"I wanted there to be a clear distinction between the ‘real’ Tonya and the one I would be playing," Robbie, 27, told W Magazine.
Harding is a controversial figure. Though an exceptional figure skater, she's memorable because she was allegedly involved in a 1994 attack on her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, hired a hitman to hurt Kerrigan before the Olympic team tryouts. Kerrigan suffered a bruised leg but nothing more; both Kerrigan and Harding ended up on the Olympic team for the 1994 Olympics. Though Harding didn't call for the attack, she served three years probation for "conspiring to hinder prosecution of the attackers."
At the time, Harding was a villain. In the years since, emerging evidence suggests she was just as much a victim as Kerrigan. Robbie sees the maligned figure skater as a "misfit." She also sees Harding as innocent.
"The more I became Tonya, the more I saw things from her point of view. I’m on her side 100 percent," she said. "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."
She added that she feels so in tune with the character, that she can't seem to shake Tonya Harding, even after filming wrapped.
"Some characters, like Daphne [in Goodbye Christopher Robin], I can let go of very quickly. But not Tonya. I’m still not done with her. I found it hard to shake her off," she said.
I, Tonya will arrive in theaters December 7, 2017.
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