The filmâ€™s director, Rupert Goold, understands their hesitancy. â€œIâ€™m not sure Iâ€™d want to see a movie about my mother,â€ he says. â€œNot that I donâ€™t love my mother or love filmmaking but because itâ€™s a very personal relationship. I hope if they do get to see it, theyâ€™ll sense â€¦ the celebration and the love we have for her as a person.â€
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Ever since the film premiered at Telluride, Zellweger and Goold have maintained that the movie is a celebration of Garland, even if it does look at the tragic final chapter of her life. The film focuses on her long-term addiction to alcohol and pills while battling ex-husband Sid Luft for custody of their children, Lorna and Joey.
Research for much of the movie relied heavily on Rosalyn Wilder, Garlandâ€™s assistant while she was in London trying to make a comeback in an ill-fated concert series.
â€œThey should know that everybody on that set was motivated by their love for her and their appreciation for â€¦ her work [and] her legacy that touched them,â€ Zellweger says. â€œWe just wanted to do our best for her.â€
Minnelli didnâ€™t plan to comment on â€œJudyâ€ when it was announced that Zellweger would play her mom in the film, an adaptation of the Tony-nominated play â€œEnd of the Rainbow.â€
But then, a few months into production, a gossip website reported that Minnelli was coaching Zellweger on how to portray Garland. â€œI have never met nor spoken to RenÃ©e Zellweger,â€ Minnelli wrote in response on her Facebook page. â€œI donâ€™t know how these stories get started, but I do not approve nor sanction the upcoming film about Judy Garland in any way. Any reports to the contrary are 100% fiction.â€
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