Digging deeper into the ice-skating scandal that rocked a nation, the I, Tonya trailer explores the backstory of Tonya Harding's allegations of abuse, which she reportedly endured throughout her life. The mock biopic, which is slated to hit theaters on Dec. 8, will detail the dramatic rise and fall of Harding (played by Margot Robbie) — a tenacious competitor who once held the glory of being first woman in America's history to a complete a triple axel jump in a skating competition.
Harding's remarkable accomplishments, however, would become considerably marred by controversy in 1994, when she was accused of trying to sabotage the career of rival skating competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, allegedly orchestrating a vicious attack that would ultimately deem her unable to compete in U.S. Figure Skating Championships of that year. Although, the pair would go against one another in that year's Winter Olympics.
After Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly was arrested in connection with the assault, Harding released a statement to the New York Times indicating that she had no prior knowledge of the attack on Kerrigan. Maintaining that she was not involved in planning the strike on her opponent, Harding explained, "I am responsible, however, for failing to report things I learned about the assault."
As the movie attempts to chronicle the well-documented offense on Kerrigan and her career, I, Tonya will also seemingly delve into some of the factors of Harding's life and upbringing, which suggest that Kerrigan isn't the only victim in this story. Offering a steeply dark, yet humorous, spin on the events which led up to Harding being banned from skating for life, the forthcoming film's trailer shares harrowing details about Harding's purported relationship with her mother, LaVona Golden (portrayed in the film by Allison Janney).
In her 2008 tell-all book, The Tonya Tapes, Harding alleged that she had suffered years of abuse by her mother as a child, both physically and emotionally. Claiming to have been repeatedly struck by Golden throughout her lifetime, Harding also alleges that her mother “told me I was fat and ugly.” It's an accusation that Golden has long denied, according to People. During an interview with NBC, Golden did admit to hitting Harding on the arm once with a hairbrush. Nevertheless, she said, “I did the very best I could as a mother. I still love her. I always will.”
The recently released trailer offers viewers a glimpse into the movie's depiction of Harding's reportedly tumultuous relationship with Golden. Portions of the clip reveal moments in which Janney as Golden publicly berates and chastises her young daughter and her performances as a skater. Amongst many things, Golden is depicted as a crude and overbearing parent, who according to the movie, once accompanied Harding on a date with the man who would presumably become her first husband — and the the man who would ultimately be accused of the attack that would change both Harding and Kerrigan's lives forever.
Amidst the on-screen calamity that the film reveals to be Harding's life, sits a deeply unsettling moment in which Golden appears to physically kick the young girl out of a chair as she sits while presumably doing her homework.
As far as Harding's current relationship with her mother is concerned, Golden revealed that the two haven't spoken or seen each other since 2002, during a recent interview with Inside Edition. Harding's estranged mother elaborated, “She hates me. Period. I could never do anything right for her. Nothing."
Although the attack on Kerrigan occurred nearly 24 years ago, Harding has long been deemed one of the biggest villains of the '90s. It seems that the new film will provide viewers with more insight on Harding's story leading up to the event that would ultimately impact her life forever. Adapted from a series of interviews that were conducted by the film's screenwriter Steven Rogers, it's hard to assess just how much of I, Tonya will be based on actual real-life events in the skater's life — as only Harding, herself, knows the whole story.