If this Sunday Renée Zellweger climbs the steps of the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles to collect the Oscar for best actress for her role in the biopic of Judy Garland, the interpreter will put the finishing touch to a year considered as her triumphant return to Hollywood. But if it were not done with what would be the second great accolade of her career, the 50-year-old Texan would have already more than staged her reconciliation with the industry after a six-year self-imposed retirement. Thanks to Judy, Zellweger seems to put aside her timeless role as Bridget Jones to live her ultimate reinvention, which has led to her winning the Bafta, the Golden Globe and the SAG, the Screen Actors Guild award.
This revival or rebirth – which the English media have dubbed Rebirth– arrives in a haven of peace for Zellweger, who not long ago recognized that he needed to get away from everything that surrounds Hollywood. “I was exhausted and I wasn’t taking the time I needed to recover between projects. I got tired of the sound of my own voice: it was time to go and grow a little, “the actress assured Deadline.
A revelation that surprised not because of its absence in itself, but because it had gone completely unnoticed. Partly because of the neglect of Hollywood itself and also because of the constant tabloid campaign against it. In recent years, many media outlets have shifted from collecting information on Zellweger’s work to making news of his choices regarding his physical changes. Something that the actress herself denounced in an open letter in the HuffPost, titled We can do better, where he regretted that society talked so much about women’s bodies. “Not that anyone cares, but I decided to change my face and have surgery on my eyes. This fact is not relevant to anyone, but that the mere possibility was discussed by serious journalists and became a topic of general conversation is a disconcerting illustration of the confusion between news / entertainment and the social fixation on the physical, ”he wrote in 2016 , precisely the year that he resumed acting.
During her retirement years, the actress, who shies away from social media, began therapy, traveled, spent time with her family, entered the world of running, attended classes at the University of California, Los Angeles, and even wrote a pilot project for a series. She also worked for charities and furthered her feminist activism. “I have wanted to dedicate myself to associations that fight for the defense and protection of women around the world for a long time. That is why I spent time in Liberia developing a school program for young women ”, she said in some interviews.
But what she really did was find herself again. Zellweger knew how to put distance and perspective in her own life, which is key to playing Judy Garland. “The role allowed me to appreciate the little experience I may have of how to get around a public figure that was a drag on my life,” the actress assured in December to The weekly country. And he knows a lot about that. That whirlwind of playing Bridget Jones in three films made her career skyrocket: she earned an Oscar nomination for this comedy in 2002, another in 2003 for the musical. Chicago and another in 2004, for which he won the award thanks to the drama Cold Mountain. Something that showed her versatility, but that forced her to have media overexposure.
Excesses that, in addition to making a dent in the actress, served as an impetus to perfect her transformation into Judy Garldand. On Judy, Renée gives life to the famous star of The Wizard of Oz in one of the most complicated moments of her life, when she had to travel to London to offer a series of concerts, ruined, away from her children and with a deep problem of alcoholism and drug addiction.
“Judy is life itself,” Zellweger herself assured during the presentation of the film. The two went from interpreters to legends in their youth and thanks to films that, although they enshrined them, also pigeonholed them. Jobs that made everything that happened afterwards, personally and professionally, be observed with a magnifying glass. If the relationship between Garland and his daughter Liza Minelli was in the spotlight throughout his life, Zellweger has had to say on more than one occasion that he does not need a partner or children to be happy.
Renée Zellweger has spent more than half her life dedicating herself to acting, a profession she arrived at by chance when a theater course crossed her path to becoming a writer. And although it is not very clear that the industry from which he had to distance himself to reconcile has changed, he returns with strength and more aware than ever that his work and life, now, are going their separate ways. “My circle is not from Hollywood. I travel, I walk my dogs, I am alone often, and my idea of going out is to play cards with friends, write together, share ideas or play music, ”she recently assured EL PAÍS.