For a woman electrified in the spotlight, Judy Garland's mood behind the scenes can be bleak. In the middle of Judy, set in 1968 during an irregular London residence, the singer (Renée Zellweger) falls on a makeup table and asks with blurred black tears, "What if I can't do it again?"
Fortunately, Jeremy Woodhead, the film's hair and makeup designer, was ready to clean those hand-painted mascara strips for a new look. While Zellweger's performance arouses deep emotions, continuity has required prestige for striped makeup, says Woodhead: "It's easier to try to control it."
This tension between vulnerability and technical precision has made Garland a fascinating star. It is also central to Zellweger's interpretation – elastic but well orchestrated, from clawed teeth to theatrical gestures coined in MGM musicals. Still, the first person director Rupert Goold had to convince about the cast was Zellweger herself. "I thought they were a little crazy!" Says the 50-year-old blonde, who didn't consider herself the brown-haired Hollywood legend. But Goold was attracted to a "common man" quality in Zellweger's early roles. And her recent absence on screen – along with the tabloids – being irreverent with the fact that she doesn't look like when she did Jerry Maguire, "adds the director – resonated with him." This patina in Renee is also very interesting in Judy. I wanted to feel both the actor and the performance. ”
Early makeup tests used a complete facial prosthetics kit to make Zellweger's delicate bone structure more like Garland's strongest features, but only Judy's nose remained ("lost when we're done!", Jokes Zellweger). The rest were Woodhead's "cheats", including eyeliner. "Anyone who has probably taken a martinis may not apply it perfectly," he says.
If imitation is a trap of any biography, the key was an interpretation of the mind: Judy at most Judy. A spicier wig lent "a slight Elvisy quality," says Goold; brown contact lenses with magnified irises evoked Garland's gaze. But the antics on the set were by Zellweger. Goold remembers how she put the facets in half and “showed them before romantic scenes, like Shrek.” – Laura Regensdorf
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