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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:


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 
will look?

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. 


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 
higher quality:

The Mail also reports she was spotted training in Brisbane in
Australia, where she married her partner Tom Ackerley a couple of
months ago:

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 
actually possess:

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:


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 
time machine:

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 
weren't there.

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 


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 


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.


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.


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 
Wheaties boxes:


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 
her life.

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.


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.


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-
establishment credentials.

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?


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