A new biopic about Hollywood legend Judy Garland is in the works, with Bridget Jones star Renée Zellweger set to play the lead role.
Rather than tell the story of the whole of Judy’s life, however, Variety reports that Judy will focus on her tumultuous final year, when she traveled to London to perform what would turn out to be her final concerts in 1969.
Set nearly 30 years after The Wizard of Oz made her an international movie star, the biopic will follow Judy as she prepares for her sold-out shows at The Talk of the Town nightclub, where she sang classics such as “Over the Rainbow” and “The Trolley Song.”
A biopic wouldn’t be a biopic without a certain degree of tragedy, of course, and Judy’s life offered it in spades. Behind the scenes of the show, she reportedly fought with management, feeling overworked after a lifetime spent in show business and missed her children terribly, even contemplating walking away from the stage altogether. At the same time she met entrepreneur and musician Mickey Deans, whom she married a few months later.
It’s been written by The Crown and Strike writer Tom Edge, and will be helmed by Tony nominee and two-time Olivier winner Rupert Goold, who recently directed the late Tim Pigott-Smith in King Charles III.
So can Renée pull off playing such an iconic figure? It’s expected to have some pushback from ardent fans, but we’d like to take a step back to the other time Renée’s casting raised more than a few eyebrows. That was way back in 2001, when she first took on the role of that other female icon, Bridget Jones. Back then, ol’ Bridge was considered so quintessentially British, it was unimaginable that an American could play her on the big screen. Fast forward 16 years, of course, and we couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role.
Perhaps the same will happen as soon as we see her in this one.
Judy will start filming in February 2018, with a theatrical release expected some time in 2019.
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