Renée Zellweger is primed to have a big year.
This Friday marks the launch of her very first television series, Netflix's What/If, a romantic thriller in which the Academy Award winner plays a multimillionaire power broker who lures a younger couple into an unsavory business agreement.
Then in September a barely recognizable Zellweger will star (and sing) as late screen legend Judy Garland in the biopic Judy, a film that's first trailer generated serious buzz — and chatter that it could propel the three-time nominee back into the Oscar race for the first time in 15 years.
"Oh man that was special, that was a very special experience," Zellweger, 50, told Yahoo Entertainment about playing the late Wizard of Oz actress and singer (watch above). "It was sort of an impossible shooting schedule, and it seemed impossible, but everybody came to work every day and gave it their all. … There was this love for Judy on set every day. Every person, every crew person, all of us. It was just a celebration of her and her humanity and what a beautiful human being she was and the gifts that she gave to all of us with her generous nature and her body of work that she left behind.
"It was a celebration every day. I've never had an experience like that. It was very special."
Written by Tom Edge (adapted from Peter Quilter's stage play End of the Rainbow) and directed by Rupert Goold (True Story), Judy costars Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell and Michael Gambon. The film, which finds the 50-year-old Chicago actress singing on the big screen again, is set in 1969 as Garland arrives in London for a five-week residency of shows.
Garland, who entered show business as a child and later faced numerous personal demons as an adult, died from a drug overdose at 47 later that year, so we expect Judy to veer into tragic territory as it looks at the star's final months.
Zellweger, though, wouldn't say if she sees the film breaking the hearts of Garland fans.
"I mean, she's pretty special," Zellweger offered instead.
What/If premieres Friday on Netflix. Judy opens Sept. 27. Watch the trailer:
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