While many believed the role of disgraced Ice Skater Tonya Harding should have gone to Amy Adams, it is Suicide Squad star Margot Robbie who will bring this eternally fascinating story of the befallen sports star to the big screen in I, Tonya. Steven Rogers is penning the screenplay for this sports biopic, which will recount the woman's rise and fall. Bryan Unkeless and his Clubhouse Pictures will produce. Margot Robbie is also expected to serve as a producer through her LuckyChap Entertainment banner.
Tonya Harding grew up in Portland, Oregon, surviving a rough childhood that would eventually see her becoming one of the world's top figure skaters. She was the first woman to ever complete the triple axel in a major competition. In 1991, she won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and came in second in the World Championships. She was supposed to go up against Nancy Kerrigan in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Games. But she became involved in a scandal that she's never been publicly able to live down, even some twenty years later.
Tonya Harding is infamous for being involved with an attack on Nancy Kerrigan as played out by her husband, Jeff Gillooly and a couple of thugs who set out to break the competitor's knee. They only managed to give her a minor injury and were quickly caught. In the events that followed, Jeff Gillooly turned on his wife in a plea to stay out of jail. Nancy Kerrigan took Silver at the Olympics, while a distracted Tonya Harding came in 8th place. As the scandal escalated, USFSA banned the athlete for life and stripped her of the 1994 championship.
I, Tonya doesn't have a director set yet. Margot Robbie is searching for a director, with the hopes of building the project solely around her. This could be her bid for an Oscar. At this time, it is said financiers are also circling the project. Deadline is comparing the movie to Portland native Gus Van Sant's To Die For, which followed Nicole Kidman as a small town woman who wants to be famous. It isn't known if Gus Van Sant is being sought for the project, but it sounds like a perfect fit, since the story unfolded in his home city.
Steven Rogers wrote his screenplay after conducting extensive interviews with both Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly. The movie will track the absurdity of the situation while giving Tonya Harding's story a tragic spin. Margot Robbie already has a big summer ahead of her. She will first be seen as the iconic Jane in this July's reboot The Legend of Tarzan, which hits theaters July 1. One month later, she will play Harley Quinn in Warner Bros.' DC Comics adventure Suicide Squad, which revolves around a gang of super villains on an impossible mission. She was last seen in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which just opened this past month.