Cordele TV man plays paparazzi in "I, Tonya"
Three years before figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked during practice, Tonya Harding would win the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championship in east central Minnesota.
Cole Edwards, a 24-year-old from Cordele, wasn’t yet born.
However, he was there Wednesday at the Macon Coliseum, pretending to take pictures with a big, flashy camera during a re-enactment of Harding’s win for the filming of “I, Tonya.”
Set to hit theaters in 2018, the biopic focuses on Harding, who in 1994 pleaded guilty to hindering the investigation into Kerrigan’s attack, was stripped of her medals and banned for life from competitive skating in the U.S. The investigation found that Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, had hired a hit man to attack Kerrigan.
Harding is played by Margot Robbie, an Australian actress who starred in “The Wolf of Wall Street” in 2013.
Edwards, clad in a brown suit inside the chilly arena, was cast as paparazzi after answering a casting call a couple of weeks ago.
“This is my first (movie),” said Edwards, who works for a TV station in Cordele. “I’ve applied to two or three that have come to Macon over the years, and I’ve either been too young before or haven’t heard anything back from them.”
On Monday, Edwards said he was tasked with having to turn and look at Robbie with a surprised expression each time she entered the rink.
“It was very challenging to act excited over and over and over about 10 times in and not lose the momentum,” he said. “I have a new appreciation for what actors and actresses do to keep it up.”
Mike Seekins, owner of Biscuits, Burgers and More, said he was set to cater a snack for the cast and crew on Thursday; however, producers called Wednesday and canceled.
“Evidently, there was an injury of some sort,” Seekins said. “It was a low-budget movie to begin with. ... I’m not sure of the exact details.”
Seekins said he hadn’t started to prepare for the catering job, so the cancellation wasn’t a loss.
“The guys got my name and number ... and said he’d keep it if he ever comes to town again,” Seekins said. “So, it was a good connection, actually.”
The Macon Coliseum, which opened in 1968, had been promoted by the Macon Film Commission as a filming location.
Edwards said being an extra is no easy work and the hours are long, but he’s been grateful for the experience.
“It’s been really crazy,” Edwards said. “I’m definitely going to start watching movies in different ways now.”