Despite what it may look like on Instagram set pictures, acting is really hard. You have to get into the headspace to really make things believable. So it’s not exactly mind-blowing to find out that Margot Robbie actually puncher her male co-star filming I, Tonya, the super intense about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this week. If you don’t remember who Tonya Harding is, you’re not alone (and likely pretty young, kudos). Robbie herself admitted that she didn’t know Harding was a real person either until she was asked to play the role. She learned quickly, obviously.
ICYMI: Harding was an Olympic figure skater, who was best known, unfortunately, for getting caught up in a plot allegedly hatched by her husband, Jeff Gillooly, and body guard Shawn Eckardt, to break Nancy Kerrigan’s knee before the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. (The guy they hired to do it, Shane Stant, just bruised Kerrigan, foiling the whole thing.)
Once she learned that Harding was, in fact, real, Robbie admitted that she might have gotten little too into character on the set of the film. Because Harding is more than just the punchline late night TV hosts turned her into, so there are scenein this new flick that dig into her personal life. Like ones that depict the violent and troubled relationship between Harding and her husband, played by Sebastian Stan. One day, Robbie was instructed to just go with it while filming one scene in which she and Stan are fighting as the IRL couple and the cops show up.
“We got so carried away that I genuinely forgot that we were on a film set and that I wasn’t Tonya and that he wasn’t Jeff,” she said at TIFF. Director Craig Gillespie apparently cut the scene because it got so rowdy.
“We got into, like a brawl, Robbie said.
It got so real that after Stan slammed her hand into a door, Robbie marched right off set. “I was just on the road in the real world,” Robbie recounted at the Q&A session. When Stan ran out to try and get her back on set, Robbie admitted that she straight up punched him on the side of the head.
With that kind of intensity, you know the movie is going to be a good one, even if you barely remember the Harding-Kerrigan headlines from back in the day. In fact, the film is supposed to be a kind of a black comedy and does its best to capture Harding as a “tragic hero,” according to Robbie. It might even make some viewers rethink the whole scandal, or whether or not Harding was the villain that she was made out to be way back then.
If anyone can do that, it’s Robbie. Though we hope she’s bought her co-star a round and apologized for slugging him.