Actress Allison Janney said Sunday evening she thought notorious figure skater Tonya Harding got a “raw deal” when she was banned from the sport.
Janney was speaking to reporters backstage after winning a Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Harding’s abusive mother in “I, Tonya.”
Janney was a figure skater and said she understood the sacrifice and commitments parents make, waking up early morning after morning to drive to practice and competitions.
“I really feel like I understood that part of her life,” Janney said. “The abuse part was not easy to understand.”
The actress said it was “terrifying” to see how Harding was treated. “Just horrid abuse.”
But she shared “a little secret” about how she found her way into her role of an abusive mother, saying she channeled her own inner critic.
“I’ve been that mean to myself. I think we all have,” Janney said. “I liked finding the humanity in even this woman.”
As for Harding herself, “I think she did get a raw deal,” Janney said. “I just have … empathy for her, growing up with a mother like her … not being embraced for who she was and not fitting in.”
The actress said she thought audiences might come away from the film feeling the same way.
Asked about the broader issue of abuse and sexual harassment, Janney said it was “a watershed moment.”
She acknowledged “gray areas” in the conversation about harassment, despite those on both sides who seem to see things only in black and white, but said certain allegations “are undeniable.”
She suggested “a new national safe word, which is `I’m uncomfortable.”‘
Janney went to the Women’s March Saturday and had a prediction.
“I think that we’re going to see a really mobilized population come the midterms,” Janney said, adding she was hoping to “get back to the America that I thought was great.”
–City News Service
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