EXCLUSIVE: Margot Robbie has come attached to I, Tonya, a script by Steven Rogers about the crazy story of Tonya Harding. Remember her? She was the ice princess who emerged from a poor upbringing and rough childhood in Portland, OR to rise to the top of the sport of figure skating with a ferocious determination and athleticism that allowed her to become the first American woman to complete the triple axel in major competitions. That propelled her to victory in the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and second in the World Championships.
She was expected to battle Nancy Kerrigan for gold in the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer. Of course, Harding is mostly known for the infamy that occurred when her husband, Jeff Gillooly, and a couple of hired thugs tried to incapacitate Kerrigan by breaking her leg. They merely bruised Kerrigan, got caught, and Gillooly turned against his wife as he tried to stay out of jail. Kerrigan wound up winning the silver medal at that Olympics, and the completely distracted Harding finished eighth as her life was circling the drain. As the ensuing scandal unfolded, the USFSA stripped Harding of her 1994 championship and banned her for life.
I, Tonya is being produced by Bryan Unkeless and his Clubhouse Pictures. Robbie also is coming aboard in a producing capacity through her LuckyChap Entertainment banner. Unkeless also is producing Bright, the Max Landis-scripted David Ayer-directed Will Smith-Joel Edgerton pic that just sold in a massive sale to Netflix. There is no director on I, Tonya yet, but Robbie is taking it upon herself to find a filmmaker to build this project around herself. Financiers also are circling.
Depending on how it’s done, it has the potential to be another To Die For, the Gus Van Sant-directed film that starred Nicole Kidman in a tale of naked ambition and the price for fame. Rogers wrote his script after doing extensive interviews with both Harding and Gillooly, capturing the absurdity of what happened but also the tragic part of the Harding saga, and trying to come from nothing to prominence in a sport where most of the competitors are the children of wealthy families that can afford all the ice time and trainers needed to get to that high a level.
Robbie has shown a propensity for taking risks, which led to her breakout turn in The Wolf Of Wall Street. She next stars in the Warner Bros summer pic Suicide Squad in a cast that includes her Focus star Smith, and she also stars this summer in The Legend Of Tarzan. She most recently starred opposite Tina Fey in Whisky Tango Foxtrot. She is repped by CAA, Management 360, Australia-based Aran Michael Management and Jackoway, Tyerman. Rogers is repped by Gersh and Grandview.