‘I, Tonya’ interviews: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Craig Gillespie, Steven Rogers exclusive chats [WATCH]

Neon is entering the Oscar race for the first time in a major way with “I, Tonya.” Margot Robbie stars in this biographical drama as infamous figure skater Tonya Harding, whose promising career was cut short after her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan) inadvertently conspired to break the leg of her Olympic competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. Gold Derby recently spoke with Robbie, Stan, Allison Janney, director Craig Gillespie, and writer Steven Rogers about their work on the film.

“A lot of people ask: why are you making a movie about this? A lot of people presume that they know the whole story already and they’ve passed judgment on all these people,” admits Robbie. “But I think that’s why it’s so interesting to see an audience reaction because we are showing them something besides the story they didn’t know. People come out of the theaters so surprised!” Robbie, who also produced the film, has been nominated at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critics’ Choice as a leading actress.

SEE Will ‘I, Tonya’ get an Oscar boost from the 2018 Olympics in February?

Those same groups have also recognized Janney for her supporting performance as LaVona Golden, Harding’s monstrous mother. “[LaVona is] my favorite character I’ve ever had to create because she was such an extreme character,” she divulges. “Just to try to wrap my mind around what kind of a woman wears that fur coat, and has that bird, and has that haircut. She just fascinated me. I got to pretty much make her up in my head because we didn’t have the luxury of having her.”

Stan knew very little about the real Gillooly before taking the role. He believes “there’s probably a couple versions” of Jeff. “There’s a version of what people maybe think of him, there’s a version of what he thinks of himself, and essentially, there’s a version of what everyone takes from seeing the movie and seeing him in the movie.” He continues, “for me, it was a very difficult character because when I first read him, I was having a really hard time understanding and relating to him, and I had a lot of judgements about the story, about [Harding], about him. Ultimately, I just had to do my job as an actor, and that job requires me to remove my own judgements and try to find my way through like a detective, so to speak.”

Before accepting the job, Gillespie reveals, “Honestly, I wasn’t attracted to the story of Tonya Harding. Nothing against her, but it was 25 years ago, I’d just done two biopics, and then it came along. But then my agent followed up with ‘Margot Robbie’s attached,’ and I was like huh, that’s intriguing.” The director was interested in working with the actress on the project because “she has so much potential. She’s so good at dancing between comedy and drama, so I was hopeful that maybe the script would play to those strengths.”

SEE ‘I, Tonya’ reviews: Margot Robbie gives ‘the performance of a lifetime’ in ‘GoodFellas on ice’

Rogers’ script didn’t disappoint. He was inspired to write “I, Tonya” because “there were things in that story that resonated with me about truth, and the perception of truth, and the things that we tell ourselves just to be able to live with ourselves. Also, there were things in it about class that I thought were interesting, and about the media, so I thought there was a lot there to work with.”

Click on any name below to be taken to their full interview:

Margot Robbie, who plays Tonya Harding

Allison Janney, who plays LaVona Golden

Sebastian Stan, who plays Jeff Gillooly

Craig Gillespie, director

Steven Rogers, writer

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