Margot Robbie plays Tonya Harding in the upcoming biopic “I, Tonya,” but in a recent interview the actress admitted she didn’t know the infamous skater was a real person when she first read the script.
“I think I was about 4 years old when the incident took place,” Robbie said in an interview with Vanity Fair ahead of the movie’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday.
“I was in Australia and totally unaware of the whole incident and the crazy controversy.”
“To be honest, when I read the script, I didn’t know who Tonya Harding was, and I didn’t realize it was a true story,” she said. “I thought it was entirely fictionalized and our writer Steve [Rogers] was so creative to come up with the quirky characters and absurd incidents.”
Harding was stripped of her championship title and banned from figure skating for life in 1994 after an investigation found she was involved in the attack on rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.
“I, Tonya” covers the drama of Harding’s life leading up to the attack on Kerrigan, carried out by a hitman hired by Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly.
Robbie, who also produced the film through her company LuckyChap Entertainment, stars as the disgraced former Olympian in the Craig Gillespie-directed biopic.
Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney also star as her husband and mother, respectively.
“I think it is a lot for someone to have the most traumatic events of their life encompassed in a two-hour film,” Robbie said of screening the film for Harding. “I feel like you have to be very brave to let someone do that. I don’t know if I could do that, and she handled it incredibly.”