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How Renée Zellweger Learned to Sing Like Judy Garland for Judy

  • Renée Zellweger earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Judy Garland in the biopic Judy.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Zellweger actually sang “Over the Rainbow” in front of a live audience as Garland.
  • Although she has sung in movie roles before, Zellweger prepared for this role by working with a voice coach.

The task of recreating Judy Garland’s unique, troubled and iconic personality for the 2019 film Judy was a challenge for Renée Zellweger, whose portrayal of the singer earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. learning to sing like her, however, was a different animal altogether. That’s right, contrary to popular belief, while she was on camera, Zellweger authentically performed in front of a live audience like a garland without any studio interference. and that was. stressful.

“It was terrifying. and if he could have run away, I would have run away,” he told us. today about the interpretation of the wizard of oz classic “over the rainbow”. The biopic, based on the musical ending of the rainbow, takes place during the tumultuous last months of Garland’s life. she is penniless, separated from her children and physically ill, but all of that is put aside when she takes the stage to sing.

Reading: Who sang in the movie judy

“I was thinking about what that song meant to her at that point in her life,” Zellweger said of Garland. “Together, we were creating this. so I didn’t feel alone at all. We were sharing this experience that was interactive, and it sounds so corny to say it was love for (garland), but it was.”

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In an interview with CBS on Sunday morning, he shared more adoration for the late artist. “There’s something otherworldly about her, and undeniable,” he said. She told Lee Cowan that it was the most fun she’s had playing a role in a long time. “I never want to disown her. never,” she said. “I fell in love and I’m here to stay.”

so how did zellweger learn to sing for her role as judy garland?

although he has already sung in movie roles (chicago and empire records), this one required special preparation. Zellweger actually told Cowan that she was surprised when she got the part for her because she doesn’t consider herself a vocalist. That’s why she met with niche voice coach Gary Catona, who has worked with the likes of Whitney Houston, Steven Tyler, Lenny Kravitz and more, to really hone Garland’s style. “Her trick of hers wasn’t impersonating Judy Garland, but rather bringing some of her own alchemy to it,” Catona told Variety. “staying true to the character and making it come to life.”

The self-proclaimed “voice builder” offers vocal exercises that prevent injury and build strength. “The voice is a muscular phenomenon,” he said. “My exercises offer the same resistance training as doing curls with weights.” For Zellweger, the whole experience was like going to the gym, but for his vocal chords. “I never realized that the vocal muscles could be manipulated through a particular set of strengthening exercises. and I was surprised to learn that subconsciously stored emotional components can be released when the vocal muscles are forced open,” he said.

Since she was already a trained singer, catona helped her fine-tune certain elements. “She really got garland’s vocal phrasing,” she said. “She just kept her voice in top shape, giving her little tips to help her out.”

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That training applied to all of his performances as Garland, including “The Streetcar Song” and “By Myself,” which he also recorded for the movie’s soundtrack. “It was a delight to experience the unexpected transformations that manifested in the process of finding and reclaiming my voice,” Zellweger told Variety.

If you watch the movie and hear the magnetic performances for yourself, you won’t forget it. (“will you? promise me you won’t”)

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