Kieran, here. It was announced earlier this week that Margot Robbie would be playing figure skater turned tabloid fodder Tonya Harding in a biopic titled I, Tonya. On a personal note, I distinctly remember my mother voicing her distaste about Harding being on the cover of nearly a dozen tabloid magazines in my pediatrician’s office when I was a kid. It was everywhere and given how ubiquitous the story became, it’s kind of surprising that it’s taken this long for it to get the cinematic treatment. Well…the earnest, theatrical cinematic treatment. There was a hastily assembled television movie which aired in April of 1994 (the Harding scandal was at the 1994 Winter Olympics). It features Heather Langenkamp (yes, Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street) as Nancy Kerrigan, just in case you were wondering.
A director has yet to be attached to the project or even named to be in consideration, but Patty Jenkins (Monster) immediately feels like a great choice. Other than the forthcoming Wonder Woman movie, Jenkins hasn’t directed a feature film since her 2003 debut which netted Charlize Theron a Best Actress Oscar. In Monster, Jenkins showed a real knack for empathy without absolution while dealing with a troubled protagonist. As sensationalized and as much the butt of jokes Tonya Harding became, her story is ultimately one of abject poverty, fleeting triumph and tragic failure. One would hope that it doesn’t descend entirely into an exercise in camp and Jenkins could provide a sure yet sensitive hand at the helm.
One can hardly embark upon telling the tale of Tonya Harding without talking about Nancy Kerrigan. No actress has signed on for the part, so its presumably still up for grabs. When considering who would play the oft mocked silver-medal winner who became America’s sweetheart for a short time, many names came up.
Just saying. pic.twitter.com/OcHs2NQy5u— Chris Feil (@chrisvfeil) March 22, 2016
Chris Feil, fellow Team Experience member shrewdly suggested Daisy Ridley, fresh off Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the role, complete with photographic evidence. Ridley would be a good choice and more importantly it would be an opportunity for the young rising star to show her range beyond blockbusters. Word is that Ridley is currently courting the Lara Croft role in a Tomb Raider reboot.
A few people online have named Anne Hathaway as a good choice. There are certainly parallels. It seems that both Hathaway and Kerrigan got dinged for a certain...wholesomeness that seems to enrage people for reasons that are completely alien to me. The Hathaway hatred is absolutely baffling and it feels almost certain she'd be inexplicably pilloried even further if she took a role that requires her to cry earnestly on screen yet again.
Though both are interesting choices, the actress who I’d be most curious to see step into the role of Kerrigan is Alicia Vikander. It seems that she’s made her mark in films that are either period (or more period than 1994) or heavy on stylization. I’d be curious to see how Vikander, fresh off her Oscar win, performs in the absence of either.
Are you excited for the project? Who would you like to see in the role of Nancy Kerrigan?