Renee Zellweger didn’t feel like she was playing a role when she portrayed Judy Garland in the upcoming biopic Judy.
In the movie, the Bridget Jones’s Diary star plays the iconic singer/actress during the final months of her life in the late 1960s, when she was hired to do a five-week run of performances at the Talk of the Town nightclub in London while battling alcohol and drug addiction.
At the film’s London premiere on Monday night, Renee told reporters that Garland didn’t feel like just another role to her because she immersed herself so completely in The Wizard of Oz star’s legacy.
“I didn’t feel like a role, it was just an exploration, you know,” she said. “(It was) an immersion into the legacy… that she left for all of us.”
Screenwriter Tom Edge, who adapted the musical stage production End of the Rainbow, studied archival footage of Garland to help write his screenplay and he believes Renee did a “remarkable job” capturing the icon. He also insisted that the 50-year-old deserves the Oscars buzz she’s receiving.
“The nicest thing about this whole process, has been watching the reviews come in for her,” he gushed to Cover Media. “She did so much work understanding her and working incredibly hard to learn Garland inside out and really get to know the heart and soul of her. But the performance she gives isn’t just an imitation of that. It feels to me something a lot deeper, with a lot more rawness to it. It’s kind of the meeting of a great actress with a great icon and I think the fact that she’s had so many plaudits for it is testament that she’s pulled off this little piece of alchemy.”
Judy, which also features Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, and Rufus Sewell, hits U.K. cinemas from 2 October.
© Cover Media