Margot Robbie on I, Tonya story: I thought it was a work of fiction
Aussie actress Margot Robbie talks about playing Tonya Harding and sharing the figure skater's story in I, Tonya
US figure skater Tonya Harding should have been America's sweetheart, the way all exceptionally talented, young and pretty athletes tend to become.
Coming from a dirt-poor background and a broken family, she managed to skate her way to the Olympics, being the first American woman to successfully perform the difficult triple axel in competition.
Her promising career came to an abrupt end when she was involved in one of the most notorious sports scandals of all time.
In 1994, her ex-husband orchestrated an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. She ultimately pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution, causing her to be banned for life from the US Figure Skating Association.
The new biographical black comedy I, Tonya, opening here tomorrow, chronicles it all.
Its producer and star, Australian actress Margot Robbie, did not know anything about the story when she got the script and thought it was fiction.
The 27-year-old said at our interview in the Four Seasons hotel at Beverly Hills: "I had never heard of these people, and I knew nothing about the figure skating world. I thought it was just a bizarre, peculiar, outrageous work of fiction. To find out that it was true made me want to do it a hundred times more."
In a mockumentary-style format, addressing the audience directly from time to time, the characters of Harding (Robbie) and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) present their version of the facts.
Suffice to say, neither agrees with the other on any level except for the fact that her mother LaVona (Allison Janney) was a brute.
The real Harding, now 47, was not involved in the production and did not visit the set.
But Robbie said she was "quite grateful we showed her story in a way that people hadn't seen before", adding: "This isn't meant to be a traditional biopic, and it isn't us saying she is a victim or hero.
"We were just trying to say that she is a person, and you are going to see the good side and the bad side of that.
"There are things that she watched that she would disagree with, especially when you are hearing Jeff's version of events. She definitely disagrees with those moments. But I think that argument is going to go on until the end of time."
Robbie had never ice-skated seriously, so there was a lot of intensive training for her to be ready for I, Tonya.
She said: "I underestimated how difficult it is as a sport.
"It gave me such respect and admiration for figure skaters in general, but particularly for what Tonya did, landing a triple axel, which I now understand is a humongous feat of athleticism.
"We did not really appreciate that until it came time to shooting it, and we couldn't even get a stunt double to do the triple axel.
" I think there have been (only) six women since Tonya (who) did it in the last 20 years."
Robbie said: "When I met Tonya, I asked her to tell me her training regimen, because I was going to do exactly that. She spoke a lot about core strength and just do hundreds of sit-ups.
"And I was like 'okay, I am doing a lot of sit-ups, but I cannot get my legs as strong as yours'. And she was like, 'I have been doing it since I was two '."
What Robbie admires about Harding is that she never presented herself as a victim.
"To me, she seemed like a very resilient woman. I think you would have to be, to reach this point in her life having gone through what she has gone through. She is tough."
But she does think Harding was a victim of the media.
"They had to sum it up in one headline, and then the world remembered that and forgot everything else, and they never considered that there was more to her story.
"She was labelled a monster, and she is not. She is a person, and that is all we really wanted to show in the movie. She is a person, and you can't sum up someone in a five-second sound bite."
Robbie's husband, British assistant director Tom Ackerley, whom she married in December 2016, is also a producer on the film.
They were roommates before they started dating, and there are no arguments in their household.
"We don't really fight. I know that sounds weird. We are not people who like conflict, and we don't really need to yell at each other to know that we love each other.
"So it is pretty chill in our house. Not even us both being producers on this film made us have a fight."
The biggest challenge for Robbie, however, was switching off at the end of the day.
"It is not a nine-to-five job. It is around the clock. We finished shooting in March, and the producing job is not over and it won't be over for months and months yet. It goes right into post-production and then the marketing and distribution."
Her biggest indulgence would be "a really, really long sleep".
"I just want one 14-hour sleep. I am always worried about wasting time so I always set my alarm early and get up and get things done."
Robbie's efforts have paid off in a big way this awards season.
I, Tonya was nominated for three Oscars - Best Actress for Robbie, Best Supporting Actress for Janney (who has already won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for her performance) and Best Editing.