One of the most charming, lovely, and talented stars of our time; Renne Zellweger is back, and hotter than ever with her Oscar winning part with Actress in a Leading Role for “Judy,” about the legendary and iconic Judy Garland.
Directed by Rupert Goold
Screenplay by Tom Edge
Starring Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, and Michael Gambon
Winter 1968 and showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in Swinging London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in “The Wizard of Oz,” but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of love seem undimmed as she embarks on a whirlwind romance with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. Featuring some of her best-known songs, the film celebrates the voice, the capacity for love, and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.
Acclaimed director, Rupert Goold, a 2019 Tony Award nominee, commented: “I had always wanted to make a film that explores great performance and its cost. The most fertile ground for such exploration seemed to be at the end of a lifetime of performance. For over 40 years Judy Garland had laughed and loved and entertained no matter what life threw at her, and her public adored her for it. But she paid a price in a childhood lost to Hollywood, an emotional exhaustion and a yearning for a “normal” life beyond the rainbow. It is a powerful and moving story that I hope will inspire new audiences to discover Judy Garland’s joyous legacy.
I felt Renee was uniquely qualified to play Judy. First, because she is a great, Oscar-winning dramatic actress. Second, she is a wonderful comedienne. And third, I knew from CHICAGO that she could sing. I made it clear to Renee that I wasn’t looking for an impersonation of Judy Garland’s inimitable voice, but what I wanted was for Renee to make the songs her own and this she did to thrilling effect.”
Renne Zelleweger answered interviewers questions Backstage at the Oscars last night, with kindness, and charm. An excerpt follows here:
Q (…) What was it about Judy that connected you so closely by so in heart that you basically became her? I know you’ve done a lot of research, but was there anything else that you felt very close to with her that you were able to deliver such an incredible performance and become her, essentially?
Renne Zellweger: The only things that I would do by myself are sing in the car on the 405 in traffic, you know, for a year. So that was a lot of practice for anybody who’s tried to drive down the 405. But — and, you know, the reading and things, that was by myself.
But what you’re talking about, that connectivity, that was a consequence of everybody’s work on that set. Everybody was motivated by the same thing. We just appreciate the importance of her legacy and who she was as a person and we all wanted to celebrate her. And everyday we came to work and we just tried things, we just kept trying things.
And the director, Rupert Goold, called it “mining for treasure.” We were all digging around in sort of the materials of her legacy, her music, her books, interviews, her television show. You know, just everything that we could find that seemed essential in conjuring her essence to tell the story. And that was everybody’s work, you know. And it was, you know, the partnership with every single department throughout. And it really was a celebration. We just came to work every day. You could feel the love, the love for Ms. Garland, and that was what we had hoped, so — And I thank you for your question.
Q. How is this award different from the first one you won in 2004, and how have you changed as a person, as an actress?
Renne Zelwegger: Oh, my goodness, how much time do you have? Well, at that time, I think I was so busy that I wasn’t actually in the moment. I think I had just flown home from something for BRIDGET JONES two or something. It’s different, different perspective. I’m a little more present now. I think that the time away and the time in between has helped me to appreciate it in a different way. I just look at it in a different way, what it represents is a little bit different. And, obviously, this isn’t ultimately — you know, this is about this wanting to tell that story and to celebrate Judy Garland and to shine a light on, perhaps, the nuances of the circumstances of her life, which people dismiss as tragic. And, you know, the opportunity to tell a story that challenges that narrative and says, “Oh, no, no, no, no, you can’t know how extraordinary a person is until you know what they struggle with and what they overcome.” And, to me, that, you know, that’s what this is.
Text©2020 A.M.P.A.S.® provided with kind courtesy of A.M.P.A.S.®
Congratulations to HollyShorts and their founder Theo Dumont, whose members’ films “The Neighbors Window” and “Learning To Skateboard In A War Zone (If You’re A Girl)” won Best Short Live Action and Best Documentary Short at this year’s Academy Awards. HollyShorts has always been an amazing festival with great talent nurtured by a fantastic festival and kind and charming founder.
The 16th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival runs August 13-22, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
The movies are officially coming home to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures® as it opens to the public on December 14, 2020 at Wilshire and Fairfax.
©2020, The Hollywood Sentinel.