronicles the events leading up to and following the infamous ice skating scandal of ’94, in which 23-year-old professional figure skater Tonya Harding (Robbie) concocted a scheme to break the leg of her U.S. Olympic teammate and competitor, Nancy Kerrigan (Paper Towns’ Caitlin Carver). With the help of ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Captain America’s Sebastian Stan) and bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt, Harding successfully injured Kerrigan. However, Kerrigan recovered in time to compete in the 1994 Olympic Games and placed second in the ladies’ singles figure skating competition while Harding earned only a lackluster eighth place.
Harding was also banned from the United States Figure Skating Association and immediately earned a reputation for being jealous, volatile, and crazed. But like Despicable Me, Wicked, and Maleficent before it, I, Tonya is told from the villain’s perspective. In a recently released I, Tonya teaser trailer, Robbie (as Tonya) addresses the audience via voiceover, telling us that America needs “someone to hate.” She also says that, despite being urged by the media to “tell the truth,” there’s actually “no such thing as the truth.” Harding’s “post-truth” attitude along with her reference to the “haters” makes us think she would have fit right in with the internet trolls of the world had she been born a couple of decades later.
But Robbie’s already making it easy to sympathize with the disgraced Harding, despite the trailer only being less than a minute. Her heavy makeup, overeager grin, and desperate, wide-eyed expression make it seem like Harding was simply a misunderstood young woman who wanted to be respected and adored. Robbie also absolutely nails Harding’s unmistakable Northwestern American accent, and Allison Janney makes a brief but memorable appearance as Harding’s abusive mother LaVona. And in case you’re wondering, Robbie apparently wears each and every one of Harding’s sparkly, gaudy, 90s-era skating costumes in the movie, too.
I, Tonya premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September (and nearly won TIFF’s People’s Choice Award) but you can catch it in select theatres starting December 8.