Toe Pick! Bourne Legacy's Tony Gilroy (Fondly) Remembers His 1992 Olympic Skating Romance The Cutting Edge
Sure, he adapted the Bourne series, Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne, 2009’s State of Play, and earned Oscar nods for writing and directing his own politically-tinged thriller, Michael Clayton – but any chat with The Bourne Legacy co-writer/director Tony Gilroy would be remiss without discussing his very first screenplay, amirite? So without further ado, take a triple lutz down memory lane with Movieline and Gilroy as he recalls the joy of seeing his first produced script come to life. That’s right, lovers of Olympian sports sagas and ‘90s-era romance: we’re taking Gilroy back to The Cutting Edge.
Gilroy earned his first credit with the 1992 romantic dramedy, about a high maintenance figure skater (Moira Kelly) and an ex-hockey star (D.B. Sweeney) who reluctantly pair up to compete in the XVI Olympic Winter Games. Despite underperforming at the box office, The Cutting Edge was a ‘90s staple that went on to enjoy a popular home video/cable afterlife, like so many films of the decade; the opposites-attract Taming of the Shrew-on-ice set-up proved so rich that ABC Family resurrected the brand 14 years later, spawning three more sequels, and was memorably spoofed in the Will Ferrell vehicle Blades of Glory.
For most fans, the phrase “toe pick” vividly conjures the feisty chemistry between Kelly’s Kate Moseley and Sweeney’s Doug Dorsey. And though he subsequently launched full-bore into more heady, decidedly Tony Gilroy-esque terrain (2009’s Duplicity, perhaps, comes closest), Gilroy lit up when we brought up arguably his most cherished early work.
So, we've got to talk about The Cutting Edge, a movie I loved and watched more times over than I can recall.
Tony Gilroy: [Laughing] Were you a skater?
No, but I was a girl!
Gilroy: And there’s only one kiss in there! Talk about a chaste movie. All they get is one kiss at the end, in public. From that to this...?
I can still say “toe pick” and people know exactly what I’m talking about.
Gilroy: [Laughs] You’re making my day.
How did you go from an Olympics-themed skating romance to the politically-charged, character-driven complex dramas you went on to write and direct? Do you see any throughline there?
Gilroy: So many scripts! I always like to do something different, but I don’t know – it’s always the same, it’s always what’s right for the idea of the movie.
What possessed you to write a movie like this in the first place?
I’d written some very serious scripts before that, and I was so desperate to get a movie made that when I sat down with [producer] Robert Cort and he said, “You wrote this other movie and it’s this Preston Sturgess-esque kind of movie and I like the relationship between the two people, they’re always bickering — and I want to do a skating movie. Because every seven years there has to be a skating movie, and we’re due.”
I go, “A skating movie? Well, if I write this, will you get it made? Because I’m tired of writing movies that don’t get made.” He was in a really powerful position at Interscope and he’s a great guy. He said, “If you write this, I’m going to make this movie.” So I poured myself into it and did everything I could not to get fired and stay on, and it was tremendous fun.
Do you remember it fondly?
Oh my god, yes. Visiting the first production office where your movie’s going, and walking in realizing there are 60, 80 people going to work because you sat in a room... it’s just the coolest.
Stay tuned for the full Movieline interview with Tony Gilroy.