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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
March 7, 2017 Edition
(C) 2017 Portland Ice Skating Society
Welcome to the first edition of The Portlandian for 2017. And
it's a packed edition too, as the new movie starring Margot
Robbie as our skating queen going into production has sparked a
flurry of new Tonya-related reports and articles. So without
further ado, let's get right into it:
LIGHTS, CAMERA, TONYA!
Since our last edition in November, there have been several
important devlopments on the movie front, with many casting
announcements. The complete list of the major cast members is as
Tonya Harding - Margot Robbie
Jeff Gillooly - Sebastian Stan
Shawn Eckardt - Paul Walter Hauser
Diane Rawlinson - Julianne Nicholson
Dody Teachman - Bojana Novakovic
Nancy Kerrigan - Caitlin Carver
Shane Stant - Ricky Russert
Derrick Smith - Anthony Reynolds
LaVona Harding - Allison Janney
Al Harding - Jason Davis
Young Tonya - Mckenna Grace
Some of these casting decisions seem rather odd - for instance,
while as Paul Walter Hauser will probably make a good Shawn once
he's padded up properly, Caitlin Carver as Nancy seems a rather
strange choice given the lack of physical resemblance of Ms
Carver to Ms Kerrigan, but alot of people said the same about
Margot Robbie & Tonya, so who can tell how the finished result
Meanwhile, photos have emerged of Margot as an 80's style Tonya
and of Sebastian Stan in Gillooly garb - personally, I don't
think the resemblance to Gillooly is that close either:
Deadline is also reporting that Miramax has acquired the U.S.
distribution rights for the film:
Of course, if you prefer, you can read Variety's rehash of it
here - at least this time they had the decency to acknowledge
where they ripped off the news from:
Shooting commenced in mid-January in Atlanta, Georgia, and is
scheduled to continue until March 16th. It's also being reported
that some scenes were shot at the Macon Coliseum ice rink for
several days at the end of January and early February, according
to Macon Film Commission member Elliot Dunwody:
Macon businesses are benefitting, says this article:
This local man describes his experience as an extra on the set in
Why Georgia, an area with no known connection to Tonya? Well,
often filming locations have as much to do with tax dodges these
days as authenticity. Or maybe they just think that Atlanta in
2017 looks more like Portland in 1994 than Portland in 2017 does.
MARGOT GETS HER SKATES ON
Early January saw Margot heavily into practicing for her role, at
the Pickwick Ice rink in Burbank, CA.:
"So I'm really excited because I love acquiring a new skill for
a role, it's one of the biggest treats of acting, and on the
producing side of it - if I get an injury I'm scared I'm going
to ruin everything so I'm nervous."
This Margot fan site has more images from the session, and in
The Mail also reports she was spotted training in Brisbane in
Australia, where she married her partner Tom Ackerley a couple of
Margot apparently has been noted to play ice hockey, so it's not
the first time she's been on skates. TMZ also has a video of what
it claims is Margot on the ice at the Pickwick rink as well
(though I'm not convinced):
By mid-January, the paps had their first shots of Margot dressed
as Tonya on the movie set:
She appears to have bulked up her upper body somehow, perhaps
with some padding.
This one from AOL has a clip of Tonya from 2014 and an eyewitness
report about the Margot sighting:
"The 26-year-old actress is portraying Harding in the biopic,
I, Tonya, and was spotted on set in Atlanta, Georgia, wearing
high-waisted jeans, a blue sweater and maroon ballet flats.
'[Margot was filming] a flash forward scene where she is
being interviewed about the event of the famous attack on
Nancy Kerrigan,' an eyewitness told ET. 'Margot had visible
padding on most of her body and was wearing a wig. She had a
perm wig on that she wore all day.'
"The eyewitness says Robbie was 'very positive and smiling'
while on set and 'arrived to the production office at noon
and filmed until around 5:30 p.m.' on Friday."
I have to admit I was skeptical about Margot's ability to pull
off a convincing Tonya given her lack of physical resemblance,
but she doesn't look too bad here - amazing what a hair stylist
and some makeup can do!
Shortly after, leaked footage Margot actually skating as Tonya
The first part of the clip looks like it's replicating Tonya's
Short Program at Albertville and it's a pretty good imitation of
her look and moves:
The second part is more puzzling: while as the outfit and signage
at the back match the 1986 Skate America Long Program:
the music (ZZ Top) and movements are clearly from the 1991/92
season LP - over five years later!
The apparent variation in the color of the costume is probably
just due to the fact that the Tonya original was shot using the
old NTSC TV system (the old standard definition US TV system)
which was notorious for doing weird things to color. I think the
purple one worn by Margot is probably closer to the correct
shade. These clips from the 1987 NHK and 1989 US Nats Long
Program are probably more accurate as to how it really looked:
This other article has more photos and a description from an
onlooker, who says Margot tried 20 takes to get one bit right,
before giving up and turning the job over to her stunt double.
Proof that it's not as easy as it looks (and it doesn't even look
Here in this scene Margot, playing a frustrated Tonya, tells a
skating judge to suck a part of her anatomy that she doesn't
Obviously this must have been leaked by a "Deep Throat"....
Why have we never heard of this incident before? Because it
probably never happened - I'm sure that if it had, we would have
heard about it in '94 when the media were desperate to dig up
anything negative about Tonya. We hope this isn't going to be
typical of the way the movie is going to use "alternative facts"
about Tonya's life.
In the wake of the leak of the "suck my d..k" footage, the
production company then obviously clamped down on security and
the info coming out of the set since then has almost dried up.
However we did see the emergence of more between-takes photos of
Margot dressed as Tonya:
There is also this rather grainy footage of Margot (as Margot,
not Tonya) letting her hair down in a redneck bar in Georgia with
her co-star Paul Walter Hauser (Shawn). The invite, featuring a
decidedly country & western-looking Tonya, looks cool too:
CALLING ALL GEORGIA TONYAPHILES!
Here's a chance for your wildest dream to come true!
Well, okay, not *wildest* dream (that would be actually meeting
Tonya) - but certainly second wildest: a chance to APPEAR in the
"I, Tonya" movie!
Central Casting's Georgia office are looking for large numbers of
stand-ins and extras for various scenes over the next few days.
You don't even have to be able to skate for many of these roles.
For instance, if you have a car in the 1970s to early 1990s
range, they'll pay you just to drive it around in the background
to create that '90s retro atmosphere. And if you don't have a
suitable vehicle, you might be able to wangle a place as a
spectator at the recreation of one of Tonya's skating victories.
Which is probably about as close as you'll be able to get to
being there for real until somebody gets around to inventing a
Here's a chance to be involved in the biggest Tonya project ever,
and get paid a few bucks for your trouble as well. When your
grandkids ask you "what did you do when they were making the
Tonya movie, grandpa?", you'll be able to tell them some cool
stories instead of just making some lame-assed excuse for why you
Previous roles required have included skaters, choreographers,
teachers, ballet dancers and skating judges (described as
"upscale preppy Men and Women") and a topless waitress in a dive
bar. With shooting carrying on into mid-March, there should be
plenty of opportunities here. Who knows? If Margot or director
Craig Gillespie spots you and likes the way you look, perhaps it
could be "next stop - Hollywood...".
And with all this swearing and nudity we can at least be certain
it'll get a good, solid "R" rating, as a film about Tonya's life
story deserves. None of this namby-pamby PG-13 rubbish for our
MUSEUM ON THE MOVE
The Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan museum in Brooklyn, New York,
has announced it's closing down its apartment hallway tribute to
the famous skating pair. The good news is that it's because the
hallway just isn't big enough anymore - they plan to expand their
operations and will be reopening soon in a much bigger location!
You can read more details about the move here on their Facebook
REELZ DOC SERVES UP TONYA'S OLD TRASH AS "NEWS"
It's the awards season once again in Hollywood, so we thought
it's probably time we dusted off one of our old favorites, the
"Jayson" awards, which we dish out every few months for shoddy
Tonya-related reporting. In case you're wondering, the name comes
from Jayson Blair, a "reporter" for the New York Times who was
fired for making up stories. And this time round we've got two
glaringly obvious winners.
On December 11 the REELZ Channel featured the 1994 incident on
its "Scandal Made Me Famous" series:
Later reports suggested that the show revealed shocking "new
evidence" that has "never been seen before" that "proves" Tonya
was in on it all:
And just what was this "new" evidence? Why, it was a note,
allegedly in Tonya's handwriting, that was found in a dumpster
outside a restaurant in 1994. Just one problem: this note, known
as the "Tunee Can" note, was widely reported on at the time and
is not remotely new at all.
Yes, the "new" evidence mentioned in the "documentary" is a load
of bollocks. Unless you fell asleep sometime in mid-January 1994
and only woke up recently, it's old news to anybody with any
interest in the case. The whole thing seems to have been aimed at
those who weren't born at the time or were too young to remember
it first hand and don't know any better.
The "Tunee Can" note was widely reported on and reproduced at the
time (albeit in inferior quality to the version shown here), and
according to experts it contains the handwriting of three people:
Tonya, Jeff Gillooly and an unknown third person. Tonya says that
the only bit that is hers is her coach Diane Rawlinson's contact
details, and nobody has ever proven otherwise. Likewise the photo
of Jeff and Tonya leaving Shawn Eckardt's house has also been
available for yonks - in fact, it was taken and published by the
Oregonian at the time in their book "Fire on Ice" and elsewhere,
and is the one the FBI used to fit her up with the "lying to
investigators" charge. And while as the summary of evidence
document may be something that has been unseen until now, the
contents are certainly nothing new and do nothing to prove Tonya
had any prior knowledge. It's all circumstantial, hearsay and
contradictory junk, or the testimony of proven liars, which is
why the DA didn't take it to trial.
It's more of the same old, same old - shamelessly hauled out as
"new" in the hope that nobody will remember it from the first
time around. But instead of taking our word for it, we suggest
you read this blog post by Oline Eaton who has done a much more
thorough job of demolishing it:
Oline also has a few other posts about Tonya that are worth a
look as well:
Meanwhile, the Daily Fail once again lives up to its nickname: it
has managed to track down Tonya and take a photograph of her
sitting out in front of her house:
Now every nutjob in the area knows where she lives. Way to go,
guys, Woodward & Bernstein must be green with envy. I guess they
couldn't be bothered doing some real journalism like tracking
down Donald Trump's tax returns. The accompanying article is just
another rehash, with nothing new apart from the photos. As you'd
expect from the Fail, it's riddled with mis-spellings and errors,
including the name of Tonya's son (which is one error that is
welcome). Definitely a shoe-in for this month's "Jayson".
We don't know if Nancy Kerrigan fans have their own version of
the Jaysons, but if they do, they'd probably want to give one to
Tell Me Now for this article, headed "Nancy Kerrigan Reveals A
Secret About The New Tonya Harding Movie". For a start, the
"revelation" is actually just a link to a video clip from TMZ, so
it's not even their own "scoop":
As you may be aware, Nancy will be appearing on the next season
of "Dancing With The Stars", so naturally the press has
inevitably brought up the movie in any interviews she's done.
Nancy, however, has revealed that she was not approached by the
film's producers and knows nothing more about it than what she's
read in the media.
Nancy's big "secret" revelation about the movie, in other words,
is that she doesn't know any secret info about it at all! Talk
about trying to make something out of nothing. Perhaps if the
press now find themselves slammed as the "lamestream media" and
accused of broadcasting "fake news", they have no-one to blame
but themselves. The lack of respect people have for them now is
the direct result of the tabloidization of their craft that began
with their coverage of Tonya & Nancy, which they continue to this
Unlike the Oscars(R) there's no limit to the number of Jaysons we
can award - we can dish out as many as we like and there's more
than enough to go around, so we don't have to worry about
announcing the wrong winner like they did. Which brings us to one
final note before we leave this topic: perhaps the Academy could
solve this year's Best Picture cock-up by taking a leaf out of
skating's book and simply hand out two Best Picture Oscars the
same way that the ISU handed out two gold medals for the Pairs
at Salt Lake City back in 2002.
FRINK THE FINK SURFACES ON KATU
Also taking the chance to rehash the whole affair is Portland's
KATU, but at least they've come up with something new: an
interview with Multnomah County prosecutor Norm Frink:
Direct link if you want to download it to watch off-line:
Frink reveals his reason for negotiating a plea bargain with
Tonya rather than taking the whole thing to trial, and it's quite
startling: namely, no other jusridiction, either the FBI or the
Detroit PD, wanted to touch it! He didn't want those involved to
get off scott free, but he didn't want to waste taxpayer's money
on something he regarded as a "soap opera" either - so he decided
that a plea bargain was the best option.
We have to wonder if Frink would describe this case as a "soap
opera" if it involved, say, a male football player being
assaulted instead of a female figure skater. It all tends to reek
of sexism - "hey, it's not a real sport, and it's just a bunch of
chicks and fags anyway, so it's no big deal". Or maybe he simply
realized that his case against Tonya was crap and would be
totally shredded by any decent defense attorney.
Nevertheless, he does show some sympathy for Tonya near the end.
TONYA ROCKS CHICAGO
Back in December, the rock opera played to positive reviews in Chicago, a special Christmas treat for those in that city. Here's
a sample of some of the reaction:
"Hilarious and surprisingly savvy and nuanced"
"It's a fabulously weird and legitimately experimental musical
presented in a time when they're too hard to come by."
"Underscore Theatre Company delivers with a cast that sings their
guts out, dances their pants off and gamely executes faux triple
lutzes, penalties be damned."
"Amanda Horvath plays Tonya to perfection."
More reviews can be found here:
Perhaps inspired by the Tonya Wheaties box item that was on TV
recently, their FaceBook page even features some nice, fake
NEW YORK PERFORMER TAKES SYMPATHETIC LOOK AT TONYA'S LIFE
It seems that with a rock opera and a forthcoming movie in the
news, everyone is jumping on the Tonya bandwagon. For instance,
if you happened to be in New York recently, then having taken in
the delights of the THNK Museum you could have then caught this
act at the Frigid Festival:
The work of New York-based theatre artist Clara Elser, "The Love
Song of Tonya Harding" premiered at the Calgary Fringe Festival
in Canada in 2015 and was also performed at the Tucson AZ Fringe
Festival in mid January:
The idea is simple: it's 2014 and Tonya needs to make a few
bucks, so she takes on the job of MC at a Sochi Olympics viewing
party at a bar. As the evening unfolds, Tonya reveals more about
Like the film, the 55 minute one-woman show claims to take a
"darkly comic" tone - and from the descriptions, it appears to be
pro-Tonya, taking a sympathetic look. As one review says, "the
more Elser explores Harding's self-destruction, the more it
becomes clear that Tonya Harding was less an evil, greedy,
ambitious woman than she was an American who got dealt a bad hand
by birth, and almost managed to dig her way out of arriving on
the planet with two strikes against her".
At this time, we don't know of any further planned performaces,
but we certainly hope to see more.
TONYA TURNS UP IN THE STRANGEST PLACES...
Such as this promo for the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball
team, who are promoting the fact that their home stadium is
undergoing a renovation:
Did they pay Tonya for the use of her image in this? Yeah, sure
they did. And if you believe that, I've got some real estate in
the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans you might be interested in too.
"TONYA" APPEARS AT PARTY WITH TRUMP
Meanwhile, back in December "Tonya" made a surprise guest
appearance at an event in Long Island called the "Villains &
Heroes" ball, organized by the newly-elecetd President Trump as a
thank-you to one of his wealthy donors. Okay, it obviously wasn't
the real Tonya, but just a party guest (who it was isn't
mentioned). Other costumes included Cruella De Vil, Supreme Court
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and 1930's gangsters. Tech
entrepreneur Peter Thiel came dressed as Hulk Hogan and Kellyanne
Conway as Superwoman.
Trump came dressed as himself - obviously he realized he
qualified in both categories. And it's not stated which category
Tonya was supposed to be in either.
While on the topic of Trump, we see a chance for the new
President to rectify a longstanding injustice: when all the other
Olympians were invited to the White House in '94, the USFSA
"forgot" to send an invitation to Tonya - despite the fact that
President Clinton had previously voiced his support for Tonya
being treated as innocent until proven guilty. As the new
President has a well-known penchant for breaking with the
practices of his predecessors, it would be great if he'd finally
invite her and another way in which he can cement his anti-
Intriguingly, Sports Illustrated reported back in 1994 that
"sources close to Harding say that Donald Trump is interested in
'doing something with Tonya'". So it would not be the first
connection between the two:
And in light of the new President's reported trouble getting acts
to perform at his inauguration, perhaps in return the Golden
Blades could offer to re-form for the occasion of his second
inauguration ceremony in 2021?
VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:
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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