Renée Zellweger should put to rest any doubts about her portrayal of Judy Garland in the new biopic “Judy” with the film’s first trailer, in which she sings Garland’s most beloved song, “Over the Rainbow.”
Zellweger’s take on the classic ballad is noticeably world-weary and forlorn. It’s a fitting interpretation, given that “Judy” ― based on Peter Quilter’s play “End of the Rainbow” ― follows Garland’s sold-out 1968 run at the London nightclub Talk of the Town shortly before her death of an accidental drug overdose in June of the following year.
Directed by Rupert Goold, the film appears to feature a number of flashback sequences showcasing a younger Garland, around the time she catapulted to stardom as Dorothy Gale in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz,” forever securing her place in Hollywood history.
In addition to Zellweger, “Judy” stars Finn Wittrock as Garland’s fifth husband Mickey Deans, Rufus Sewell as her third husband Sid Luft, and Michael Gambon as her manager Bernard Delfont.
Zellweger, an Oscar winner for 2003’s “Cold Mountain,” told People in an interview this week that she spent two hours a day in the makeup chair getting prosthetics, contact lenses and wigs to look like Garland.
The “Bridget Jones’ Diary” star said she hopes the movie lends audiences a deeper understanding of Garland, who in spite of her countless stage and screen triumphs is seen by many as a tragic figure.
“When there’s a better understanding of what it takes for a person to continue under certain circumstances there is a level of empathy and respect that you can’t help but feel,” she said. “What she had to overcome in a time when women didn’t necessarily feel that they had power over their own lives in the way that we do today ... that stayed with me and I hope folks will be moved by that as well.”
Still, “Judy” will arrive with one major caveat: Garland’s daughter, Liza Minnelli (portrayed in the movie by Gemma-Leah Devereux), wrote on her official Facebook page that she does “not approve nor sanction” the film about her legendary mother “in any way.”
“Any reports to the contrary are 100% Fiction,” Minnelli added.
“Judy” is due out Sept. 27.