This is why Margot Robbie didn’t want to meet Tonya Harding before playing her in “I, Tonya”

In 1994, U.S. Olympic Figure Skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked just weeks before the Olympics in a bizarre plot to remove her from the competition. As was quickly revealed, this was planned, in part, by the husband of Kerrigan rival-slash-teammate Tonya Harding. The scandal is now the subject of colorful new biopic I, Tonya, which stars Margot Robbie as the infamous skater.

Robbie didn’t want to meet Harding until after she’d already completed filming, though, and she has a good reason why.

Basically, Robbie didn’t want her opinions of Harding to interfere with her performance. So instead, Robbie studied footage of interviews, performances, and more to get an idea of how Harding presented herself.

“I knew that if I met her and liked her I would never play this character properly," Robbie told Variety. "I would be sugar-coating her flaws. I would be trying to justify the bad things she might say or do in a situation. I didn’t want to do that because I’m a people-pleaser and I know it.

"To meet her, I didn’t want it to feel like research and change any of the decisions I had already made. I met her pretty much just so I could say, ‘Hi I’m playing a character and I want you to know there’s a difference in my mind between the character I’m playing and you.'

I, Tonya is based on the true story, but is still somewhat fictionalized. After all, it’s a movie, not a documentary.

Even so, the true story is surprising, to say the least.

I, Tonya skates into theaters December 8th. Sparkly outfits and big scrunchies recommended, but not required.

Filed Under