I, Tonya will be out in just one month, making now the perfect time to dig back deep into the hairspray-drenched archives of all the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding media produced in the mid-early ’90s. Lo, there’s some really good stuff in there.
Vanity Fair has resurrected this absolute gem of a Campbell Soup commercial from 1993, co-created by none other than I Tonya director Craig Gillespie. In it, a pert and neatly-groomed Kerrigan alternately sips chicken soup from her spoon and twirls around on the ice, her hair expertly slicked and her face filled with the serenity of a well-mannered snow queen, despite the team of male hockey players leering from the sidelines.
“In her quest for a gold, world class skater Nancy Kerrigan always eats plenty of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup,” the narrator says, adding something about its energizing properties and blah, blah, sure Kevin, whatever you say.
But then it gets weird?
“In fact, it helps give her so much energy, she’s thinking of pursuing some other sports, too,” the narrator says as Nancy lands a jump, grinning. Then smile falls from her face; she drops her shoulder and body checks one of the smirking hockey dudes, sending him sailing across the ice and into the boards. The rest of the hockey dudes are like “OH SHIT, OKAY,” and move the hell out of her way. What? What does this have to do with soup? Is the sport she’s pursuing “Unexpectedly Beating Up Men?” Is this a prescient foretelling of the attack on her?! None of these questions are addressed in the commercial.
Gillepsie, who spent eight years in advertising before shifting to features, has a history of using violence to promote food products, like this 2011 Snickers ad in which Betty White gets thrown in the mud during a football game. But hey, it’s a system that works, and I, Tonya is nothing if not a film about violence where it typically doesn’t exist. It’s out December 8. I truly can’t wait.