Category: I, Tonya
Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, TONYA is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – Margot Robbie’s Tonya Harding biopic is skating closer to awards season glory.
EW has confirmed the Craig Gillespie-directed film, one of the hottest acquisitions out of Toronto earlier this month, will hit select theaters on Dec. 8, with a nationwide rollout planned for subsequent weeks.
The film, about the titular champion ice skater who later embroiled herself in a plot to break the leg of her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, world-premiered at TIFF earlier this month to enthusiastic reviews from movie critics, with particular praise — and Oscar buzz — brewing for Robbie and Allison Janney, who plays Harding’s mother, LaVonda Golden.
The film went on to become the first runner-up for the festival’s People’s Choice Award, a key best picture precursor that has gone to eight films that have either won or been nominated for the Academy’s top honor across the last 10 years.
Neon, the distributor behind specialty hits like this year’s Ingrid Goes West and Beach Rats, purchased I, Tonya for $5 million following the film’s well-received debut, reportedly beating out an $8 million bid from Netflix and further offers from Annapurna and CBS Films.
VARIETY – Neon and 30WEST have nabbed domestic rights to “I, Tonya,” a dark comedy about Olympic skater Tonya Harding. The deal was signed out of the Toronto Film Festival, where the film premiered over the weekend. It is in the $5 million range.
The big draw here is star Margot Robbie, who plays Harding, a gold medal hopeful whose career was derailed after her ex-husband cooked up a scheme to hobble Nancy Kerrigan. There’s some chatter that Robbie could end up in the awards race, but other potential buyers who looked at the picture thought it had only limited commercial appeal. Netflix, CBS Films, and Annapurna had kicked the tires on the picture at various points in a bidding process that never got as hot as the agents and producers thought it would. CBS Films had bid $6 million prior to the screening, but lowered the bid to $2 million after the film showed, according to an insider.
In a positive notice, Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman praised the picture and the performances. “For a while, you may make the mistake of thinking that ‘I, Tonya’ is a joke: a blithe spoof of Tabloid Nation,” he wrote. “It is that, yet it’s also built around something piercingly sharp and sincere: Margot Robbie’s canny, live-wire, deeply sympathetic performance.”
Along with Robbie, Allison Janney stars as Harding’s mother and Sebastian Stan appears as Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s ex-husband. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”) with a screenplay by Steven Rogers (“Love the Coopers”).
30WEST is a new venture founded by Micah Green, a former CAA agent, and entrepreneur Dan Friedkin. At Toronto, the company partnered with Cinetic to negotiate a deal to sell domestic rights Morgan Spurlock’s sequel to “Super Size Me” to YouTube Red.
Neon is the new indie label from Tom Quinn, the former head of Radius-TWC, and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League. The company’s “Borg/McEnroe,” with Shia LaBeouf as a hot-tempered John McEnroe, opened the festival. Its other releases include “Beach Rats,” “Ingrid Goes West,” and “Colossal.”
AI Films financed the project. CAA and UTA represented the “I, Tonya” filmmakers, while Vince Holden of AI Films brokered the deal. Sierra/Affinity is handling international rights and has already pre-sold many territories.
Miramax Lands Margot Robbie As Tonya Harding Drama ‘I, Tonya’
EXCLUSIVE: Miramax has acquired U.S. distribution rights to I, Tonya, the drama that has Margot Robbie set to play disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding. Craig Gillespie is directing. Deadline first revealed in May that Robbie would play Harding, and the project picked up steam around AFM, when AI Film signed on to finance the Steven Rogers script. The Aussie actress might have to brush up on her figure skating moves, but there is a portion of the program here she proved adept at as the bad girl in Suicide Squad. Harding emerged from a poor upbringing and rough childhood in Portland, OR to rise to the top of the sport of figure skating with determination and athleticism that allowed her to become the first American woman to complete the triple axel in major competitions. She won the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and second in the World Championships, and was set for a showdown against fellow American skater Nancy Kerrigan. The fairy tale turned nightmarish, after Kerrigan was attacked by thugs who tried to break her leg. It turned out the culprit was Harding’s husband, who implicated 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.
Clubhouse Pictures’ Bryan Unkeless, LuckyChap’s Robbie and Tom Ackerley, and Rogers are producing, while AI’s Len Blavatnik and Aviv Giladi are exec producers. UTA Independent Film Group and CAA brokered the deal. Miramax head of film &TV Zanne Devine spearheaded it for the distributor and Rosanne Korenberg is overseeing the film for Miramax. Sierra/Affinity is selling offshore.
Miramax confirmed. Said Robbie: “The script is unbelievable, it’s unlike anything I’ve read before and I know Craig’s approach with the material and the characters will be executed brilliantly. Tom and I at LuckyChap are so grateful to partner with Bryan for what will hopefully be the first of many jobs together.”
Robbie is repped by Management 360, CAA, attorney Jeff Bernstein and Aran Michael Management. Rogers is Gersh and Gillespie is UTA and Management 360.