Lip-synching can be an option when a celebrated Hollywood star is playing a famous entertainer in a biopic. Lou Diamond Phillips masterfully faked it back in LA BAMBA, the prime example of an actor bluffing it for a role.
Renée Zellweger, however, was told she couldn't fake it when portraying legendary performer Judy Garland in the upcoming JUDY. For starters, the CHICAGO and JERRY MAGUIRE star has an impressive voice. Additionally, lip-synching would have defeated the authenticity that JUDY director Rupert Goold needed for his planned biopic.
“I think on camera it’s important to capture the truth of the performer, the literal physical exertion of performing,” Goold recently told The Wrap in an interview. “I’ve seen the sweat that pours off the performer on stage…the way the sinews move on the neck… it’s a very gladiatorial state of mind that they are in. I’m sure there’s a way to capture that with someone else’s music, but I felt it was going to be more visceral live.”
Renée Zellweger’s performances in JUDY have been advertised as the main reason to check out Rupert Goold’s picture, which catches up with Judy Garland in the final, tragic moments of her life and career. Broke and out of legitimate options, Garland agrees to perform a series of concerts in the U.K. This permits Zellweger to belt out most of Garland’s signature tunes, and her version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from THE WIZARD OF OZ has been drawing sobs from preview audiences.
In the same The Wrap interview, Zellweger commented that she was stunned to learn how far Judy Garland had fallen by this point of her career.
“It never occurred to me that a person who had been working for such a long time at that level could possibly face financial challenges,” Zellweger said. “I didn’t know she started singing at 2, I didn’t know she was medicated in prepubesence, and I didn’t appreciate what the physical implications of that consumption of amphetamines had on the body after such a long period of time. All of those things are devastating for a vocal performer as I’ve come to understand it, and look what she did anyway!”
Renée Zellweger’s approach to Judy Garland is earning raves for JUDY, making her a front-runner in the still-developing Oscar® race. Fans of the legendary Hollywood performer, as well as those interested in seeing Zellweger’s own Hollywood comeback, will want to be front and center for JUDY, which also co-stars Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Finn Wittrock and Jessie Buckley.
Look for JUDY when it opens in theatres on September 27.