EXCLUSIVE: From ‘I, Tonya’ to awards season: Acclaimed BAFTA Award Winning Actress Allison Janney talks playing her first villain
From 'I, Tonya' to awards season: Allison Janney pauses for thought on an ‘extraordinary' 12 months, in an exclusive interview with HuffPost UK today.
In her ‘I, Tonya’ character, LaVona Golden, the actress has her “first villain”. As many of Allison’s on-screen alter-egos are, LaVona - the mother of figure-skater Tonya Harding - is a complex character.
When the idea for the film came together, I, Tonya’s producers soon located the ex-Olympian, who was happy to share her side of the story, but LaVona had disappeared without a trace in the late 1990s. Her own daughter was ambivalent to whether she was dead or alive. Rather than complicating things, Allison insists this made her job easier as she - to use her own, diplomatic, wording - “just assumed that she wasn’t here with us anymore”.
“I took that off my plate,” she says. “I thought, ‘Well, I guess that takes the onus off me’. I won’t feel as responsible or as bad about portraying the darker side of her."
In January 2018, it was time for another twist in the completely bizarre story of Tonya Harding when the real LaVona emerged, alive and well (living under a different name to avoid detection). Allison isn’t in a rush to contact her - “I don’t know if she’s seen the film but I don’t think I want to meet her at this point” - however, she has thought about what she would say if she did.
“I would have asked her, ‘Why all the different marriages?’,” she says. “I would want her to tell me about her marriages and I would want her to tell me about what her childhood was like, what her father, what her mother did.”
Given everything she’s learnt while playing her, Allison isn’t optimistic enough to think LaVona would be completely honest.
“I don’t know that she would tell me the whole truth,” she says. “A lot of people aren’t that honest about what they go through in life, I think."
You can read the full interview on HuffPost UK here.
I, TONYA IS OUT NOW