Hollywood has produced many SUCCESS STORIES, but the story of Renee Zellweger is like no other. Having achieved everything an actress can dream of, she abruptly decided to take time off and disappeared from the silver screen
The story of Renee Zellweger’s rise to the heights of Hollywood smacks of cinematic cliche. Renee grew up in a small provincial town in Texas and dreamt of a career as an actress from the earliest age. At Texas University she took a course in acting and paid for her studies by working as a waitress. She subsequently recalled the first time she faced the camera, for an advertisement:
“The ad was selling a particular kind of beer and afterwards I joined the actors' guild. So a well-known beer brand helped pay for my education and launched my acting career!”
Soon the ambitious young actress could be glimpsed in minor roles in low-budget films. One of her first outings was in a sequel to cult horror him Texas Chainsaw Massacre, for which she won praise from Joe Leydon of Variety magazine as «the most formidable scream queen since Jamie Lee Curtis went legit.”
Renee took care not to get stuck forever in the ghetto of screaming girls. Matthew McConaughey, her co-star in Chainsaw Massacre, gave her a useful piece of advice: move to LA. A couple of years later, Renee struck lucky for the first time when she was noticed by Tom Cruise, who always chooses his co-star himself. Her role in Cruise’s new project, Jerry Maguire, was hardly difficult: she merely had to gaze loyally at the character played by Cruise. But her performance as Jerry's loving girlfriend was memorable. Soon she was starring alongside Metyl Streep in One True Thing – a typical Hollywood tearjerker about a girl who abandonsher career as a journalist in order to be near her dying mother, finding out that being an ‘ordinary’ housewife is also hard work. However, Renee soon distanced herself from the role of sympathetic girlfriend and companion just as she had previously cast off the part of‘scream queen’.
In 2001 Renee was offered the role which came to define her career, playing the lead in Bridget Jones’ Diary. With its wealth of opportunities for comedy the role suited Renee down to the ground: the problem was that the film was based on the British bestselling book and the English press immediately whipped up a wave of indignation at the idea that their favourite female character was to be played by an American – and one with a miniature physique to boot. After the him came out, it would have been impossible to imagine another actress as Bridget Jones. Playing Bridget won Renee her first Oscar nomination. Next came a part in the musical Chicago, where she sang and danced, coming away with another Oscar nomination. A year later, she played in Cold Mountain, Anthony Minghella’s historical him about the confrontation between North and South in the American Civil War. Renee was magnificent as Ruby, the wild woman who helps the female lead (Nicole Kidman) to survive in a region ravaged by civil war. For this she received her hrst Oscar.
The image of Bridget Jones, an unmarried woman in search of a husband, became hrmly entangled with that of Zellweger herself in the eyes of the public. “Everyone thinks I’m ‘poor Renee’ who’s unlucky in love and so is always looking for a new man!” she has said.
“I’ve never found it difficult to be on my own. I believe in family happiness. But I don’t think it’s something you should hunt out specially.”
After playing Bridget Jones in a sequel to the original film, she quickly married the country singer Kenny Chesney, but the marriage lasted a mere 4 months. In 2009, on the set of the horror him Case 39, Zellweger met the actor Bradley Cooper and fell headlong in love with him. She was 40 years old and moved from LA to New York to be with Cooper. Their relationship did not last a year. However, Renee did not return to the City of Angels. Following her change of address, she decided to change her lifestyle too. After all her successes, her career was no longer progressing.
“I always knew that being an actress is not the main thing in my life. But I never gave myself breathing space between Rims and at a certain moment I felt terribly worn out. I was tired of the sound of my own voice…”
In October 2014 Renee re appeared in public after a long break. She was almost unrecognizable following plastic surgery to her face.
“I’ve acquired something like anonymity and can now communicate with people on a completely different level: my image no longer runs ahead of me when I enter a room.”
For the new Bridget Jones she again made sacrifices. Her character had also changed, grown up, and was now in an interesting position – pregnant, but with no idea who the father of her child might be. “I had to put on weight again,” says Renee, “and a false stomach. But, to be honest, I could never understand why the public is so concerned about the way Bridget looks; she’s always been just the right weight.” In any case, Renee’s period of reclusion is now over. She is ready to come out of the shadows to reveal to the world not just a new Bridget Jones, but a new Renee too.” ♦