Renee Zellweger is no stranger to the idea of extreme and dramatic transformations for her craft. She infamously put her body through the motions three times to get into the psyche of an overweight thirty-something for Brigitte Jones’ Diary. Now, while she is back to he slender self once again, Renee traveled over the rainbow for her wildest transformation yet; for the upcoming Judy Garland biopic, dubbed Judy.
While Renee has been receiving rave reviews for her starring role in the biopic, she also looks unrecognizable. Once again, she went through an extreme transformation to prepare for the character. Since Judy Garland made her mark on the world of entertainment as an iconic singer and beloved performer, Renee also had big boots to fill in this movie. So let’s go behind the scenes and find out how exactly she masterfully transformed into the part.
Taking on Judy
The brand new biopic is set in 1968, which was a few months before Judy’s untimely death. The film, therefore, explores her character at a pivotal time in her life. At that time, Judy was already world-famous but going through a difficult time in her personal life. Still, she accepted a job in London, where she sang her heart out for numerous sold-out concerts.
However, as the movie shows, behind her musical mask and strong stage presence lies a fragile, funny, struggling and yet endearing character. And, while Renee has proved to all of us that she can sing and act before, especially after her stint in Chicago, this role took everything to the next level. For this movie, Renee had to channel Judy’s character, expressions, emotions, and distinctive voice, plus sing all of the timeless songs that made Judy famous.
When Renee first tackled the iconic role of Judy, she completed copious amounts of research. However, she admitted she found it difficult to uncover more about her private life and character. She said, “no one ever knew her other than a famous and beloved performer because she was 2-years-old when she stepped on the stage. So the public persona and human being were sort of synonymous.”
Nonetheless, Renee really brushed up on her research and every chance she got, she “went down the YouTube rabbit hole to see what’s available out there.” While she watched every possible clip of Judy on the internet, she was able to nail her expressions and character in more depth, to try and see Judy behind the stage mask.
Transforming into Judy
Once she had nailed her infamous character, Renee had to tackle her next task; learning how to sing like Judy. To prepare for this immense challenge, she said that she started singing along to Judy Garland songs in her car. Ultimately, Renee spent about a year perfecting Judy’s voice and stage presence, with the help of a composer and three vocal coaches.
Then to really get into the role, Renee also had to look the part. So she swapped her infamous blonde locks for a brown wig, wore dark contacts and reshaped her nose with the help of prosthetics. She then added veneers to try to mimic Garland’s infamous smile. Once her transformation was complete, Renee was free to live and breathe Judy. So far the biopic has been dubbed one of Renee’s best movies in her career, so only time will tell if her next Oscar is on the cards!