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Renee Zellweger will be back in a moment

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – "We will start the interview at one point," I insisted to Renee Zellweger.

"No, no," she said.

It was mid -August, and I went to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to ask Zelweger about "Judy", the new drama that introduced her as Judy Garland in the last year of her life as an actress singer it was down and out. It's a transformative role, played with such great pleasure that 50-year-old Zellweig will hardly win the Oscar for Best Actress, a major coup, given her recent six-year screen break.

But it took us a while to get to all of this. First, the question was to participate in Zelweger's interview in the first place: As the publicist continued to send me emails to press her arrival, our lunch date was approaching happy hour. I was wondering if Zellweger, who used to be in the media, might be late.

For about two hours in the hotel lobby, I watched a series of well-dressed women and undressed men get off the elevator, and then Zellweger appeared, small and unnoticeable in training clothes, her blond hair tucked away under a tired Longhorns Texan ball. "Thank you for sticking," she said shyly.

Zellweger told me that he was adapting to the schedule of the stars, including a photo shoot, endless clothing, film festivals, and our interview. If Judy goes the distance this awards season, she'll have to talk a lot about herself – and that's good, he supposes, but isn't it more fun to talk about something else?

I think that's why she got into a bit of a conversation offered while we were walking to the restaurant: My boyfriend had gotten off that morning and we were about to start a long distance relationship. Suddenly Zellweger made me worry: what did he do with his food, how long did we meet and was it not Rilke who once said that love was the guardian of each other's privacy?

"That is going to be okay it's good, I know it!", She said in a squeaky, Texas-accented voice, now so decisive that she brings to mind old-fashioned words like "plucking" and "moxie" . "Forget all the fears I might have, she told me: " People are cynical and will say this thing doesn't work and I totally disagree . Check out Kira Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon to cry aloud! ”

S he said that distance will teach us to never take for granted and recommended meditation and frequent sessions on FaceTim e. Everything was so overwhelming that after 20 minutes of persistently offered advice, I had to remind Zellweger that today she was the one who had to answer questions.

Her face fell a little. “First, are you hungry?” She asked, opening the cool menu. "You must be, my dear." The waiter came and Zellweger ordered for me, "He'll have a triple martini," she said, bowing.

ABOVE ZELLUEGER REJECTS Interview herself, she began to enjoy herself. Judy did the same thing: Director Rupert Gold carefully directed Zelveger to the project, realizing that the early proposal might be too daunting. "Someone asked me when you knew at the time that you were inside," Zellweger told me. "And I Don't Think He Ever Arrived!"

Her script was sent in 2017. "At first, I didn't understand why they thought of me about it," Zellweger said. The movie will require a lot of live singing because it follows Garland's almost exhausted character as she accepts a five-week engagement to rotate in a London nightclub and although she won an Oscar nomination for the Chicago musical, Zellwehr doesn't

But Gould thinks that the vulnerability that Zellweger shows in 1945, Jerry Maguire, and the slack that won her the Oscar for "Cold Mountain", made her right for the role.

"Garland had such an incredible emotional immediacy," Gould told me "You feel that you are getting a spirit that has this innate innocence and hope in it, and I wanted someone who had such a fragility." He also said of Zellweger's own Hollywood experience of reviewing romances and tabloid speculation about cosmetic surgery could help inform a leading character who has to constantly deal with harmful rumors.

So Zelueger began to investigate. As Gold insists that her lips be out of sync, she booked studio time and hired a singing coach to check if Garland's distinctive vocal styles were nearby. He works with a choreographer and costume to channel Garland's lost and nailed posture. And she went down the rabbit hole, reading biographies, watching old videos and scanning Garland fan forums for any useful details.

But whenever Zellwehr gets to tell me about these things for too long, she becomes self-aware. "How is this job? What fun! "She says again and again.

The most dramatic sequences in Judy come whenever Garland is forced to sing, despite a voice ravaged by time and addiction. Gold leaned against this tension: "I told Renee:" I will structure the script so that it is built not only to "Can Judy Garland give what she needs at this moment?" But also "Can Renee Zellweger? ""

She performs these numbers live in front of an audience, and Zelueger remembers the scenes now with excitement from someone who went with parachutists and did not die . "I was delighted. I was so tall. Talk about things you've never done before! ", She said. "I didn't allow myself to think about it too much – it was in the back of my mind, horrifying, and I kept pushing it back, back, back. Fortunately, it was such a whirlwind that I didn't have time to pause and think, "I prefer not to do this thing tomorrow."

Still, Zellweger has become cautious of cautious projects that ask her to take too much , without time to properly metabolize everything. Garland was operated by a Hollywood machine that rarely allowed her to rest, and Zellweger said she understood what it was to get "to a certain place where you just don't know if your skin is thick enough, and then I have to go anyway. "

"Where is Renee?" I heard a publicist ask. "Does anyone have eyes for her?"

Finally it was confirmed: Renee I was going to walk into the building very intentionally walking up the stairs in a dusty blue dress and white sky heels, made by two representatives, she was lost in focus, as if she wanted to enter the first of many parties this season where would be the spotlight.

Then she looked up and screamed. "I'm so excited to see you again!" She said, and rushed up the stairs to fuck me with questions. Would I see my boyfriend soon? Oh, next week? How wonderful! "This is a very special time for him," she told a publicist.

The publicist tried to introduce her to the party while I asked her about standing ovations. Zellweather stubbornly resisted both of us.

"I heard the premiere was amazing," I said.

"It's not as amazing as you see your boyfriend next week!"

Keep going until you couldn't. After all the work she had put into this role, she had just received a three-minute standing ovation. How did that feel?

"I don't know how to take it," she said at last.

How to Accept What? That kind of adoration?

"Yes," she said, squinting at her face. "How about that? "Congratulations on being lucky?"

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