Renee Zellweger Explains Why Judy Focuses On Garland’s Gay Fans

Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland

Awards Season is in full swing, with just a few days left before it finally comes to a grand finale. Following Awards Ceremonies like the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and SAG Awards, they all lead to the biggest night in Hollywood: The Academy Awards. Some of last year's best films are being recognized, competing to win a coveted Oscar. Renee Zellweger is a favorite to win Best Actress for her performance in Judy, and she recently explained why the musical biopic needed to include Garland's gay fans.

Rupert Goold's Judy tells the story about Judy Garland's life shortly before her sudden death. Renee Zellweger has been getting a ton of praise for her performance, especially how she manages to physically and vocally transform into Garland. One of the most touching scenes in Judy comes from the title character's (fictional) dinner with her gay fans, Burt and Dan. Zellweger explained why that scene was so important to the movie, saying:

It's impossible to accurately represent the legacy of Judy Garland without touching on what it is that she meant to the LGBTQ+ community, isn't it? Being one of the first people who spoke out and advocated publicly at a time when I guess folks weren't recognized — not only were they not safe to live authentically, but it could be worse beyond being ostracized and becoming a social pariah, it was illegal.

Well, that certainly clears things up. Judy Garland is a gay icon, and the filmmakers involved in Judy would be remiss to not include this in the biopic. Especially since her allyship to the queer community was so groundbreaking for her time.

Renee Zellweger's comments to Insider help to show one of Judy's most emotionally impactful scenes came together. Judy was based off the play End of the Rainbow, which didn't include the characters Burt and Dan. But the scene where Garland has dinner with her fans was added to show how she supported and loved her gay fans.

You can see part of that sequence from Judy below.

In the full theatrical cut of Judy, this scene is much longer. After trying to find an open restaurant, Garland ends up at Burt and Dan's as they attempt to make the iconic singer some eggs. They open up about the anti-gay legislation, and she eventually sings to them as they weep. It's one of the movie's highest points, and one that definitely helped its overall quality.

We'll just have to see if Renee Zellweger manages to take home her second Oscar at this year's Academy Awards. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.