Margot Robbie defends the use of domestic violence within ‘I, Tonya’ as she says to do otherwise would be a ‘disservice.’
The Oscar-nominated actress Margot Robbie plays Tonya Harding in the biopic, directed by Craig Gillespie. Robbie’s character; Harding was banned from the sport, Olympic ice skating, for leaving her fellow competitor, Nancy Kerrigan with a leg injury.
However, behind the scenes, Harding faces harrowing abuse both from her mother, LaVona, played by Allison Janney, and her husband, Jeff Gillooly, who is played by Sebastian Stan.
The scenes of domestic violence include Tonya breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience and make jokes.
In an interview with Press Association, The actress states that she discussed the tone of these scenes with Gillespie at length, they had to make sure that the representation of violence made the audience aware of what victims of this abuse endure as well as Tonya, however, they also had to make sure that the audience’s eyes did not leave the screen, which is where the jokes come in.
If we sugarcoat it we are doing quite a disservice to anyone who has suffered that, to brush it under the rug as if it didn’t happen or to make it seem like it’s not that bad, or easier to endure.
Gillespie came up with the idea of breaking the fourth wall in order for the audience to see how Tonya, emotionally disconnects from what is happening to her physically. She states that “I think that was a very truthful approach and all you can do in art is try to approach everything as truthfully as possible.”
i finally saw i,tonya and honestly it gives such a well crafted and timelessly important narrative of the way classism, misogyny, and the culture of abuse work to villainize and hurt women time and time again. we need to stop letting women down.
— Isobelle (@lola_blueberry) January 28, 2018
Robbie also reflects on the fact that the film was released at the same time the Time’s Up and ME TOO, campaigns are very poignant in the media.
Likewise, abuse against women was something that was hugely prevalent in Tonya’s life but the Me Too movement, the Time’s Up` movement hadn’t begun when we were filming so it is very sadly ironic that it has become so topical but the best way forward is for all of us to discuss it.
The actress also states that she would not have gotten the role if it wasn’t her own production company that produced the film. “I don’t think someone would have just given me this role if I hadn’t gone out after it and I wasn’t really prepared to wait for 10, 15 years until something like this came along, I wanted to do that now.
She adds:“The production company’s purpose isn’t to have starring vehicles for me but for any actress. We want female-driven content and female storytellers.”
Check out the trailer for ‘I, Tonya’ below:
For more on artists in Hollywood fighting for the rights of women and for women to tell their stories, check out this article about Scarlet Johansson and the Time’s Up campaign here.