JUDY looks like a surefire winner on all fronts.
Music biopics; surefire winners, even when they aren’t. From the flamboyant highs of recent Elton John vehicle, Rocketman, to the controversial presentation of Freddie’s Mercury’s life in last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, audiences are showing a fresh hunger for music legends getting the celluloid treatment – BoRhap (as fans call it) is now the highest-grossing music biopic of all time.
Luckily there’s still another film waiting in the wings to satiate those who haven’t had their fill of these dramatisations yes – and it looks like quite the show. Buzz has surrounded the upcoming release of JUDY, which centres on the later years of icon Judy Garland, ever since the project was announced.
In no small part, this is thanks to the casting of Renée Zellweger as the titular troubled star – the Oscar-winning actress thrilled earlier this year when photos of her were released in character, looking identical to Garland. Now the first full-length trailer for JUDY has dropped and it seems that Zellweger might just knock this one out of the park.
Set in 1968, as Garland arrived in London to perform a sold-out string of dates at Talk of the Town – now Leicester Square’s Hippodrome Casino – the film looks set to tackle the more unsavoury aspects of the Wizard of Oz star’s life, including her financial struggles, fading vocal ability and attempts to care for her children whilst in the grip of drug addiction.
“Mama, please don’t go to sleep now,” pleads Garland’s daughter in the back of a taxi, as her mother throws a handful of pills into her mouth after being asked to leave a hotel because her cheque bounced.
“No, no,” reassures Zellweger’s character, with dark humour. “These are the other ones.”
JUDY also looks set to delve into her romance with fifth husband Mickey Deans (played by Finn Wittrock), as well as featuring Zellweger’s renditions of Garland’s best known music. Sadly, Garland passed away months after the events of the film, from an accidental barbiturate overdose. Her legacy however lives on – she’s become a legend, particularly in the queer community, for her gift of empathy and her publicly lived fight to thrive.
“Everybody felt that she was talking to them, personally,” Zellweger said of Garland earlier this year, speaking to Town and Country.
“That she somehow related to their pain … The combination of gifts that she was born with are just indescribably important in terms of what she inspires in other artists.”
JUDY hits the UK in October 2019 – we’re going to be first in line.