The very first image of Academy Award winner Renee Zellweger playing show business icon, actress and music legend Judy Garland was released today and she definitely looks the part. Principal photography began in London this morning and the film takes place in the 1960s. According to Variety, the film follows Garland in 1968 after arriving in London to perform a series of sold out concerts. The film also dives into the business aspect of Garland’s life as she battles with management and will also focus on her personal relationships with other musicians and fans on top of her own family drama. Unfortunately, Garland died just a year later in 1969 at only 47 years old due to a lifelong battle with drug addiction and alcoholism.
Garland is best known for her iconic starring turn as Dorothy in 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. She never won an Oscar for acting but received two nominations, for her performances in the 1955 film A Star Is Born and the 1962 film Judgement at Nuremberg. Garland won two Grammy awards in 1962 and was awarded six Grammy Hall of Fame Awards posthumously for her contributions to music. She is the mother of Oscar winning actress and Grammy award winning singer, Liza Minelli.
Renee Zellweger is no stranger to singing in films however. In 2002, she starred in the Best Picture Oscar winning film Chicago, based on the hit Broadway play. The following year, Zellweger went on to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the Civil War drama, Cold Mountain, opposite Nicole Kidman.
Rufus Sewell costars playing Sid Luft, Garland’s tour manager and producer as well as her third husband. The two divorced in 1965. American Horror Story alum Finn Wittrock plays Garland’s fifth and final husband, night club manager and musician Mickey Deans. The two were married for less than a year before Garland’s untimely death. Michael Gambon and Tabbo’s Jessie Buckley also costar.
Pathé will distribute the film internationally with BBC Films and Calamity Films producing. London’s Ingenious Media will also be producing. British stage director and Tony nominee Rupert Goold is directing Judy from a script by The Crown’s Tom Edge. No word yet on the film’s expected release date but an educational guess would pin-point it to a late 2019 release.
Enjoy the first look below and check back for further news on Judy.