Renée Zellweger has always been curious about Judy Garland's life, so when the opportunity to portray the film icon on the big screen, she couldn't pass it up.
Zellweger not only plays the Wizard of Oz star, she also sings many of the icon's songs in the film. The Bridget Jones's Diary actress had to do research on Garland's life, take music lessons and learn choreography to successfully play the difficult part.
“It was such a joy learning about the magnificence of this person,” Zellweger told People. “I always admired her. She was so quick and so funny. She could hit the ball back with the best of them.
In a recent interview, she revealed that it took two hours a day transform into Garland. This involved spending time in a makeup chair to get fitted with prosthetics, contact lenses and wigs.
Her efforts are starting to pay off as she's now a contender for an Oscar. The movie is also creating a buzz in the festival circuit. It is set to shown at Telluride and at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The film explores the final year of the troubled star's life. Thirty years after her iconic role as Dorothy, Garland stages a comeback with a residency at Talk of the Town nightclub in London in 1968.
The decision to move across the pond was motivated by her financial and relationship troubles and risk of losing her children. Garland performed several sold-out concerts while struggling with addiction and a slew of health issues.
She died the following year shortly after the tour wrapped up. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose. She was 47.
In addition to Zellweger, the film stars Rufus Sewell as Garland's third husband Sid Luft, Finn Wittrock as her fifth husband Mickey Deans, Michael Gambon as her manager Bernard Delfont, Bella Ramsey as daughter Lorna Luft and Gemma-Leah Devereux as her daughter Liza Minnelli.
Judy hits theatres on September 27, but you can get a taste of Zellweger as Garland by listening to her rendition of "Somewhere over the rainbow."
"I’d listen to her music every day," Zellweger, who spent two years . preparing for the role, told Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye. "I’d watch footage of her before I went to bed. She was always there, always present. I had to get myself into Judy’s environment: her voice, her speech patterns, the moments of vulnerability in her life that make you cry."