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Golden Globe nominee Margot Robbie on the topical conversations in 'I, Tonya'

Margot Robbie arrives at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

JAY L. CLENDENIN, LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS

By MARK OLSEN | Los Angeles Times | Published: December 13, 2017

Nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance as figure skater Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya,” Margot Robbie talked to The Times Monday about the movie and the female-driven films of 2017.

Q: Where are you?

A: I’m here in L.A., I’m at home.

Q: Were you up this morning [Monday] to watch the nominations?

A: No, I was asleep. I woke up to do some prep before meetings this morning and my phone was blowing up, I had like 70 messages. And I thought, oh God, has the world ended? And then I opened them and saw everyone was saying congratulations.

Q: What do you think that people are responding to in the movie?

A: I don’t know, it’s not a traditional biopic, the script and the film really break the mold when it comes to what you expect to see in a film. And I think people appreciate that, it’s more refreshing and engaging that way.

There’s been an overwhelming response. We were doing a Q&A last night at the Dome, at the ArcLight, and it was completely packed and it was wild to realize that so many people were interested in our film.

Q: Considering your role as a producer, not just as an actor, that must feel even better.

A: Absolutely, when you produce a film you really devote years of your life to it. The idea of putting so much time and effort into something and no one even wanting to see it would be heartbreaking, so to have so many people not only want to see it but to respond so positively towards it is just the most incredible feeling.

Q: Why Tonya? What do you think it is about her story right now that’s connecting with people?

A: There are so many elements of the story and the script and our film specifically. It’s a very entertaining film, people get swept up in the ride of it, but there is also a bigger conversation there, about class in America, and the disenfranchised and media and how we consume it without question. And the idea of what a woman is supposed to be, what we’re told we have to be to fit in.

There’s just so many bigger conversations, that even when we were making it we didn’t realize would be so topical at the time. That right now it just all seems to have come to a head, both when the film comes out and with society reaching this point this year. I think it’s incredibly relevant, terrifyingly relevant, in fact, but also entertaining, which is all we want to do as filmmakers, is entertain and challenge an audience. If you can do both in the one film, then I think that’s something really special.

Q: People have talked about there being so many strong, female driven films this year, with “I, Tonya,” “Lady Bird,” “Wonder Woman,” “Molly’s Game” and others. What does that mean to you? What do you think when you see so many of these female-driven films doing well this year?

A: I’m thrilled, obviously. It’s funny, I’m not surprised, because I know so many brilliant women. Not just in this industry, I mean my friends back home are doing incredible things and just proving time and time again that women are so often underestimated and overlooked.

Everyone is really letting their voices be heard this year, and I think it’s fantastic. When you see Sofia Coppola win at Cannes, and you see ’Wonder Woman” smash the box office, it’s so encouraging for everyone who is really trying to let their voice be heard.

Q: “I, Tonya” is directed by a man, Craig Gillespie, and many people today are talking about the fact that there weren’t any women nominated for directing. So even when it seems things are advancing, you still bump up against some kind of ceiling.

A: There is still a long way to go and, of course, there’s always things I think we need to work on and do better as a society, as an industry, as individuals.

But we also really need to take the time to celebrate the wonderful achievements, and I think today is a day for celebrating.

Q: It must be exciting for you to see Allison Janney nominated as well.

A: It’s incredible. From the second I read this character, I thought she is going to smash it, and she did. She really did something spectacular with this character and working with her has honestly been one of the highlights of my career.

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© 2017 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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