Judy Director Responds To Liza Minnelli’s Concerns Over The Biopic

Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland in Judy
(Image credit: (BBC Films))

You’d think a movie being made about yourself would be a cause for celebration, right? It's a chance for life accomplishments to be immortalized, and usually super good-looking actors are cast in the lead roles. Biopics often compete against one another during award season for golden trophies, and if yours wins, you arguably won as well. Pretty cool, huh?! That, however, is not always the case - the most recent title creating some waves bein Rupert Goold’s Judy, about Judy Garland.

Last year the late Judy Garland’s eldest daughter, Liza Minnelli, made it clear she was not on board for Judy. Very publically, the 73-year-old actress said she does “not approve nor sanction” the movie “in any way,” and she hoped Hollywood doesn’t do “what they always do.” While Judy didn’t need Minnelli’s approval for it to exist, it certainly didn’t help the movie any that it was being made while a member of the subject's family disapproved.

But Renée Zellweger’s performance for Judy has been receiving rave reviews since its premiere earlier this month, and the actress is being named as a frontrunner this year’s Best Actress Oscar. Maybe her mind could be changed if Liza Minnelli sees it? Director Rupert Goold has opened up to ET about Minnelli’s thoughts, saying,

I mean, if somebody made a movie about my mum, I would go, 'That's not the story I'd tell!' It's an invasion of privacy at some level, I suppose. And that's the complexity of being a child of a star, is it's somebody you want to own in an intimate personal way, yet is sort of in a gaudy way, like, public property.

It’s understandable. Judy isn’t about the The Wizard of Oz's Dorothy - the role most associate with Garland and love. Instead, the Hollywood legend is being portrayed during the final year of her life when she was struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and had lost custody of her children. It’s a heartbreaking story. At the same time, it may not be the story Liza Minnelli envisioned for her mother's return to the big screen. Continuing Goold said,

I've got a friend, he's a dancer and backing singer who had worked with Liza, and he said, 'The thing about Liza is she's incredibly passionate and emotional but also will really change her view.’ Not that Liza has been hostile to the movie, particularly, but I have every faith that she'll see it and find it celebratory.

That’s a vote of confidence! It would be nice to see Liza Minnelli go out and see it and end up embracing the biopic in the end. Renée Zellweger looks like she was committed to playing tribute to the legend – she even changed the octave of her voice for singing scenes.

Liza Minnelli is also portrayed in the film, played by Gemma-Leah Devereux. Judy takes place in 1968, when Liza was 22 years old and becoming a star in her own right, making records and appearing on stage. Rupert Goold had planned to have her appear on more than one occasion in the movie, but decided Judy needed to highlight her being torn from her family at the time.

Check out CinemaBlend’s Judy review and see it in theaters on September 27th.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.