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Judy: How Renée Zellweger’s own LGBTQ+ experience is honoured in the film

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Hollie Richardson
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Renée Zellweger

Judy actor Renée Zellweger has recalled the moment she realised she became an LGBTQ+ ally, and how this is reflected in some of the film’s additional scenes.

Renée Zellweger’s performance in the highly anticipated new biopic, Judy, has been described by critics as “witty, sharp and devastating”. With such rave reviews about the actor’s performance as legendary performer Judy Garland, there’s every chance that she might just win a second Oscar next year. 

The film follows the life of Garland, which was a rollercoaster of showbiz highs and devastating personal lows. Despite being the star of iconic films The Wizard of Oz and A Star is Born, Garland was also  plagued by financial troubles, substance abuse, and deep, abiding insecurities. This stark contrast of the two sides of her life is explored in the film.

Another important part of Garland’s life that is honoured, is her rise as an LGBTQ+ icon. 

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In scenes added by director Rupert Goold, it’s clear how important Garland was to her LGBTQ+ fans.

According to Cinema Blend, Stan and Dan are two gay characters who regularly attend Judy’s sold-out shows. One night, they meet their idol when Judy invites them to a very late dinner, which ends in a beautiful and heartbreaking scene that depicts a night of “friendship, laughs and tears”.

This is supposed to highlight how the real life Garland acknowledged her LGBTQ+ fans when so few other stars would in the 60s. As BBC Culture recently reported, Garland is still perhaps the “ultimate” gay icon, who continues to mean so much to so many people. 

Judy: Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland in biopic
Judy: Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland in the biopic.

Now, in an interview with Pink News, Zellweger has recalled the moment that she became an LGBTQ+ ally. She told the childhood story that made her realise she wanted to stand up for equal rights.

“I was 17 and I had a friend who wanted to change his name and his father was quite cruel to him,” she explained.

“I didn’t understand because he was so special and such a lovely person that anyone could find any reason not to be anything but proud of being related to him and wanting to celebrate him.”

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She continued: “He just didn’t want to be who his father wanted him to be, you know. And that should be OK. I mean, at the very least that should be OK.

“And then the rest of it was, you know, it seems like we have better things to worry about today than who people love.”

This suggests that the additional LGBTQ+ scenes were particularly poignant for Zellweger, and it will no doubt mean just as much to her fans. 

Judy is out in UK and US cinemas now

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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