Having picked up a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her all singing and all dancing performance in 2002’s Chicago, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Renee Zellweger is an incredibly gifted vocalist.
However, ahead of her role in Judy, that doesn’t mean that she could automatically imitate the voice and songs of Hollywood icon Judy Garland. Which begs the question, is Renee Zellweger singing in Judy?
Rupert Goold recently confirmed to The Wrap that Zellweger is indeed singing as Garland in Judy, while also explaining why it was so important that she did so.
“I think on camera it’s important to capture the truth of the performer, the literal physical exertion of performing. I’ve seen the sweat that pours off the performer on stage…the way the sinews move on the neck… it’s a very gladiatorial state of mind that they are in. I’m sure there’s a way to capture that with someone else’s music, but I felt it was going to be more visceral live. Plus Renée’s got a great voice.”
Bu while her roles in Empire Records and Chicago have made it clear that Zellweger has a terrific singing voice, she recently confessed to USA Today that “it was terrifying” to perform as Garland, adding, “If I could have run away, I would have run away.”
It makes sense that Zellweger was this nervous, though. Not only did she have to perform “Over The Rainbow,” the song from Wizard Of Oz that is arguably the most memorable piece of music in the history of cinema. But she also had to sing it in front of a theater full of people, as the film revolves around Garland’s five-week run of concerts in London, which she performed just months before she died on June 22, 1969, at the age of 47.
You can watch Renee Zellweger recreate Judy Garland’s last few months alive, as well as her singing voice, when Judy is released on September 27.