Why Renée Zellweger Singing ‘Over The Rainbow’ in ‘Judy’ Was Crucial to The Film | TIFF

– Who is the least likely to flub a line? Well, we know who that’s not. (laughing) The girls who play the feather girls, we had these rehearsal sessions, and they were telling the story about Clang, Clang,
Clang Went The Trolley, and that the person who
was singing the song in the show forgot the words to Clang, Clang, Clang Went The Trolley and ding, ding, ding went the bell, piss, piss, piss went the pistons. (laughing)
– Wow. It’s a pretty good thing
to just improvise them at the moment. – It’s colorful. (laughing) (light music) – So, our movie, Judy, is about the one and only Judy Garland. It’s mostly about a set
of concerts she gives, extraordinary set of concerts, she gives in London towards
the very end of her life. But it also touches on the
beginning of her career with Wizard of Oz. – It felt like a collaborative experience from the beginning, and
it was all of us together. And it felt like it was a, Rupert called it mining for treasure, and it felt like it was
perpetually in motion. It was always moving and
we were always digging and looking for things, and the materials of her legacy were
surrounding us all the time. There was her music and her
voice and the audio recordings, and we were looking at
video footage all the time and reading the books and biographies and the autobiographies of the people who knew
her best, her family. You know, and suddenly it sort of, I don’t know, the presence of this person felt very
much alive around us, in all of its manifestations in how she looked at these
different times in her life and her clothing and again, like you said, her physical language, both
in performance and not, and it just became familiar. It became familiar with
the repeated exposure to all of the materials. – [Interviewer] And you also never stopped in between takes, and on
set, I know, Finn, you said that she stayed in character, and you didn’t actually
see Renee Zellweger until later on through the process. Can you tell– – ‘Til right now, actually. Yeah, hi, I’m Finn, hi. Nice to meet you. Yeah, it was very cool
to be part the process and to see you inhabit her, but also it didn’t feel
like a struggle ever or like Renee was never like, I’m gonna go into my dark
corner and become Judy and I’ll see you in an hour, you know. It was like we were always
kind of immersed in it, and we were always kind
of finding it together, and I felt very welcomed. You know, it could have
been, I could’ve been some cog in this tour
de force performance, but I didn’t feel like that. It felt like we were
making a movie as a group, and that’s what I think
kind of makes the movie more than just your average biopic, which is like I was born here,
and I grew up here and then we’re like honing in very very
intensely on this one chapter of her life, and to kind
of be able to shed all of the other stuff and know that the rest of life has happened and
have that as your research but then be able to really
fine tune the moments of this exact time in her life. I mean, to be a part of that was, I think, a very unique thing. – [Interviewer] That was well said. And this is also not an average
biopic because, you know, it’s one thing step in
the shoes of Judy Garland, but to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow is also a really ambitious move. What did you do? How did you do that and pull
it off in the way that you did? – All that was Rupert, because if could’ve gotten
out of it, I would’ve. He explained it really
beautifully about performance and the connection that
Judy had with her audience and how he felt like this story
and this moment illuminates a lot about the cost of performance and what that relationship
that Judy had specifically with her audience was
about, what it meant to her. So I understood and
appreciated what it was that he was trying to capture. And that song in particular,
when he talks about it, and he should ’cause he
speaks of it so beautifully, about how it speaks to all
of us in a different way and how we have nostalgic feelings from childhood attached to that song and the meaning of it
and the hopefulness in it and how throughout Judy’s
life, it came to mean something and represent something different as she weathered life’s
challenges and struggles. And to me, that moment is
sort of like the culmination of her experiences until that point, and when you consider what’s happening in her life at that time, and that she still maintains that hope, it’s just of a different color. Hearing those words and that
music again in that context, to me, is just so deeply moving and that she still has ownership of it but in a different way, and then you come to
understand the circumstances of her life in that period, and you feel that song differently, too. You feel that, wow, there’s
this undying hopefulness that has just transformed in a way and become bigger, because
in spite of all this, she continues to carry on. (light music)


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