Judy Garland’s former assistant stunned by new biopic

Judy Garland’s one-time assistant Rosalyn Wilder has heaped praise on actress Jessie Buckley for nailing her character in the new biopic Judy.Producers tracked down Wilder, who was tasked with looking after the frail and insecure The Wizard of Oz star …

Judy Garland’s one-time assistant Rosalyn Wilder has heaped praise on actress Jessie Buckley for nailing her character in the new biopic Judy.

Producers tracked down Wilder, who was tasked with looking after the frail and insecure The Wizard of Oz star during her 1968 London residency in the months before she died, via a fanzine and asked her if she’d like to serve as a consultant on the new movie. Wilder agreed but had no idea she’d literally be coming face-to-face with her younger self on set.

“I saw Jessie and went, ‘Oh my goodness, there I am!'” she said in the film’s production notes. “Fortunately, Jessie is just amazing. She’s just extraordinary, she’s marvellous and I’m absolutely thrilled to pieces that she’s doing it.”

And the Wild Rose star was grateful to have Wilder there to guide her.

“It was a real gift to have her,” the actress explained. “The first time we met up for a cup of tea I just wanted to dig into as much of her experience and look for little nuances. She has the most immaculate nails in the world, so I immediately went out and bought some nail varnish!”

Meanwhile, Wilder also insisted Renee Zellweger nailed her role as Garland in the film, adding, “My first impressions of Judy Garland were that she was extremely tiny, very fragile, and rather quiet and that somehow one wanted to protect her. She wanted to be able to talk to you and to trust you.

“People are either stars or they’re not. People either walk in to a room and they’re important and you know they’re the centre of attention, or they’re not. Judy Garland was.

“Renee Zellweger has this unique ability to turn herself into whoever it is she’s asked to be. When I saw how the make-up and the dress transformed her, I was absolutely stunned. I had never seen such a transformation in my life. It was almost impossible to believe.”

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Renee Zellweger becomes Judy Garland in stunning first image from biopic

Renee Zellweger has been transformed into Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland for a new biopic. The Bridget Jones’s Diary star will portray the legendary singer and actress three decades after the Wizard of Oz lit up movie screens, as Garland prepares for …

Renee Zellweger has been transformed into Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland for a new biopic.

The Bridget Jones’s Diary star will portray the legendary singer and actress three decades after the Wizard of Oz lit up movie screens, as Garland prepares for a sold-out run of shows at London’s The Talk of the Town nightclub in 1969.

The new movie, directed by Tony Award nominee Rupert Goold, will also chronicle the tragic star’s demons at the end of her life.

In the first eerie image of Zellweger as Judy, which was released online on Monday (19Mar18), the actress sports Garland’s famous brunette pixie cut and a black, off-the-shoulder floral dress as she sings into a microphone.

The film won’t be the first time Renee has showed off her singing skills – she scored an Oscar nod for her role as Roxie Hart in the 2002 movie musical Chicago, and performed with Ewan McGregor on the soundtrack for their 2003 film Down With Love. She also sang folk classic This Land is Your Land in the movie My Own Love Song.

A caption to the photo, posted on the biopic’s official Twitter account, reads: “#Judy starts principal photography in London today, starring Academy Award winner, Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland!”

The project also stars Rufus Sewell as Garland’s then-ex-husband Sidney Luft, Michael Gambon, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, and Bella Ramsey and Gemma-Leah Devereux as the singer’s daughters Lorna Luft and Liza Minnelli.

Wittrock will play Judy’s fifth husband, Mickey Deans, to whom the screen and stage star was married when she died from an accidental overdose of barbiturates in 1969, aged 47. It was Deans who found her unresponsive in the bathroom of their London home.

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