The first image from the Judy Garland biopic Judy has been released online, offering a first look at Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger as the iconic performer. The film—which is now in production—hails from Tony-nominated director Rupert Goold, working from a script by Tom Edge (The Crown), and the film takes place in 1968 and revolves around then-47-year-old Garland’s sold-out run in London’s The Talk of the Town, where the fragile performer struggles to wow audiences as exhaustion and haunted memories creep up.
This is a smart approach for a Judy Garland biopic rather than trying to capture her entire life onscreen, as she had one of the more complex (and tragic) runs in cinema history. She would die in June 1969 of an overdose of barbituates, with some saying she died of plain exhaustion after years of being forced by studios to take drugs to keep up an insane pace, so this biopic will no doubt be a dramatic and heartbreaking look at Garland’s final months.
Zellweger is a swell choice to play the performer, and while we don’t know how her performance will play out, she clearly has the physical look right. She can also sing, as evidenced by her turn in the Best Picture winner Chicago, and Judy is poised to feature a number of songs including “Over the Rainbow.”
The cast for the film is filled out by Jessie Buckley (War and Peace), Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story), and Michael Gambon (Harry Potter), and while a release date is not yet set, it’s possible the film could be ready in time for the upcoming Oscar season, hitting theaters sometime towards the end of this year.
Check out the first image of Renee Zellwegger as Judy Garlad in Judy below.
Here’s the official synopsis for Judy:
Winter 1968 and showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in Swinging 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, but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown.
As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians, and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of romance seem undimmed as she embarks on a courtship with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband.
And yet 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?
Featuring some of her best-known songs, including the timeless classic ‘Over the Rainbow’, JUDY celebrates the voice, the capacity for love and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer”.