Actress Renée Zellweger explained that she gained respect for entertainer Judy Garland after playing her in the upcoming biopic, Judy.
In an interview with People, the actress said that she read everything she could about the woman who is most known for playing Dorothy in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and gained a great deal of respect for her.
“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,” Zellweger 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,” the Academy-awarding winning actress said.
It reportedly took two hours for Zellweger to get made up for the role, which included putting on prosthetics and wearing contact lenses and wigs, an experience she told People was “very Zen.” Zellweger, 50, also took music lessons and studied choreography to prepare for the role.
The end result is what many people are calling a complete transformation.
Zellweger said the opportunity to play Garland was a “magical” experience, adding that it was a “joy” to learn about her.
“I always admired her. She was so quick and so funny. She could hit the ball back with the best of them.”
USA Today reported that Judy is set in the winter of 1968 after Garland arrived in London where she performed to sell-out crowds at the Talk of the Town nightclub.
Zellweger reportedly sings some of the entertainer’s best-known songs, including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
The film, directed by two-time Olivier award winner Rupert Goold, will take a behind-the-scenes look into Garland’s life, which includes the battles she had with her management team, the drama in her family, and her relationships with musicians and fans. The film will also focus on Garland’s relationship with musician Mickey Deans, whom she married several months before she died.
Garland was married five times and had three children — Liza Minnelli and Lorna and Joey Luft. Minnelli reportedly did not endorse the movie and did not work with Zellweger on her portrayal of Garland, Harper’s Bazaar reported. In a statement on Facebook, Minnelli also reportedly said she did not approve of the film.
The biopic opens on September 27.