Winter 1968: Showbiz legend Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) arrives in London to perform in a sell-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in The Wizard Of Oz. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians, and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through.
But Judy is fragile. After working for 45 of her 47 years, she is exhausted; haunted by memories of a childhood lost to Hollywood; gripped by a desire to be back home with her kids. Will she have the strength to go on?
The role of Judy is played by Renee Zellweger, known for her starring role in Bridget Jones' Diary and its two sequels. She won the affection of audiences with her breakthrough role opposite Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Other notable film roles for Zellweger have included the dark comedy Nurse Betty, Me, Myself & Irene opposite Jim Carrey, the drama White Oleander, the romantic comedy Down With Love, and director Ron Howard’s Depression-era boxing drama Cinderella Man with Russell Crowe. She was Oscar-nominated for her role as Roxie Hart in Chicago, and later won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain.
Aedín Gormley, presenter of Movies and Musicals on RTÉ lyric fm, sat down with Renée and spoke to her about taking on this mammoth role of Judy Garland… capturing her singing voice, showing the human side of this icon, working with Irish actress Jessie Buckley, her response to the audience reaction at the Toronto premiere and her favourite Judy song...
Aedín also spoke to director of the film: Rupert Goold is Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre and was Associate Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2009 to 2012. He has twice been the recipient of the Olivier, Critics' Circle and Evening Standard awards for Best Director. As a freelance director Rupert has directed revivals, opera, musicals, new plays, farce, pantomime, youth theatre, installation work, comedy and Shakespeare (including two films) around the world including Oliver! (Theatre Royal Drury Lane).In 2015 Rupert's first feature film, True Story, starring James Franco and Jonah Hill for Plan B was released.
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Aedín spoke to Rupert Goold about directing Judy, the decision not to use Judy Garland’s singing voice and how they worked on Renée’s musical performances, Tom Edge’s screenplay, capturing Judy’s final concerts on screen, portraying the private and public side of the star and what he hopes audiences will take home from this film.
Movies & Musicals, RTÉ lyric fm, Saturday, 1 - 4pm - listen back here.