• "The Portlandian" - November 12, 2017 edition

    From Terry Hall@21:1/5 to All on Mon Nov 13 22:41:44 2017
    XPost: alt.fan.tonya-harding

    T H H E
    T H H E

    P P O O R R T L A A NN N D D I A A NN N
    P O O R R T L A A N NN D D I A A N NN

    The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News

    November 12, 2017 Edition - ANNUAL BIRTHDAY EDITION
    (C) 2017 Portland Ice Skating Society
    http://www.pdxiss.org *****************************************************************

    Welcome to the annual birthday edition of The Portlandian for
    2017. Tonya turns 47 today, proof that like a fine wine, some
    things get better with age. It's also our own anniversary - "The
    Portlandian" turns 21 today as well. And may we also extend
    (slightly early) birthday wishes to "I, Tonya" star Allison
    Janney, who turns 58 on the 19th - proof that older women can
    still look hot.

    Other famous people who share Tonya's birthday include actors
    Grace Kelly, Ryan Gosling and Anne Hathaway, gymnast Nadia
    Comaneci, writer and feminist Naomi Wolf, musician Neil Young,
    and last but definitely not least, serial killer Charles Manson.

    Obviously the big news since our last edition has been the
    release of the film "I, Tonya", which has resulted in a
    resurgence of interest in Tonya that hasn't been seen since
    ESPN's "Price of Gold" almost four years ago. So the result is
    that this is an extra large edition.


    "I, Tonya" had its world premiere at the Toronto International
    Film Festival on the 8th of September. The premiere saw several
    members of the cast and crew, including Margot Robbie, Sebastian
    Stan (Gillooly), Allison Janney (LaVona), Paul Walter Hauser
    (Shawn), Caitlyn Carver (Nancy), Mckenna Grace (young Tonya)
    Julianne Nicholson (Diane) and director Craig Gillespie present:



    Wikimedia has some Creative Commons licensed photos of the premiere.
    Quality is a bit variable.


    The cast held a Q&A session afterwards:


    Critical reception was overwhelmingly positive. One article
    called it "the Goodfellas of figure skating":


    It also proved popular with audiences, coming in second behind "3
    Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO." in the audience-voted People's
    Choice Award.

    And last but definitely not least, we have Al Bundy's favorite
    publication, "Footwear News", with a picture of Allison Janney in
    a pair of spikey-heeled shoes:


    I wonder if those heels would hurt if she trampled all over you
    wearing them?... oh, sorry, just got distracted.

    The film also scored a new U.S. distribution deal with two
    relatively new companies, Neon and 30WEST, rumored by industry
    insiders to be in the vicinity of $5 million. Apparently, NetFlix
    offered 8 million, but Luckychap & Clubhouse insisted on a
    theatrical release, which Netflix weren't interested in (because,
    as we all know, an Emmy is prestigious but not as much as
    an Oscar). Word was that Lions Gate were also interested, but
    didn't want to finance an Oscar campaign for Margot, which was
    part of the deal. Neon & 30WEST replace Miramax, which pulled out
    earlier this year after deciding to refocus the company on
    distribution of their extensive back catalog rather than new


    Since Toronto, the movie has made its US debut at the Hamptons
    Film Festival in New York, and has been doing the rounds of
    assorted film festivals, including screenings at Philadelphia,
    Hawaii, New Orleans, Savannah and Denver, to name just a few.
    It's also screened at festivals in Belgium and Rome, marking the
    first non-North American screenings. It will also make its
    western-Canadian debut in Whistler, BC. early next month.

    Typical was this review from a Colorado screening:


    Obsession doesn’t even begin to describe the life and times of
    figure skater Tonya Harding. Directed with delicious zeal by
    Craig Gillespie, I, Tonya (Nov. 11) draws from the
    confessional and completely contradictory first-person
    accounts of Harding’s rise to infamy — from her lower-class
    upbringing in Portland, Oregon, to her public demise at the
    1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

    Everyone knows Harding’s relationship to Nancy Kerrigan but I,
    Tonya tells a much different story: one of class, a
    domineering mother (Allison Janney, simply spectacular) and
    the cyclical nature of abuse. And, as Harding (exquisitely
    played by Margot Robbie) points out, the American audience was
    just as complicit in that abuse: “I was loved for a minute,
    then I was hated. Then I became a punch line. It was like
    being abused all over again. And you were all my attackers.”

    But perhaps the most important review so far comes from Matt
    Harkins & Viviana of the THNK1994 Museum, who have given their
    seal of approval:


    "We’ve seen the movie and we couldn’t be happier with it,"
    Harkins and Olen wrote. "Margot Robbie and Allison Janney
    knock it out of the park. The coolest thing is that it
    highlights all of the roadblocks Tonya overcame to excel in a
    sport that never fully accepted her despite her skill, which
    has been our feeling all along. Our generation grew up with
    her as a laughing stock. It is a campy story but that doesn’t
    mean it can’t be taken seriously at the same time. We are so
    thrilled we had a part in reexamining her legacy."

    Currently the IMDB rating for it stands at 7.4, with review
    aggregator Rotten Tomatoes giving it a "91% fresh" rating. Which
    in figure skating terms would equate to about a 5.8 on the old
    scoring system.


    Late October saw the launch of the film's official web site,
    itonyamovie.com, and the release of the first "teaser" trailer:


    Shortly afterwards came the full trailer, running almost 2 and a
    half minutes. There are two versions: a red-band version, which
    contains a bit of swearing:


    and a sanitized green-band version, which doesn't (though why
    anyone would want to watch a sanitized Tonya, I don't know):


    These have also been accompanied by a couple of cool posters:


    This one says it all, really:


    We're really loving the marketing materials for this that have
    come out so far. I wonder if we'll be getting a soundtrack album?
    And if so, will it have LaTour's "People Are Still Having Sex" on


    The "awards season" has barely kicked off, and already "I,
    Tonya" is racking up the silverware in tinseltown. First cab off
    the rank was Dick Clark's Hollywood Film awards, where the cast
    carted off the Ensemble award and Allison Janney won the
    Supporting Actress category:



    This Margot fan site has few photos:


    The cast were also honored at Deadline's Contenders event, where
    Margot described meeting Tonya and Allison Janney described
    working with a bird:



    Robbie said she decided how she would approach the role before
    she actually met Harding because she wanted "just to meet her
    as a person, I didn’t want it to feel like research." Harding
    was "incredibly kind," Robbie said. "She was like, 'How are you
    learning to skate? Do you want me to help you train?'".

    One thing Janney especially enjoyed about the role was acting
    with a live bird perched on her shoulder. "I’ve worked with a
    lot of barnyard animals but never a bird," she said. "Someone
    told me the way to smoke a cigarette and look cool is to never
    look at the cigarette, so I thought, 'I’m never going to look
    at this bird.'" Working together wasn’t always easy, however.
    "It was poking at my ear," Janney said. But the role was
    "enormous fun. I just thought, 'bring it.'"


    This article explains how writer Steven Rogers used "I, Tonya" to
    reboot his career:


    Rogers had previously had some success with rom-coms such as
    "Stepmom", "Kate & Leopold" and "Hope Floats", but by 2015 his
    career was in the doldrums: his last film, a Christmas comedy
    called "Love The Coopers" was a critical and box office flop, and
    he was looking to move in a different direction. After watching
    Nanette Burstein's ESPN documentary "The Price of Gold" with his
    niece, he resolved to find Tonya and tell her story.

    "I went on the Tonya Harding website to see who her agent was, to
    see if life rights were even available," Rogers said. "I called
    the number for her agent and it was a Motel 6."

    Wrong website, Steve - you should have come to ours.

    Eventually Rogers tracked Tonya down in Sisters, OR. where she
    was living at the time. "I had never interviewed anyone before,"
    he said. "I went up the first time just to see if we liked each
    other. She picked me up in her truck and there was no outside
    door handle, she had to open it for me [from the inside]. I knew
    I was on to something."

    Industry site Shoot has an interesting profile on "I, Tonya"
    director Craig Gillespie, and his background in advertising. And
    it also reveals a startling fact about the movie - most of it was
    shot on real 35mm film! Talk about going retro - you can't get
    much more authentically '90s than that:


    Meanwhile, Gillespie talks about Tonya's reaction to the film:


    Gillespie said he showed it to her the week before the premiere.
    "I was nervous to show it to her," he said. "I hoped that she
    would like it, but you never know. For somebody to look at
    themselves objectively, it’s so hard, and she’s been bombarded by
    this for so long... It’s so much Tonya’s story, that was my
    primary focus".

    He added, "On the one side, I feel like we’ve done a very honest
    portrayal. When I set out to make the film, she’s been such a
    villain and a punchline in our society for so long, and I loved
    that challenge to just change that perspective. I really felt
    like it was there in Steven’s script that, by the end of the
    movie, we should empathize with her. I know it’s a tall order
    with such a huge public persona that we have, but I really felt
    it was possible with Margo’s performance, with this script".

    Was Tonya pleased with the final result? According to the
    article, a grinning Gillespie said "I heard she was actually
    happy with it".

    Oddly enough, "I, Tonya" wasn't actually Gillespie's first
    encounter with the Tonya/Nancy saga - back in the early 90's
    while working in advertising, he met Nancy Kerrigan while filming
    a Campbell's Soup commercial in Canada:


    The art directors, Gillespie and Barton Landsman, attended the
    commercial's day-long shoot and even ate lunch with Nancy.

    "She was totally game... she was up for everything," Gillespie

    Although Nancy (as played by Caitlyn Carver) only appears in a
    couple of scenes in "I, Tonya", this encounter made Gillespie
    careful to do the right thing in his portrayal of her on screen:

    "Having met her," he says, "I was just acutely aware we were
    dealing with Nancy, too, as a human being."

    Next up is an interview with Margot on The Hollywood Reporter's
    Awards Chatter podcast. From 00:50 to 17:20 is about the
    Weinstein scandal if you want to skip over it, Margot is from
    17:20, mainly talking about her career in general, and the "I,
    Tonya" stuff in particular is at the end from 1:09:40.



    A New Zealand radio station recently did an interview with
    Allison Janney - mainly about her TV work, with only a brief
    mention of her aborted skating career at the end:


    Margot talks about meeting Tonya:


    She laughs. “Look, I was really amazed when I met her. She was
    so sweet. People obviously never associate that word with Tonya
    Harding, and I’m glad I got to meet her,” Robbie said. “She was
    really, really lovely. She offered to train me. She asked, ‘How
    are you finding ice skating?’ and I was like, ‘Dude! It’s
    really hard. I’m really scared that I’m not going to be good
    enough.’ She said, ‘Do you have your skates with you? I’ll take
    you around the rink now and we can start practising
    straightaway.’” She pauses. “She’s powerful, she’s a force. I
    guess I was expecting someone kind of aggressive, really
    forward and really rough, but she wasn’t at all.”

    Meanwhile, in an article in W magazine, Margot comes out as a


    "I asked Robbie whether or not she believes Harding was
    innocent. “In the beginning, I wasn’t really sure. There were
    things that didn’t add up. Facts were muddled.” She smiled.
    “But the more I became Tonya, the more I saw things from her
    point of view. I’m on her side 100 percent. I don’t think she
    did anything but be different from what the world wanted.
    There are cool misfits, and then there is Tonya. She didn’t
    fit in. And I love that.”"

    Comparing Tonya with another character she plays in a recent
    film, Daphne Milne, the wife of Winne The Pooh creator A.A.
    Milne, Margot reveals:

    "I understand them both, but I miss Tonya more. Some
    characters, like Daphne, I can let go of very quickly. But
    not Tonya. I’m still not done with her. I found it hard to
    shake her off."

    And in an interview in the upcoming Autumn 2017 issue of
    Wonderland magazine, Margot confirms what every Tonyaphile has
    always known - that Tonya was hot (and Margot is someone who
    definitely knows about looking hot):

    "The worse I looked, the happier people were," she said.
    "Ironically, Tonya wasn't unattractive, she's just been marred
    with that story...Tonya, right or wrong, is human."


    So there you have it: Margot is officially a Tonyaphile. She's
    discovered that the Tonya Harding fan club is like the Eagles'
    Hotel California - you can check out any time you like, but you
    can never leave. And if you diss Tonya, we just might send her
    around to your house dressed as Harley Quinn with her baseball


    Recreating Tonya's life in an authentic way was quite a
    challenge. For instance, when they came to re-enact the triple
    axel scene, the filmmakers were shocked to learn that they
    couldn't just hire a stunt double as they'd originally planned -
    their skating adviser informed them that there were only seven
    other women in the world apart from Tonya that had achieved the
    feat, and none of them would have been suitable stunt doubles.
    They eventually resorted to CGI.

    To recreate the infamous "broken shoelace" moment at Lillehammer
    as accurately as possible, Margot and co examined recordings of
    the incident shot by Japanese network NHK in an experimental
    widescreen HDTV system - footage that the PDXISS Special Duties
    Section had discovered on-line only months earlier and had
    alerted scriptwriter Steven Rogers to the existence of. These
    recordings contained dialog of Tonya and her coach frantically
    trying to repair the shoelace that wasn't present on the US TV



    Vogue has an interesting article on some of the make-up
    techniques used to turn Margot into Tonya, escpecially "old"
    Tonya. According to La Mia Denaver and prosthetic designer
    Vincent Van Dyke, she wears wrap-around body prosthetics, as well
    as pieces near her nasolabial folds and on her nose, cheeks, and


    Equally important were the costumes: "The film is trying to stay
    accurate to the events that were at the time highly publicized -
    but also, and this its main goal, present Tonya's tragic life by
    underlining its absurdity," explained Claudia Sarbu, the film's
    costume supervisor. "Tonya's wardrobe is key to exposing who she
    is and it was one of the things that stood against her in the
    world of gracious figure skaters. She was the white trash and
    somehow, despite her talent, she was never able to fit":


    Young Tonya is played by Mckenna Grace. Becuase she's a minor,
    her contract has to be filed in court, so TMZ got ahold of a
    copy. It reveals she's guaranteed to get at least ten grand for
    her part in the film, and got to fly business class and stay in a
    hotel suite for any filming out of L.A.



    Although the film has been the main bit of news these past few
    weeks, there have been other things going on in Tonya-land. The
    THNK1994 museum has now has a new Tonya artwork by Laura Collins
    for sale. Entitled "Tonya Harding wearing blue eyeliner", prints
    can be purchased from the Museum for $59:


    If you didn't manage to get tickets to Toronto, you could still
    get some Tonya action that weekend. "Halt and Catch Fire" is an
    AMC series set in the IT industry in the early years of the dot-
    com era in the mid '90s. This season's fourth episode, which
    aired that Saturday, follows the fortunes of a Yahoo!-type web
    directory startup and is entitled "Tonya & Nancy". It really only
    makes passing reference to the scandal and features a family
    watching the Norway showdown on TV, however - but it's better
    than nothing.


    Although it's hard to believe now, there was a time when Yahoo!
    was actually considered to be cool...


    We had one hope for this project: that it would change people's
    minds about Tonya. That instead of being seen as cheating trailer
    trash or a punchline, she'd get restored to her rightful place in
    skating history as one of the sport's true athletes.

    The early signs didn't look good, however.

    The writer, Steven Rogers' other films seemed to be mainly
    lightweight rom-coms, and his last picture, "Love The Coopers",
    just looked dire even from the trailer. He hadn't read the Tonya
    Tapes, Tonya's own story. Plus he'd interviewed Gillooly, another
    bad sign.

    The other two main creative forces behind it looked equally
    unlikely choices. The star, while definitely sexy, had never even
    heard of Tonya before reading the script and looked nothing like
    her - she was too tall, too skinny and her breasts were too big.
    At least Alexandra Powers looked like Tonya in the TV movie.

    The director attached to the project, Craig Gillespie, was a
    relative unknown with a background in advertising whose most
    notable previous work was a comedy about a sex doll. What little
    info available about him suggested he was regarded as being a
    "journeyman" - technically competent, but with no real style or
    flair. Plus, like Margot, he was another Australian. "How the
    heck could a couple of Ockers possibly understand such an utterly
    American story?", I reasoned.

    My suspicions seemed to be confirmed when I got ahold of a copy
    of the script late last year. The idea of a fake documentary
    seemed a worn-out, excessively-clever gimmick in the same mold
    as other recent films like "Kate Plays Christine" and "Casting
    JonBenet". Worse still, it was overly-reminiscent of the approach
    taken by the TV movie all the way back in 1994, complete with
    faux interviews. Even the subtitle - "based on irony-free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews with Tonya Harding and
    Jeff Gillooly" - seemed a throwback to an earlier TV film about
    another 90's scandal, "The Positively True Adventures of the
    Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom", which also used the
    faux interview technique.

    Reports from the set weren't comforting: leaked cellphone footage
    showed Margot as Tonya telling a skating judge to "suck my
    dick" - something that almost certainly never happened. Was this
    "alternative fact" going to be typical of the approach the movie
    would take? As they would say in Star Wars, "I have a bad feeling
    about this".

    By August I was getting nervous. I was steeling myself for
    something that would - as the Aussies themselves would put it -
    stink worse than a kangaroo's jockstrap. An error ridden disaster
    that would make Tonya look like a cartoonish cliche, like Oliver
    Stone's "Doors" film did with Jim Morrison.

    Then came Toronto. And the first reviews trickled in. All
    positive! Critics were calling it "the Goodfellas of figure
    skating" - certainly not a phrase that would ever be used about
    any other skating movie. The sex-doll-comedy director was now
    being compared to "Marty" Scorsese; for a movie director, that's
    about the highest praise you can get. Something was obviously up.

    Then I saw the teaser trailer. In the opening sequence, Margot
    exhales, and stubs out a cigarette with her skate.

    With those two shots, Craig Gillespie had just flushed fifty
    years of anti-smoking commercials straight down the drain.

    Sure, Margot doesn't really look like Tonya, and her Oregonian
    accent is a bit creaky, but she made her look like...... a

    A cool, sexy, badass. Which is what her fans have always known
    she is all along.

    Then I saw the second, redband trailer. It did something I
    believed was impossible: it made Tonya look like even more of a
    badass than the first one!

    Then there was the poster. The only way they could make Tonya
    look any more "gangsta" in this poster would be to give Margot a
    pair of mirrored sunglasses and a pump-action shotgun.

    It's obvious that we're dealing with something very special
    here. In fact, I've now got a GOOD feeling about this...


    PortIce - http://www.pdxiss.org
    David House - http://www.tonyaharding.org
    Charlie Main - http://www.charliesweb.com/tonya/tonya.html
    Puppetboy - http://www.usapaul.net/tonya/
    Valerie Smith - http://www.olywa.net/radu/valerie/LilHam.html
    Swan Lake - http://members.tripod.com/~TonyaHarding/index.html
    Blades of Gold - http://members.tripod.com/tmhfan/index.html
    THNK1994 Museum - https://www.facebook.com/THNK1994/ *****************************************************************

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