Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger (Cold Mountain) is aiming to make a career comeback and she’s doing it playing one of the most legendary performers of all time – Judy Garland.
In the winter of 1968, showbiz legend Judy Garland arrived 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 pizazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.”
Director Rupert Goold, a 2019 Tony Award nominee (Direction of a Play for Ink) had this say: “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.”
In the trailer, which clocks in at only about a minute, there is no dialogue to be heard, just the familiar strains of Garland’s most well-known song, “Over the Rainbow,” from The Wizard of Oz. Played over her multiple performances, her relationships and her children – Liza, Lorna and Joey and a brief glimpse of young Judy. Zellweger does her own singing in the film, as she did in her Oscar-nominated turn in Chicago.
Judy is directed by Rupert Goold from a screenplay by Tom Edge based on the stage play.
It co-stars Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, Bella Ramsey and Michael Gambon.
Roadside Attractions and LD Entertainment will release Judy in theaters September 27, 2019.