Renée Zellweger stars as Judy Garland in the upcoming biopic about the legendary late singer's life, "Judy."
The Academy Award-winning actress, 50, who is already getting rave reviews for her performance in the film out Friday, appeared on "Good Morning America" Tuesday to discuss the meaning of the role to her.
"It's nice when you're part of something that seems to mean something to other people," she shared. "That's really special. I mean, you can't really ask for more than that."
The Rupert Goold-directed film takes place in 1968 and "celebrates the voice, the capacity for love and the sheer pizzazz of 'the world’s greatest entertainer,'" according to film studio Pathe UK.
"Judy" largely focuses on the last year of the icon's life. Garland was tremendously successful throughout her career, starring in classics like 1939's "The Wizard of Oz," 1944's "Meet Me in St. Louis," 1948's "Easter Parade" and 1954's "A Star Is Born." She died in 1969 at age 47 from an accidental drug overdose.
Zellweger said it was important to play this role to show Garland's life "from a different lens."
"As a person whose lived with the public persona for quite some time, you understand the vast gulf between the narrative of the persona and the human life," she told "Good Morning America's" Michael Strahan.
"For some reason, it seems like that chapter in her life was sort of blanketed with the idea of tragedy," Zellweger shared.
"I feel like when you contextualize the circumstances of her life in that time -- it actually subverts that notion and you can see her as the kind of warrior and hero that she really was," she added.
If you look at all the tragedy Judy Garland faced in her life, “you can see her as the warrior and hero she truly was.” - Renee Zellweger on why she wanted to be in @JudyTheFilm pic.twitter.com/XTsNcHj04x— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 24, 2019
In order to get into character, the actress spent a few months working with the film's hair and makeup teams to perfect her physical similarities with Garland. Zellweger called her recreation of the late singer "a process of discovery."
"Rupert, the director, wanted to keep it minimal, so that it wasn't just a big swath of plastic -- to block the story telling basically, but an hour and a half we got it down to," she said of the hair and makeup process.
Funnily enough, her prosthetic nose got in the way during some of the kissing scenes in the film.
"The prosthetic seems to take on a life of its own once it's on there," she shared with a laugh.
Goold told "GMA" that Zellweger is "in many ways many miles from Judy."
"I didn't want Renée to vanish," he shared. "I wanted to connect with Renée, as well as Judy. I didn't want it to be kind of a wax work or pure imitation."
Word to the wise from Renee Zellweger — kissing with a nose prosthetic is NOT easy. 😂👃 pic.twitter.com/lEf35ChWja— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 24, 2019
The actress said she "tried not to think about" the pressure attached to playing such a legendary figure.
"It didn't feel like a role," she shared. "It felt like an exploration. It was sort of like an immersion into this legacy of gorgeous work that so many of us feel affection for and a connection to."
"It was a series of experiments that were shared with all of the different members of the crew ... we were all sort of mining for treasure -- to find little bits and pieces, little secrets, very important nuggets that seemed essential in conjuring her essence," she added.
When asked what she thinks Garland would think of her portrayal, Zellweger conveyed how much respect and care was put into the film.
"I hope that, if she was here, that she would feel the affection and the admiration that motivated everybody to want to make this film and that palpable on that set every day," she shared. "Everybody wanted to do their very best to express their affection and appreciation for her."
Goold also noted why Garland is such an influence to so many.
"Her struggles -- and to be fair, her ability to overcome those struggles or to make fun of them, she was an incredibly funny woman -- those struggles a lot of us recognize," he said.
"She had a lot of failed marriages and tough times, and I think that really people see her survive that way and people relate to her," he added.