Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney Join the Tonya Harding Biopic

Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney Join the Tonya Harding Biopic

‘I, Tonya’ will be the best film of 2018. We’re calling it.

‘I, Tonya’ will be the best film of 2018. We’re calling it.

Text: Thomas Freeman

As anyone who owned a TV in the 1990s will tell you—like a wizened veteran who has seen some shit in his day—the Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding figure skating beef was some messed-up (but secretly great) television. When star figure skater Nancy Kerrigan ascended to America’s Sweetheart status, her rival Tonya Harding became so embittered with jealousy that her husband paid off some thug to thrash Nancy in the knee with a metal rod just weeks before the 1994 Winter Olympics. The crime was infamously captured on camera (“WHYYY!?”) and remains both a source of lurid fascination and a pre-Bravo channel spectacle of cattiness gone berserk.

With young audiences increasingly lapping up messy bitches who live for drama (Just look to the success of The Real Housewives franchise and Vanderpump Rules), the forthcoming Tonya Harding biopic—I, Tonya—oddly captures the zeitgeist, despite the story being over two decades old. What’s more, the project has already attracted mega-watt talent, lending this tabloid tale of love and war the awards credibility it rightfully deserves.

Recently, fast-rising bad boy Sebastian Stan signed on to play Harding’s treacherous husband, Jeff Gillooly. Moviegoers have already seen the Romanian-American actor toe the line of good and evil in Captain America and The Avengers, and his rakish charm has even earned him points among the fashion set and talk show world. The role promises to be the villain of the film, with Jeff leading Tonya down the primrose path and involving her in the crime that inspired a million hour-long TV specials.

More recently, Allison Janney was cast as Tonya’s reportedly ruthless mother LaVona Harding. While LaVona was not directly involved in the crime, expect to see Janney giving us peak crazy as the stage mom from hell. If Allison nails it, which she will, audiences may even manage a few tears for Tonya.

Lastly, the disgraced anti-heroin will be played by Australian actress Margot Robbie. While Robbie has quickly become Hollywood’s go-to blonde, reason for her casting outstrips any physical resemblance to Tonya. She has been the vamp in The Wolf of Wall Street, a nutcase in Suicide Squad and the damsel in distress in The Legend of Tarzan. She possess the range needed for the nuance of the role, and the extensive figure skating training she will undergo will draw glowing praise—a tactic straight from Natalie Portman’s Black Swan playbook.

The plum role of Nancy Kerrigan remains uncast (Rachel McAdams might work), but I, Tonya is already shaping up to be the soapy, can’t-miss star vehicle of 2018. Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) will direct.

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