What the Hell Happened to Renee Zellweger?

Renee Zellweger

Renee Zellweger has won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, she was nominated twice for Best Actress and she has won three Golden Globes.  For roughly a decade, she topped the A-list with both critical acclaim and commercial success.  But she has been missing from the big screen for the last several years.

What the hell happened?

zellwegger - dazed and confused

Zellweger started acting in TV movies like A Taste for Killing in 1992 and the mini-series Murder in the Heartland in 1993.  She had uncredited roles in the zombie rom-com, My Boyfriend’s Back and the 70’s high school comedy, Dazed and Confused (pictured above) in 1993.

zellwegger - reality bites

In 1994, Zellweger appeared in Reality Bites as one of Ethan Hawke’s girl friends.  The picture above is pretty much the sum total of her part.  She gives the slacker heart-throb a kiss on the porch and is never seen or heard from again.  She was little more than an extra, but it was her first credited role in a Hollywood movie.

zellwegger - 8 seconds

One week after the wide release of Reality Bites, Zellweger had a slightly larger role in Luke Perry’s bull-riding bio-pic, 8 Seconds.  The film was Perry last grasp at transitioning from TV star to the big screen.  Despite mostly negative reviews it was a small hit at the box office in relation to its modest budget.

Later that year, Zellweger starred in the Showtime movie, Shake Rattle and Roll.  SR&R was part of a series of remakes of 1950’s B-movies that Showtime produced under the title Rebel Highway.  The idea was to give drive-in movies a “90’s edge”.    Series creator, Samuel Z. Arkoff wondered “what it would be like if you made Rebel Without a Cause today. It would be more lurid, sexier, and much more dangerous, and you definitely would have had Natalie Wood’s top off”.

The clip above includes footage from several of Zellweger’s movies from 1994 set to a song from Shake Rattle and Roll.

zellweger - texas chainsaw massacre

Just about every successful actress in Hollywood has a horror film in their early days they wish they could make go away.  For Zellweger, that film is The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The low-budget sequel starred Texas natives Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey who were both unknowns at the time.  Zellweger played the girl in peril and McConaughey went way, way, way over-the-top as the next generation cannibal who terrorizes her.

In spite of the presence of two future stars, The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was terrible even by the standards of a low-budget horror sequel.  It got dumped in a few theaters in 1994 and was screen at the South by South-west Film and Media Conference in 1995.

In 1997, when Zellweger and McConaughey were both rising stars, it was re-edited and released under the title Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.  McConaughey actively campaigned to prevent the film from getting a wide release.  And with good reason.  His performance is laughable.

Reviews were almost unanimously negative.  McConaughey successfully blocked the film from getting a wide release.  It opened in just 20 cities in 1997 before being dumped to video.

zellweger - love and a .45

Zellweger’s final film of the year was the independent crime drama, Love and a .45.

She and Gil Bellows played a young couple on a Bonnie and Clyde-style crime spree.

Zellweger was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance.

Next: Empire Records and Jerry Maguire

Posted on February 23, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 124 Comments.

  1. Another great review; Can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading these.

    I remember reading that Renee beat out Bridget Fonda for the Dorothy role on Jerry Maguire; which I thought funny considering that her man at the time (Eric Stolz) had a role in the movie.

    I thought she was great in Me Myself and Irene; but I agree with your commentary that the movies she was in were more another person’s movie that she happened to be in as well.

    I always thought she was a fine actress.

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    • Thanks for the kind words. I can’t tell you how much the positive feedback means to me. Each WTHH article takes around 8 hours give or take. On top of a 50 hour work week and raising a family, it can be tough to find the time to crank them out. But hearing from people who enjoy them makes it worth the effort.

      I was surprised how many actors and actresses were attached to Jerry Maguire at various points. Pretty much anybody who was anybody at the time was considered for a role.

      Zellweger is a divisive actress. A lot of people find her annoying. But I’m with you. In the right role, I think she’s terrific. She should probably stay away from horror movies though.

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  2. Irritating kind of best sums up Rene Z. in my mind. Any movie I’ve seen with her in it, I saw in spite of her…not because. She’s got kind of a mousy, whiny demeanor about her that just turns me off. That and she always looks like she just sucked on a sour pickle. Me, Myself and Irene is probably her best role if I’m forced to think on it. As usual Carey carries that movie anyway so any other actress would have been just as good. If you haven’t already figured it out, her fading away hasn’t disappointed me in the slightest.

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    • In the comments section for the Meg Ryan/Michelle Pfeiffer smack-down, I observed that “a critic said of When Harry Met Sally… that Crystal brought the laughs and Ryan brought the sex. In all the talk about Ryan being the “girl next door” I think people forget that she also had sex appeal. It was subtle and got lost under her adorableness.

      Zelleweger strikes me as being a lot like Ryan minus the sex appeal. Circa Jerry Maguire, she is plenty adorable. She’s an attractive girl, but I think she lacked the “roll in the hay” factor that Ryan subtly exuded. And Pfieffer knocked you over the head with.”

      Personally, I though Zellweger was a cutie. But I can certainly see why she wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

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  3. Whoa. I had to read that five times to catch the typo! Thanks!

    I’m going to disagree with you on Diaz though. I like both actresses quite a bit, but I can’t see Diaz as Dorothy. I am sure she would have done a fine job, but I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job than Zellweger in that role.

    I have said before that Cruise is one of those actors who rarely has chemistry with his leading lady. He had it with Rebecca DeMornay in Risky Business. And he had it with Zellweger in Jerry Maguire. Those are the two that come to mind.

    Compare those films with Cocktail or Days of Thunder. Sure, Cruise looked great with Shue and Kidman. But I never felt like they connected in the same way.

    I never saw Knight and Day, so I can’t speak to that one. I did see Vanilla Sky (also directed by Crowe). I thought Diaz was great in it, but their relationship was more scary than romantic.

    Odds are, Diaz would have been good in the role to. We’ll never know. But it’s hard to imagine the change would have made the movie more successful than it already was.

    I have heard from a lot of people who find Zellweger annoying. But I was never one of them. I found her adorable for the most part. But it’s hard to be adorable at Zellweger’s age. So it’s not surprising her career slowed down.

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  4. I’ve typically enjoyed Zellweger. If people haven’t seen Nurse Betty, they might be missing out on what makes her unique.
    Unfortunately it seems that her look and personality may have been best suited for a younger woman. Maybe once she gets older we might see a resurgence for her in supporting roles.

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    • I think you could be right that Zellweger could switch to supporting roles as she gets older. She has shown she can do more than youthful roles like rom coms if she wants to.

      I need to rewatch Nurse Betty. I remember being pretty blown away by it. But I was definitely in the minority there.

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  5. I’m biting my tongue on the subject of Cruise and Kidman’s business arrangement… I mean marriage. It’s a wonder they had any kind of chemistry in Far and Away. I think it was the romantic qualities of the film more so than the actors.

    Zellweger was definitely guilty of playing up the cutesy factor. But I think it worked in Maguire which was a sappy movie.

    She also had a real skill with zingers. Check out her one-liners in Chicago or Leatherheads. If screwball comedy had made a comeback, she would have been perfect for those kinds of roles.

    One other thing I noticed was that in her youth, she was a very 90’s girl. But as she got older, she gravitated toward period pieces.

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    • Renée Zellweger in Chicago:

      http://oscarnerd.blogspot.com/2010/09/renee-zellweger-in-chicago.html

      Renée Zellweger received her second Best Actress nomination for playing Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago. She was even the front-runner to win her first Oscar as she won some important awards like the horrid, sorry Golden Globe and SAG (her face is actually quite amusing in her video). However, she had to wait another year to get the Academy Award for Cold Mountain where she played with the actress, who beat her at the Oscar.

      I really dislike Chicago as a movie and I’m constantly amazed (or simply shocked) that this nothing actually BEAT The Pianist (one of the greatest, most harrowing movies ever) in the Best Picture race. Chicago is like a gift which is in beautifully made wrapping, but inside, it’s a useless gadget. Well, that sums up Chicago, which is a rather poor copy of Cabaret. I must say that the technical part is truly impressive. I would say it deserved four of its six Oscars. Well we got to the performance: John C. Reilly gives quite a great performance, which is probably only really outstanding achievement about this movie. I love Queen Latifah in general, but here she’s not more than entertaining. Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones are rather average in my opinion.

      And the same goes for Ms. Zellweger. Actually, her work in this movie is the definition of this previously mentioned gift theory. The role of Roxie is really for the stage and not the screen. I can imagine that on Broadway, an experienced theater actress could give a brilliant, towering performance and I guess Zellweger wanted to do the same here. Where she failed, at least with me. I know that she’s universally praised for Chicago, but here (or in general), Zellweger is quite simply not my thing. I never really got anything from her.

      The character of Roxie is a rather slim one: she’s a dumb little woman dreaming about having a grand career as a singer and dancer, but actually we never really get to see what she has inside. For the most of the movie, she’s just an observer of the musical numbers (some are great, some are not that much) and gets nothing to do apart from playing a dumb blonde and a little bitch. I never really understood what she wanted to show me from Roxie. She made her very one-note and she really did not go into details.

      Her juicy lines must be very amusing for some, well, they really did not give me that much fun. I mean, she’s always such a common. That might have been the point that Roxie actually did not go through any changes, but it really bothered me. As I said million times: I did not have an insight to this character.

      Zellweger’s singing is good, even though her voice is not as strong as CZJ’s. She solved the musical part quite well. She solved the technical part of her performance decently and I cannot complain about that at all. Well, she’s no Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, but she has her fine moments. Especially one in the end where she has to face the facts that she’s nothing more than a temporary, fake celebrity. Her big number right there really impressed me (probably the only thing I found to be outstanding about this work).

      I am not saying that Zellweger gives a bad performance in Chicago, because occasionally she is actually good. But again, damn it I was so dissatisfied. I was so hoping that I would like her, but I did not eventually. I really did my best, but I cannot force myself to appreciate her. As I said, this performance is not for me. The worst thing about it is that I cannot really write anything more. Sorry.
      I’m the most comfortable with this grade. I really want to give her more, but it would not be honest from me.

      So what do you think? I guess I’m just as alone with this as I was with the one about Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc. But sorry, I can’t help it.

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  6. I would have trouble sitting through Leatherheads again. There’s about three decent movies in there. But someone chopped them all up and made one movie out of them.

    The scenes between Zellweger and Clooney are great though.

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  7. What the hell happened to Renee’s career, well based on what I’ve read on her IMDb message board:
    *Sort of like Meg Ryan, she ultimately got to that age where Hollywood didn’t really want her anymore.

    *Renee apparently has some serious mental health and bulimia/yo-yo dieting issues that has ultimately wrecked her face.

    *Renee held herself back by never “selling out” for sexually explicit roles.

    *She became an easy mark for the comedian market from her “lemon sucking” facial expressions to her brief marriage to Kenny Chesney. Stuff like that perhaps helped crush Renee’s love for acting.

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    • I don’t think anyone really wanted to see Zellweger in sexually explicit roles. It just doesn’t fit her persona.

      I don’t know about mental health or bulimia. But watching Case 39 I was struck that her face was “off”. She always had puffy cheeks. But she looked old in Case 39.

      I suspect the marriage to Chesney probably sucked away some of her desire to actively pursue her career. What a strange episode that was. She did rock that wedding dress though.

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      • It’s too bad, with all of this being theorized, that Renee wound up pretty much embarrassing herself at the Academy Awards a while back by coming across as intoxicated or dazed. While I was watching the pre-show on ABC, my mom saw Renee being interviewed and she wanted to know what was wrong w/ her right cheek.

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        • I had the same reaction. The article’s traffic took off during the Chicago reunion on the awards. It had 2,000 hits in five minutes. The #1 search term was “What happened to Renee Zellweger”. But there were also quite a few variations of “Renee Zellweger drunk at Oscars”.

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  8. I wonder what Dave Chappelle would think of this “What the Hell Happened to…” discussion:

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  9. Another great article! The one thing I remember about Down With Love was how much I was looking forward to it, and how disappointed I was. kinda like Terminator Salvation. Looked great in the ads, the real thing, not so much.

    I never really understood her appeal. Her voice is grating and she isn’t very pretty.

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    • I’ll be the first to admit my one viewing of Down With Love was less than ideal. I made my wife watch it and she clearly wasn’t interested at all. That just sucks all the interest right out of you. I don’t know for sure that we even finished watching it.

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  10. Good overview of her career! She is another one I hadn’t really thought of lately until reading this article which sort of ties it all together. RZ is interesting in that I remember when she first got the critics’ attentions, had her days in the sun and does now seem to be on the downhill slope of “Too old for a woman in Hwood.” HOWEVER she is fairly versatile an actress and may have some Streep-like transformations down the road. Certainly her ratio of good projects to bad is better than average, but then maybe her career couldn’t have withstood as many flops.

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  11. As always – good read. As as usual my question is: any of this stuff work watching ? this jerry maguire flick keeps coming up – I guess I have to check it out. I’ve seen Down With Love like 10 years ago but I didn’t enjoy it much and I don’t think I would enjoy it much now either.

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    • I definitely recommend Jerry Maguire with the caveat that it is schmaltzy. But there’s enough sports and humor to get most rom-com haters through it. Most everyone I have spoken to enjoyed it.

      Me, Myself and Irene is okay if you like the Farrelly brothers and Jim Carrey. It’s middle of the road.

      Nurse Betty is an interesting mix of genres. If the violence doesn’t put you off, it’s worth checking out.

      Bridget Jones’ Diary is imo one of the better rom coms of the 21st century. It has elements of a musical which I think sets it apart. Also, the chemistry between the leads is just right.

      Chicago is a lot of fun if you like musicals.

      Cold Mountain is typical Anthony Minghella. It’s beautifully filmed but kind of empty. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical drama. The performances are quite good too.

      I heard good things about Cinderella Man but haven’t watched it yet myself.

      Lots of movies worth chekcing out. Some I would even consider must-sees. She’s actually had one of the better careers out there.

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      • Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones’s Diary:

        http://oscarnerd.blogspot.com/2011/06/renee-zellweger-in-bridget-joness-diary.html

        Name: Renée Zellweger
        Movie: Bridget Jones’s Diary
        Number of Oscar nomination: One
        Other awards: None, some nominations
        Chances of winning: Not much, might have been fourth.

        I saw this film Bridget Jones’s Diary about some lunatic spinster. Sad, funny, entertaining. I guess it was meant for other lunatic spinsters and such. I cannot think of anything else. Casting two British heart-throbs (Hugh Grant and Colin Firth) made a sure audience among women. And it’s about some British spinster really. OK, it’s fun but is it that much? Yeah, why not? That bloke called Jim Broadbent must have had a great year in 2001. He starred with three Best Actress nominated gals and won an Oscar. Damn it, lucky guy.

        An American gal Renée Zellweger plays the British spinster. Gosh, I really dislike her. I mean, she really pisses me off sometimes. I mean what the hell was she doing in Chicago or Cold Mountain to be praised? She’s really not my type but f*ck cares? She’s really bloody great as Bridget Jones, “verbally incontinent spinster who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and dresses like her mother”. Guess, she’s a very ordinary gal who has just as many problems as anyone else.

        How does a comedy performance get nominated at the Oscars? Hell, I don’t have a clue but I’m sure that they were charmed by Renée as much as I was. She really rocks as Bridget and those old guys must have liked her, too. She’s really adorable and so lovely. She always made me think about Pauline Collins in Shirley Valentine. They are so different and yet so similar. And anyone who can be as bloody great as Pauline was as Shirley deserves some credit, for sure.

        Renée narrates the movie and tells us Bridget’s thoughts on her life and prospects. And those are really hilarious and they are probably the best things about the whole movie. Basically she has two ways: becoming Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction or trying to become happy. And she chooses the latter. I guess she was the best at showing Bridget’s optimism and hope. Bridget is not a quitter by any means despite some bad times.

        And yeah, I love how ironic she really is. Zellweger is seemingly having fun with the character but she also seems to really love her and care about her. So do we. Who wouldn’t feel sorry for her after we see the scenes where she’s publicly humiliated. I mean, she’s an almost pathetic person and yet we don’t think of her as inferior in any way. She’s so lovely but she can be very unlikable. But even Bridget’s lowest point is as funny as it gets. When she says “BUGGER OFF!”, I almost died of laughing. She was just unbelievably hilarious.

        Renée’s chemistry with the two guy is just great and we really don’t know which one she’s going to end up with. Funny, isn’t it? She doesn’t give a performance that you would like to preserve for other civilisations after us but still… She’s so cool.

        All in all, this gal, Renée Zellweger is really great as Bridget Jones, this crazy, pathetic and lovable spinster. This is not Sex and the City style “acting”, she’s truly great as Bridget and she gives a heart-warming portrayal of this lovely character.

        No wonder that she was nominated for an Oscar.

        I love her! LOVE her!

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        • 10 Worst Oscar Nominated Performances Of All Time:

          http://whatculture.com/film/10-worst-oscar-nominated-performances-of-all-time.php/7

          4. Renee Zellweger – Bridget Jones’s Diary

          I still remember when I found out, a long time after the fact, that Renee Zellweger had been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Sharon Maguire’s cutesy British rom-com Bridget Jones’s Diary. I nearly choked to death on my can of Coke.

          It’s a testament to that infatuation with Britishness that Americans seem to have – and we imagine BAFTA voters probably helped her get nominated – that something so ordinary, if decent, can end up on the nominees list.

          The majority of the publicity surrounding Zellweger’s performance was regarding her weight gain, her figure turning from a waif to something more resembling “normal”. Though transformations like this are always admirable, should they be the focal narrative for someone courting Oscar glory?

          Zellweger didn’t win the gong, but the fact she got close for a decent if unremarkable performance in an equally decent if unremarkable film is proof how much Oscar voters love a good awards narrative.

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          • No surprise, I disagree with the “what culture” guy again. Bridget Jones’ Diary was a light comedy which tends to be overlooked by the Academy. But I thought Zellweger delivered a terrificly frothy comedic performance. There’s always politics when we’re talking about the Academy and I’m sure Zellweger was awarded the nomination largely because of her past work and expected future performances. That’s how the Academy works. But to single out her nomination as the 4th Worst Oscar Nominated Performance of all time is just ignorant.

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        • 15 of the most unnecessary sequels ever made:

          http://www.hitfix.com/galleries/overlay/15-of-the-most-unnecessary-sequels-ever-made/10#

          ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’ (2004)

          Sequel to: “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001)

          Did it kill the franchise: Maybe not

          Why it was so unnecessary: “Bridget Jones’s Diary” was a proposition as assured of success as its bumbling heroine wasn’t: not only was it based on a legitimate publishing phenomenon in Helen Fielding’s mega-bestseller, but it also followed the Working Title-Richard Curtis Britcom formula that had already made stratospheric international successes of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill.” It couldn’t, and didn’t, fail: the plucky, inexpensive romance earned nearly three times its budget in the US alone, landed Renee Zellweger her first Oscar nomination and endured on UK television as mandatory Christmastime programming. (Every. Single. Year.) A sequel was inevitable, not least because Fielding had already obliged with a follow-up book before “Diary” was even filmed, but it was far from necessary: mirroring the structure of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” the first film ended with Bridget securing her happy ending with Mr. Darcy, so any follow-up would spoil that elegant literary resolution. Sure enough, the aptly titled “The Edge of Reason” piled on the contrivances to give its heroine a man to fight for — sending her dubiously to a Thai prison for cocaine smuggling and making her a human rights celebrity — but that wasn’t as big a problem as the film’s casual misogyny, racism and sheer charmlessness. The Bridget Jones of the first film was hapless and relatably insecure; the Bridget of the second was simply a man-dependent moron. Rarely in film history has a franchise betrayed its own hero(ine) quite so brutally. With $40 million, it managed a little over half the first film’s US gross, but was still an international hit. A third installment, “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” has been mooted for some time, though it looks increasingly and mercifully unlikely: earlier this year, co-star Colin Firth stated that it’s “[not] completely dead in the water… but you might be seeing Bridget Jones’ granddaughter’s story being told by the time we get there.”

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  12. Really enjoyed this article. I googled this topic because she popped into my head & this was the best thing I found!

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  13. Renée Zellweger: Where Did It All Go Wrong?:

    http://frettsonfilm.com/2012/09/06/renee-zelwegger-where-did-it-all-go-wrong/

    She had us at “hello.” Beginning with her breakout role as Tom Cruise’s single-mom soulmate in 1996′s Jerry Maguire, Renée Zellweger completed us. Sure, she made a few career missteps in the immediate aftermath—her meshuggeneh turn as an Orthodox Jew’s wife in A Price Above Rubies springs to mind. But Zellweger soon went on a hot streak that included Oscar nominations for 2001′s Bridget Jones’ Diary and 2002′s Chicago as well as a win for 2003′s Cold Mountain. And then her career went into a deep freeze.

    Now comes news that Zellweger will soon make her directorial debut with 4 1/2 Minutes, starring Jackass‘ Johnny Knoxville as struggling stand-up comic with a fear of commitment. He takes a job as a babysitter for a single mom Zelwegger’s genius child—shades of Jerry Maguire‘s Jonathan Lipnicki. But considering how poorly Zellweger and Knoxville’s careers have been going, it seems unlikely this movie will last in theaters for more than 4 1/2 minutes.

    Her decline started slowly, with would-be Oscar contenders like Ron Howard’s boxing movie Cinderella Man and the Beatrix Potter biopic Miss Potter getting knocked out at the box office and in the awards races. She fumbled her way through another sports-themed flick—George Clooney’s football bomb Leatherheads—then misfired as an Old West femme fatale in Ed Harris’ otherwise-underrated Appaloosa.

    That’s when she went into free fall. Anybody remember the generic rom-com New in Town, the George Hamilton-inspired period piece My One and Only or the long-delayed horror show Case 39? By the time she played a paraplegic singer on a road trip in 2010′s My Own Love Song, she’d descended into direct-to-DVD-dom.

    The harsh reality is, as Zellweger has entered her 40′s, her baby-girl voice and kewpie-doll cheeks just don’t seem that cute anymore (at least not in tandem—she’s used her squeaky pipes to good effect with vocal roles in Bee Movie and Monsters vs. Aliens). Rather than trying to recapture her youth with yet another sequel—Bridget Jones’ Baby has been stillborn since Bridesmaids‘ director Paul Feig dropped out last year and was replaced by The Full Monty‘s Peter Cattaneo—Zellweger needs to embrace her age and start taking the kinds of character roles that have sustained Meryl Streep and Glenn Close, whether on the big screen or the small one.

    C’mon, Renée—as Jerry Maguire would say, “Help us help you.”

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  14. You may find this strange, but I think Renee & Jamie Foxx should do a film together. Maybe because their great work in “Chicago,” “Cold Mountain,” “Collateral,” & “Ray” all came out at roughly the same time, but I just thought it’d be nice to see them share the screen.

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  15. Will Find Nice Sensible Movie & Avoid Attachments With Any of the Following:

    http://www.pajiba.com/career_assessments/renee-zellweger-career-assessment-will-find-nice-sensible-movie-avoid-attachments-with-any-of-the-following.php

    Subject: Renée Kathleen Zellweger, 41-year old American actress

    Date of Assessment: October 1, 2010

    Positive Buzzwords: Versatile, talented, nonthreatening beauty

    Negative Buzzwords: Overrated, vanity, recluse

    The Case: Today’s surveillance involves the Magically Disappearing Career of Renée Zellweger. Not too terribly many years ago, this subject was an eminently employable actress who possessed everyday, realistic good looks. Of course, that was back when Zellweger began her acting career, with low budget productions (Love and a .45, The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre) in her home state of Texas. After moving to Hollywood, Zellweger parlayed her unusual physical appeal by banging Rex Manning in Empire Records. Then, she had us at “hello” in Jerry Maguire and, subsequently, showcased some refreshing versatility in A Price Above Rubies. As to that last movie, I recall watching a “Today Show” interview which posed the question of why a starlet would bother with a “small” film after the blockbuster success of Jerry McGuire. Zellweger gave a very candid response that she loved the idea of showing the public a more personal aspect (one with which most people aren’t familiar) of life as an Orthodox Jewish wife. Her complex character also gave her a chance to give a realistic portrayal of a complicated relationship, which had a lot more than the mere face value of “You had me at hello.” Still, Zellweger didn’t hold onto those indie boots for long and quickly moved onto more lucrative matters by shining throughout quirky roles as Nurse Betty and Me, Myself & Irene.

    From there, Zellweger exercised her right to indulge in slightly offbeat characters (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Down with Love, Cold Mountain) that one couldn’t help but find endearing. In Chicago, she also transformed her own gawky, everyday qualities into a believable incarnation of the suddenly famous Roxie Hart. At a certain point in her career, however, Zellweger’s method of coping with her own fame caused her to push audiences away. A likely complicating factor can be found in a series of high profile romances: Jim Carrey; Jack White; Kenny Chestney; and, most recently, Bradley Cooper. With each relationship (and this might be pure coincidence), the actress’s attitude towards the media and general public has become increasingly distant. This is not to say that anyone necessarily should reveal one’s inner self to the world at large, but the change in Zellweger has been remarkably standoffish. At the same time, Zellweger’s faltered with a series of several poor movie choices that audiences had no desire to watch — Miss Potter, Leatherheads, Appaloosa — all of which have reinforced a certain nagging suspicion that, all along, Zellweger might just have been an overrated Oscarbaiter. It truly seems as if she stopped considering whether or not a target audiences for these movies existed. As any entertainer (and this includes not only actors but directors, musicians, and writers) should know, considering one’s audiences is of paramount importance, and pretending they don’t exist is fatal.

    Zellweger followed the above-described “trilogy of box-office doom” with what appears to be a panic-induced attempt to reclaim some romcom prowess (New in Town, My One and Only, My Own Love Song), but audiences had already moved on to actresses like (shudder) Katherine Heigl and (sigh) Jennifer Aniston for those sorts of vacuous movies. While neither of these actresses hold a candle to the talent of Zellweger, she doesn’t have the advantage of being a relatively fresh face like Heigl, and she can’t reap the benefit of owning a production company (and virtually guaranteeing her own roles) like Aniston. Disgusting how that works, isn’t it?

    The way I see it, Zellweger’s been on a downward slide ever since Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, a sequel that skillfully managed to destroy the lovable spirit of Bridget and, in the process, made a farce of Zellweger’s portrayal to a degree that was both annoying and pathetic. After Edge of Reason, Zellweger was not the same actress who declared, “I will not be beaten by a bad man and an American stick insect!” These days, she herself is an American stick insect, and I’m not even referring to Zellweger’s slight stature, but rather to her newfound alien-like qualities. No longer does she possess a girl-next-door appeal in either attitude or appearance — recent pictures highlight a face that’s been destroyed by all sorts of collagen fillers and something called “facial sandblasting.” Indeed, Zellweger has joined the ranks of the unapproachable class that substitutes high colonics for actual bowel movements (such things are the essence of lay people). Hence her unfortunate digression into vanity projects such as Miss Potter.

    Lately, Zellweger (both as an actress and physically speaking) is barely a shadow of her former self. She’s recently found some financial refuge in voicing animated kiddie flicks (Bee Movie, Monsters vs Aliens), but has steadily lost audience appeal in live-action feature films. This weekend, her long-shelved Case 39 hits theaters in a bid to evoke some pre-Halloween shivers. Of course, some critics believe that any actress who deigns to join the cast of a horror flick belongs to one of two statuses: (1) The unknown, possibly up-and-coming starlet; or (2) The former A-lister who can’t do any better. Well, the career of Naomi Watts certainly hasn’t suffered from her periodic horror jaunts (Funny Games, The Ring), so we shall see how the weekend shakes itself out before drawing final conclusions.

    Prognosis: Clearly, Renée Zellweger is a woman in need of a comeback that might never arrive. It remains unclear whether she could ever recapture her former box-office success, but nothing good can ever come of a rumored third installment to the Bridget Jones franchise. Further, Zellweger only has one project in development: Pillage, a dark comedy set within the NYC club scene. That’s not exactly comeback material for a former Oscar darling.

    Like

  16. 20 Film Stars You Definitely Won’t Remember In 20 Years:

    http://whatculture.com/film/20-film-stars-you-definitely-wont-remember-in-20-years.php/9

    4. Renée Zellweger

    Bridget Jones will be remembered more than Renée Zellweger. Seriously, where is she? Someone needs to put her face on one of those milk cartons. Or hang up some posters. Do something.

    Considering she started acting 20 years ago and is barely remembered now, the next 20 years doesn’t look too great for her. She’s not a bad actress by any means. You can hardly call someone who was nominated for three Oscars (winning one of them) a bad actress. But she just doesn’t do anything nowadays. Her last film was in 2010, and I bet 99% of people have never even heard of it.

    I’m not expecting you to become the next Batman, but at least remind people that you actually exist. Come on Bridget.

    Like

  17. Zellweger Faces Uncertain Future as Case 39 Flops:

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/zellweger_faces_uncertain_future

    Signature line: “You had me at hello.”

    Career Peaks: In 1996, Zellweger played the lovable chipmunk-cheeked girl next door who wins the love of jacked-up talent agent Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Women also identified with her as a Jane Austen-inspired chubby Brit diarist in Bridget Jones Diary and its sequel.

    Awards Attention: Bridget Jones Diary–and her flawless Brit accent– garnered Zellweger an Oscar nomination, as did her show-stopping turn as murderous song-and-dance girl Roxie Hart in the Oscar-winning Chicago. Zellweger finally won for her folksy supporting role in 2003’s Cold Mountain.

    Latest Misfires: Back in 2006, Zellweger filmed her role opposite Bradley Cooper in Christian Alvert’s genre thriller Case 39, as a social worker who adopts a little girl who is nastier than she looks. Long before a stalled stateside opening, Paramount released the film overseas before targeting it to Latin audiences in America, where the tainted thriller finally opened to a dismal $5.3 million. Zellweger starred as a Miami career woman who moves to a small town in Minnesota in Gold Circle’s 2009 fish-out-of-water comedy New in Town. The badly reviewed romance co-starred Harry Connick Jr. and grossed $22 million worldwide. This, after dipping box office receipts (Nurse Betty, Down with Love, Miss Potter, Leatherheads, Appaloosa).

    Biggest Problem: The gifted actress is facing an unforgiving industry that doles out few juicy roles for women over 40. Too long in the tooth to play the cute and spunky ingenues that worked best for audiences early in her career, Zellweger has lately starred in several indies financed overseas (My One and Only, New in Town), where her marquee bankability (like most stars these days) is fading. Unable to land a stateside distributor for My One and Only, a road movie starring Zellweger as a 50s East Side socialite Mom who takes off with her two teen boys after catching her bandleader husband (Kevin Bacon) with a floozie, Zellweger’s reps signed up indie self-release outfit Freestyle. The movie earned a 69% fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating and decent numbers in limited release, winding up at $2.5 million.

    Biggest Assets: She’s an enchanting character actress and audiences like her.

    Current Gossip: For over a year, the actress, 41, has been dating hunk-du-jour Bradley Cooper, 35, who she first met on Case 39, amid constant wedding/break-up rumors. She’s writing songs after performing a Dylan cover on her upcoming indie My Own Love Song. And everyone comments on her looks: “She’s messed up her face and doesn’t eat,” snipes one marketing exec.

    Next Step: Her role as a wheelchair-bound singer opposite Forrest Whitaker in My Own Love Song (which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to dismissive reviews in April) suggests that she may be in danger of falling prey to Noble Actress Syndrome (see: Cinderella Man). “She takes herself so seriously,” sighs one studio exec. Zellweger takes a different turn with the indie drama Pillage, which she is producing, to be adapted by writer-director John Krokidas from Brantly Martin’s novel about four pals in Manhattan seeking to escape via the ultimate downtown party. They plan a 2011 New York shoot.

    Career Advice: Mix it up. Be open-minded. But finding the love of her life in a film may no longer be the answer, cautions one talent agent. “She should do more comedy like Jerry Maguire,” says one casting director. “She could do a villainess with comic overtones in a comic-book action ensemble, as Heath Ledger did in Dark Knight, or Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow in Iron Man 2. Or a play on Broadway. You’ve got to be out there in the universe so people see you’re working.” There’s debate about whether she’s ready yet to take a television/HBO detour like Drew Barrymore (Grey Gardens), Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce) or Evan Rachel Wood ( True Blood). “She needs a Charlize Theron/Monster indie film role,” suggests one studio exec. “What’s a hit now? Isn’t it about people thinking you’re good? There’s no work out there.”

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  18. What happened to Thora Birch?–and other actors that seemed to disappear for no reason…:

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=15161061&postcount=135

    Originally Posted by ftg
    Speaking of actresses whose careers have gone surprisingly cold. Leatherheads will do that do you (if your name isn’t “George Clooney”).

    Actually, I think it’s more to do with fact she’s on the wrong side of 40 and there’s a younger doppelganger named Michelle Williams who can play her roles.

    Like

  19. 10 Actors Whose Careers Went Downhill After They Won Oscars:

    http://whatculture.com/film/10-actors-whose-careers-went-downhill-after-they-won-oscars.php/2

    10. Renee Zellweger

    Renee Zellweger shot to universal fame when she decided to put on weight and talk in a British accent for Bridget Jones’ Diary, and everyone agreed that – against the odds, perhaps – she did a pretty good job with that. A couple of years later, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the somewhat overrated Cold Mountain, in which she played Ruby Thewes, a woman who “sorts out a farm” in the mid-19th century. Sadly, that was about the last time anybody really seemed to care about anything Renee Zellweger was doing.

    To be fair, she made a few good movies after that: Cinderella Man and Miss Potter, to name two (there are only two). But then, I think, people started getting a little bit annoyed with Renee Zellweger, because there’s something kind of annoying about her, isn’t there? Content with hiding behind her voice for a few animated movies instead, Zellweger slowly began to make bad movie after bad movie. And now we’re in the present, where her last ventures were the Godawful Case 39 and My Own Love Song. Bizarrely, she hasn’t made a movie in three years.

    Like

    • Is There a Best Supporting Actress Curse?

      http://www.thejanedough.com/is-there-a-best-supporting-actress-curse/

      Those in the Hollywood scene weren’t surprised when reports of Jesse James’s affair surfaced mere days after his wife Sandra Bullock won her first Oscar for The Blind Side. “It’s the Best Actress curse,” everyone whispered, alluding to the longstanding belief that there’s a casual relationship between winning an Academy Award and having one’s relationship unravel. The Best Actress statuette isn’t the only Oscar with bad juju — according to the grapevine, winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar turns into a long-term loss. Once a woman wins Best Supporting Actress, it’s believed that she’ll never work again, the award dooming her to the margins of Hollywood. (Insert requisite spooky noise here.)

      But does the Best Supporting Actress curse hold any weight? Forbes‘ study of Oscar winners’ domestic box office numbers found that there may be something to the superstition. Looking at the ten women who won the Best Supporting Actress award between 1997 and 2006, and comparing their box office performances the five years before they won to the five years after, Forbes discovered that six out of the total ten actresses had their earnings drop quite dramatically. The actress who saw the steepest fall was Cate Blanchett, the 2004 Oscar winner for The Aviator: her box office earnings decreased by $844 million. Yet, Forbes determined that the extremity of Blanchett’s case was due to The Lord of the Rings trilogy coming to an end. If one discounts the Lord of the Rings’ box office performance, her post-Oscar earnings actually increased by $156 million.

      But not all cases were so easily explained — take the actress with the second-biggest career slide, Renee Zellweger. After winning the Oscar for her performance in Cold Mountain in 2003, Zellweger’s box office earnings fell by $378 million. Before her win, Zellweger had two previous Oscar nominations, for Bridget Jones’ Diary and Chicago, but after receiving her Oscar, Zellweger’s career immediately soured: the Bridget Jones sequel, Cinderella Man, Leatherheads, Miss Potter and New in Town were all box office disappointments. This time there’s no massive franchise to blame.

      Zellweger is not alone: actresses like Mira Sorvino and Kim Basinger have also struggled to find post-award relevance. The names Brenda Fricker and Mercedes Ruehl may not sound familiar but they both won Best Supporting Actress Oscars about a decade ago for My Left Foot and The Fisher King. Even Zellweger’s Chicago co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones has experienced some blows to her previously illustrious career: after winning the Oscar for Chicago in 2003, Zeta-Jones’ box officer earnings fell by $361 million.

      So what’s going on? Is the Best Supporting Actress statuette haunted by the ghost of some past ingenue who suffered such a shocking career slide that she vowed to never let another award-winning actress see success? Probably not; as with many money-related things, the answer is probably sexism. As NBC News writes, “it’s easier for a man to escape the oppressive focus on youth that dooms so many female actors. Only two of the supporting-actor winners since 1990 were younger than their late 40s at the time of their award.” In an industry that values female beauty and youth, it’s hard for a woman to continually score plum roles and stay relevant, Oscar or not.

      So will Oscar shoe-in Anne Hathaway be doomed by her win? Not necessarily. If Hathaway plays her cards right, she could get a big boost from her Oscar score like Angeline Jolie. After Jolie won for Girl Interrupted in 1999, her box office earnings grew from $118 million to a whopping $436 million. Yet, i can’t say that I would mind it if Anne Hathaway suffered from the Best Supporting Actress curse, even just a bit. If I didn’t have to see that maniacal, self-aggrandizing woman-puppet feigning modesty and “blerg-ing” on an awards stage ever again, I wouldn’t hate it.

      Like

      • 10 Victims of the Oscar Curse & Oscar Jinx:

        http://www.onlygoodmovies.com/good/movies/10-victims-of-the-oscar-curse-oscar-jinx/

        Victim’s Name: Renee Zellweger

        Won For: Cold Mountain (2004)

        Why They’re Cursed: After doing her Granny Clampett impersonation in Cold Mountain, Zellweger found herself being handed an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. And while she’s still a favorite in the tabloids, her career has been plagued with box office disappointments following her win at the Academy Awards. Here are just a few: Leatherheads, Cinderella Man, Appaloosa, My One and Only and New in Town. Don’t be embarrassed if you haven’t heard of half of them. Her next project was supposed to be the horror film Case 39 (filmed in 2006), but plans for a domestic release appear to have been scrapped following horrific reviews and poor performance in limited release. One has to wonder how bad a horror flick has to be to get put on the shelf? You’d think that Zellweger would’ve learned a few tricks of the genre from her time on the set of 1994’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

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        • 10 Actresses Whose Careers Went Downhill After Winning An Oscar:

          http://whatculture.com/film/10-actresses-whose-careers-went-downhill-winning-oscar.php/9

          Renée Zellweger

          The movies Renée Zellweger has appeared in since Cold Mountain have not been uniformly terrible, but she seems to have fallen off the face of the earth these past few years. After initially gaining fame for playing Tom Cruise’s love interest in Jerry Maguire, Zellweger continued that success in a string of box office hits such as Me, Myself & Irene, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Chicago. Her performance in 2002′s Chicago, in particular, garnered a great amount of positive press. Many wonder if her subsequent Oscar win for Cold Mountain was really the Academy’s way of apologizing for passing her over that previous year.

          Either way, considering her career was well-established by the time she won her Oscar, it comes as quite a shock to see how little attention she’s received over the past ten years. While she’s put forth solid performances in Cinderella Man and the under-seen 2008 film Appaloosa, her career seems to have taken a slow and steady dive into obscurity for seemingly no reason.

          And as for the future? Renée Zellweger has not appeared in a single film since 2010 and there is no news regarding any future projects. So, is she no longer interested in acting or is Hollywood no longer calling? Either way, it’s strange to see an actress completely disappear just a few years after winning an Oscar. Her career didn’t just go downhill, it went off a cliff.

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          • Re: Renee Zellweger’s disastrous post-Oscar career

            http://www.datalounge.com/cgi-bin/iowa/ajax.html?t=9644498#page:showThread,9644498,3

            Well, Renee was kind of normal looking and likeable in Bridget Jones. I mean, a chubby girl with Hugh Grant and Colin Firth fighting over her = a frau/single girl’s wet dream. Once she turned into this anorexic clown face figure the fanbase that made her a star deserted her.

            by: Anonymous reply 55 03/05/2011 @ 01:12PM

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            • Star-Derailing Role:

              http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StarDerailingRole

              Renee Zellweger was one of the biggest actresses of the late ’90s and early-to-mid 2000s starring in hits like Jerry Maguire, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and Chicago. She was even established as one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses in 2007. As her career went on, however, her movies became less financially and critically successful but she was still able to snag some decent parts. Then she made Case 39, a movie that was delayed twice and, when it was finally released in 2010, received negative reviews and flopped at the box office, opening at #7 on it’s first week, despite the fact that she was a big star. This movie pretty much killed her career as she hasn’t been in a movie since. Their have been some talks of a comeback but nothing so far has come to fruition.

              Like

  20. Even with the next Bridget Jones(if if ever gets off the ground,to be honest!)& aging quite a bit (43),you wonder if she’s
    more likely bound for the tube where more parts for females are in abundance,perhaps???

    Like

    • I am always suggesting older actresses got the TV route. There are far more interesting parts for women on TV. Especially the over 30 set.

      Although, I’m not sure about Zellweger. When she showed up at the Oscars earlier this year, she looked like the new Meg Ryan. Unless she gets her face under control, she may be be done until she ages into playing grandmas.

      Like

        • That is unfortunate.

          I am far from an expert on the subject. Frankly, I have no interest in celeb plastic surgery. But writing these articles, I have been exposed to it more than I ever imagined. From what I have seen, there are always nightmare pictures immediately following the surgery. Hopefully she’ll look less ghoulish as her face heals.

          Like

        • What’s Really Behind The Ridicule Of Renée Zellweger’s Face:

          http://www.buzzfeed.com/annehelenpetersen/whats-really-behind-the-ridicule-of-renee-zellwegers-face

          It’s plastic surgery shaming, yes, but also about how we think Renée Zellweger is supposed to age.

          “This Is What Renée Zellweger’s Face Looks Like Now,” “What HAS Renée Zellweger Done to Her Face,” “Stop What You’re Doing: Renée Zellweger Has a Brand-New Face,” “Is That You, Renée Zellweger?”

          All of these links reference photos from Elle’s 21st annual Women in Hollywood Awards, which Renée Zellweger, who is now 44, attended on Monday night. Zellweger has not made a film in four years, and yet her name is still a household one — or at least, if you say her name, an image of her probably springs into your head. The cute Jerry Maguire or Bridget Jones’s Diary-era cherubic cheeks, the crinkled eyes, the pursed-lip smile — far more “just like us” than more glamorous contemporaries like Angelina Jolie or Julia Roberts.

          Which is part of the reason that the photos of her looking so markedly unlike herself in the photos from Monday’s event are so startling. And yes: She seems to have had some plastic surgery in the eye area, some Botox-like injections in the forehead area.

          But: So what?

          In some ways, it’s a pretty classic case of taking pleasure in looking, with disgust, at the feminine grotesque: a slightly more socially sanctioned version of ogling enormous breasts, or the Barbie, or too-long nails, outsize rear ends; Lisa Rinna’s lips, Kim Kardashian’s pregnant body, stretch lines and cellulite on the beach, stars without makeup. The aging body is fascinating — but we’ve also been culturally trained to be repulsed by it.

          The performative surprise, disgust, and shame directed toward aging is super contradictory: It suggests that the ideal woman is young and without wrinkles, but attempts by women to maintain that ideal are subject to derision.

          It’s not that women shouldn’t get plastic surgery; it’s that they should make every effort for that surgery to be invisible, seamless, unnoticeable. Good plastic surgery is OK, but “bad” plastic surgery — surgery that makes itself visible — now that’s abject.

          Why? Because it shows that the work of performing ideal femininity is just that: work. And ideal femininity never illuminates itself as a construction; it must present itself as “natural.” Which is also why it comes as such a surprise when someone like Beyoncé speaks openly about the exhaustive regimen necessary to get her body into post-baby shape: It speaks truth to the lie of the effortless, immaculate, eternally young and fit female form.

          Plastic-surgery shaming is thus tantamount to blaming the victims of this ideal for working so hard to achieve what we’ve told them, for decades, they must do. It’s bullshit, it’s unfeminist, and it’s just one of many ways in which society damns women for taking its ideals concerning sexuality or the body to their natural extension.

          But I also think that the surprise at Zellweger is rooted in the way that we, as consumers, were introduced to her image — and the expectations that cling to that image, nearly two decades after it was first introduced. In Empire Records (1994), Zellweger, then 25, wears a short skirt for the duration of the film, eventually donning a bright orange apron that barely covers her “delicate” regions, alternately praised and shamed for her status as a sex object.

          She’s a mother in Jerry Maguire (1996), but she’s also characterized by her youthfulness and idealism — and her contrast with Tom Cruise’s ideal ex-girlfriend. She went purposely dowdy for Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), a film whose narrative hinges on the titular character’s continual attempts to hew societal ideals of the contained female body.

          In Cold Mountain (2003), she’s in formless, masculine clothes, playing a character who’s clearly never been schooled in proper femininity; she’s the inverse and foil to Nicole Kidman’s proper Southern woman, and “playing at” non-femininity — a performance accentuated by her hyper-feminine appearances on the red carpet during awards season — was part of what won her the Academy Award.

          Which is all to say that Zellweger’s picture personality has been about the striving performance of femininity — and a striving performance that’s rooted, always, in the appearance of twenty- and thirtysomething youth. To see her at the age of 44, amid a long period without acting work, with plastic surgery seems yet the latest attempt, and failure, to conform to the ideals of femininity, the sad second act in the latest Bridget Jones. Only this time, as the book tells us, Mr. Darcy is dead, which means there’s no man to validate her and thus save her from self-punishment.

          To be clear, I don’t think that Renee Zellweger is Bridget Jones, or that Zellweger conceives of herself as Bridget Jones. But we map the Zellweger image onto the Zellweger body: That’s how stardom works.

          Hollywood is horrible to aging women, broadly, but it’s particularly horrible for women whose images are rooted in a youthful form of themselves. It’s not just Lindsay Lohan, in other words, who has to struggle with expectations pinned to a much-younger version of herself. That’s why Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon keep playing variations on the same roles, praised for their apparent agelessness, and why Demi Moore and Nicole Kidman struggle to reinvigorate their stardom. Indeed, the most flattering form of praise for a longtime female star isn’t “Look at their varied and complex career!” but “[Insert Star Here] Doesn’t Age!”

          What do we make, however, of the cult of 47-year-old Connie Britton? The silver fox praise of Helen Mirren, who is 69? The love for Julianna Margulies (48), and Viola Davis (49), and Vera Farmiga (41)? It’s simple: All of their images (at least for American audiences) are rooted in a “mature” version of beauty. No one criticizes them for aging on screen because they’ve seemingly always already been aging.

          For Zellweger, whose stardom was forged in her late twenties, that’s simply not an option — especially without the sort of roles, television- or film-based, that would help audiences work through that transition. The last time we really “saw” her, she was that old image. Now she’s labeled a distortion of it, even though, in truth, it’s society’s reaction that’s the dark mirror of our expectations — not Zellweger’s still beautiful face.

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        • Renee Zellweger’s Changing Face – See All The Pics:

          http://www.fame10.com/entertainment/renee-zellwegers-changing-face-see-all-the-pics/

          Renee Zellweger has been making headlines for the last couple of days and not for the right reasons. She’s been looking a bit different lately, almost like she’s had some Botox, fillers and an unnecessary eyelift. People had some difficulty recognizing the Academy Award-winning actress recently because she looks like a different person! Renee has not admitted that her new appearance is the result of plastic surgery; however, there is no other explanation for the change. Join us as we take a look at how her looks have changed over the years!

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  21. Snarky McWeggZeller

    “Zellweger used a tape of The Whole Wide World to convince her future Jerry Maguire director, Cameron Crowe, that she could convincingly play a 20-something woman.”

    Is this particularly challenging for a 27-year-old female?

    Like

  22. re: The harsh reality is, as Zellweger has entered her 40′s, her baby-girl voice and kewpie-doll cheeks just don’t seem that cute anymore.

    As with Meg Ryan, whose cute-and-perky routine hasn’t aged well, as with Renee Z and the above.

    Also, while I think RZ is a darn fine actress, being in a few, nearly consecutive box-office disappointments/bombs is enough to derail ANYone’s career. (Heck, I’m old enough to recall that circa 1970 Elliott Gould was one of THE H’wood male stars, and by 1975 he was appearing in B-movies such as “Who?”) Now H’wood has a new(er) crop of fresh cuties to choose from and the suits ain’t gonna waste time/$ on someone that’s not going to put butts in the seats.

    Like

    • You got that right. Actresses have to choose their roles carefully. Especially given how few good scripts are out there for them. It doesn’t take much for Hollywood to decide it’s time to move on to the next pretty face.

      Like

    • I think another problem w/ Renee perhaps, is that she kind of developed a reputation or public perception (much like for example, Kim Basinger, Daryl Hannah, and Alicia Silverstone if we’re going to keep it within the WTHHT community) of being just plain weird (and not in an adorable or charming sort of way) or neurotic. For example, Renee he reportedly nearly turned down the role in “Bridget Jones’ Diary” because it meant having to leave her dog behind due to Britain’s quarantine laws. Then she entered into a quickie marriage to Kenny Chesney, for which she had annulled a few months later citing “fraud” as the reason. Her strange appearance at the Oscars (in which it seemed like she was either intoxicated or high on drugs if not both) earlier this year didn’t help either.

      When I posted this WTHHT article on Renee Zellweger’s IMDb message board, somebody replied by showing me this “blind item” that speculates that Renee might actually have a drinking problem:

      http://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2013/09/todays-blind-items-lost-in-booze.html

      Like

      • Yeah, I’ve heard rumors she’s a booze hound. When the Oscars aired, we had an immediate spike in traffic. The number one search term was “Renee Zellweger drunk”. We had thousands of hits in ten minutes as soon as she showed up on camera.

        Like

      • Today’s Blind Items – No One Likes Her:

        http://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2013/10/todays-blind-items-no-one-likes-her.html

        This former A list mostly movie actress who always seems so sunny and cheery and very peace and love is actually not so nice unless there is something in it for her. She also has rubbed her co-stars the wrong way. A lot. When is the last time you saw her star again with someone? A franchise where she was contractually obligated to. The only people she is nice to are those who make her money or know about her drug use even though she tries her best to keep it quiet. There is one A+ list mostly movie actor who referred to her as the c word and said he would never talk to her again. He hasn’t. he has had chances to make movies with her and has turned down millions of dollars and moved on to something better. The actor is foreign born.

        The men in her life are all subject to her wrath and all of them end up distancing themselves from her. She can be violent and petty and is the meanest person alive when she has been drinking. Literally she will threaten to kill you. When she smokes pot is the only time she is friendly. Oh or for the cameras that used to follow her everywhere and that she longs for again. She used to make tons of movies. Ask yourself why she doesn’t any longer. No one likes her. Definitely not Anne Hathaway.

        vodianova said…
        The first person who came to mind was Kate Hudson, but then I realized she hasn’t done a franchise/something she was contractually obliged to return to for a sequel. So I can rule her out. Then I thought of Cameron Diaz and Halle Berry, but both work all the time and people still pay attention to them, so I can rule them out. Julia Roberts never had to return for a sequel to a franchise, so she’s out.

        It’s Renee Zellweger. Everything fits. The franchise was Bridget Jones’s Diary and she had to work with the same people again because they did a sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. She has a history of drug abuse and does a good job keeping it quiet. She was always making movies in the late 90’s and early 2000’s until her career crashed and burned. The foreign born A-lister could be Hugh Grant. He seems like the type of guy who would call people the c word, plus that’s a generally common word used in Britain. She doesn’t even act anymore. I see pictures of her at fashion shows and random launches here and there, but she just stopped doing movies. The last time I remember seeing her in a movie was Cold Mountain, which came out in 2003. She also appears to be very peaceful and sunny on the surface.

        11:26 PM

        Like

  23. Report: “Dancing with the Stars” wants an all-Oscar winners season, featuring Renee Zellwegger:

    http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2013/12/renee-zellweger-approached-to-do-dancing-with-the-stars/

    A source tells Radar Online that Zellwegger would be the “lynchpin” of a season made up of Oscar winners.

    Like

    • Why the hell not? It’d be nice if some Oscar winners could get some work and spotlight! It would beat doing one of those “situation” reality shows, like “Washed-up Celeb Rehab: See Who’s Next to Die” (boo to you, Doc Drew) or “A Dozen Washed-up Celebs Live In a House and Want to Kill Each Other.”

      Like

      • I might actually watch that. Although I would think Zellweger would be a shoe-in unless they also manage to cast other Oscar winners with a lot of dance experience.

        Like

  24. Wonder was it Renee’s Cinderella Man cast mate Russell Crowe who might’ve said he
    wouldn’t work with her again,perhaps???

    Like

    • I would be surprised. By then, I don’t think Crowe’s opinion carried much weight. If Howard had trashed talked Zellweger, that would be one thing. But Crowe was already drifting into irrelevance himself.

      Like

  25. You know, I’ve noticed that she never wears earrings. Interesting.

    Like

  26. I seriously wonder if John Travolta is “this year’s Renee Zellweger” in that, his appearance (and in the process, butchering the pronunciation of Idina Menzel’s name when compared to Renee’s possible drunk act from last year) at the Academy Awards actually dramatically spiked traffic for LeBeau’s slot?

    Like

    • We didn’t see a lot of traffic for Travolta. But we did have a good night. The Oscars always send people to Google which directs them to us.

      On the sidebar, you can see the top 10 articles at any given time. So if you’re ever wondering what is trending here, just look to the right. You will almost always see Val Kilmer and Bridget Fonda’s pretty faces.

      The thing with Travolta is that he is almost too big. Someone like Bridget Fonda, we can get on the first page of Google searches. So even though not a lot of people necessarily Google Bridget Fonda, the ones that do see this page high on the results. Travolta, we’re probably buried several pages back.

      Like

    • Oh, in case anyone wants to travoltify your name.

      Mine is Louisa.
      Daffy Stardust is Derry Shunter

      Like

  27. I’m just NOW reading this (a year after you posted), and, while I have nothing constructive to add to the comments, I just had to “WHOA” the recent pic of Renee. When I saw the “after” of the side-by-side image, I thought “Who the f**k is that?!” She is unrecognizable, and NOT in a good way. I never have any idea what is going on with celebrity’s personal lives so not being aware of her rumored plastic surgery made it even MORE shocking. But YIKES! (I will NEVER understand why attractive and/or young Hollywood types DO that to themselves. You should do a WTHH photo montage of people in the biz who have ruined their faces. :/ ) I’m curious if her face will affect the Bridget Jones threequal. . .I’m imagining that completely altering the face that made her famous and the one the public recognizes will only hurt whatever future attempts she may make at jump starting her career.

    Like

    • daffystardust

      I think Weird Al missed a big chance to parody Lady GaGa’s “Pokerface” with a goof on plastic surgery called “Jokerface.”

      Like

    • I’m not really expecting that third Bridget Jones will actually happen. I’ll believe it when I see it.

      When I started the WTHH series, I knew next to nothing about plastic surgery. Wasn’t interested. Now, it’s like a necessary evil. I can’t avoid the before and after pictures. One thing I have noticed is that right after the surgery, there are almost always Joker-face pictures. But given a little time to heal, their faces usually return to something resembling normalcy. I think Nicole Kidman looks fine most of the time. But if you see her right after a treatment, she’s scary.

      Like

  28. Wow, I just remembered that I have “Empire Records” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The next generation” on DVD, while having “Love and the .45″ and “Nurse Betty” on VHS (yes, I still use VHS here and there). I always thought Renee Zellweger was always good in what I viewed her in (the Bridget Jones deal isn’t for me), but I guess her career was bound to cool off some.
    Yeah, I noticed years ago that her face changed dramatically (didn’t really understand the need even then), and I actually think this round of surgery looks better than the mid/late 2000’s procedures.

    Like

    • I was a Zellweger fan as well. My anti-rom com stance is pretty well-known. But I make an exception for the first Bridget Jones. It’s a legitimately good movie.

      Like

    • jeffthewildman

      I also own Empire Records on DVD. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. I always felt it was one movie that got overlooked on account of being released in the shadow of Clueless. Like I wrote about it elsewhere:

      Empire Records lacks the never ending hilarity of Clerks and the depth of Dazed And Confused. But what makes this movie work to me is the characters and dialogue.

      Give me it over anything with Freddie Prinze Jr or any of that Twilight twaddle.

      Like

      • I liked Empire Records in the 90s. But I don’t think it has aged very well. It hinged on the idea that indie record stores were vital and should be protected against the big chain stores. Now the big chain stores are defunct.

        The movie was always sort of a weird blend of other teen movies that never fully worked for me. But it had enough charms to win me over. Those charms have faded a little. But it’s still an all right movie.

        Like

        • Despite the fact that it was not a very good movie, the idea that independent record stores filled an important role which chain stores by their nature were incapable of was absolutely correct. The record store has pretty much died in all forms now, but I see that as an unfortunate result of technological advance. I will never get the pleasure from downloads that I did for many years of frequenting indie record stores. I don’t spend as much money through downloads, either.

          Like

          • Oh don’t get me wrong. I agree with the importance of the indie record store. I frequented them myself. In college, I bought all my stuff from Squecial Media. This place was as indie as they come. It was a converted house. The top floor had hippie clothes and a glass case filled with “pipes”. The basement was a video store which had a very eclectic collection of bootlegs. The main floor was music, books and various other oddities. I only made legal purchases there, but I’m guessing most of their profit was made under the table.

            My point was just that the movie has become less relevant in the age of downloads.

            Like

            • Oh, I agree; whatever cache “Empire Records ” brought back in 1995 is likely unrelatable to 15-26 year old set. For myself, I viewed this film during an era when I was becoming an adult, so it means more to me as a time capsule than a good picture nowadays.

              Like

              • jeffthewildman

                Definitely. While a Fast Times or a Dazed or a Breakfast Club has a certain timelessness to it, Empire Records is of its time and aspects of it do not hold up that well. Part of the reason why I like it that much might be nostalgia for the spirit of that era. But I try not to get caught up in nostalgia. I don’t really get nostalgic for HS itself (was a junior when Empire came out). But I do get nostalgic for my school’s radio station and in some ways Empire reminds me of that.

                Like

                • Ah heck, I just opened up more space for some of the DVD’s I couldn’t store with the rest, and “Empire Records” was part of the forgetten, now included. Maybe I’ll give it another viewing in the upcoming weeks.
                  I don’t have “Dazed and Confused” or “The Breakfast Club” in my collection, but I am fond of both films (moreso “The Breakfast Club”). I do have “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” on DVD, and the commentary track with Amy Heckerling and Cameron Crowe is fantastic (I love how they continue to talk even after the credits end). Funny thing: I also own the B grade horror flick “Chopping Mall” and they filmed at the same mall as Fast Times.

                  Like

        • How “Empire Records” Became The Unlikely Film Of A Generation:

          http://www.buzzfeed.com/annehelenpetersen/how-empire-records-became-the-unlikely-film-of-a-generation#3csj7h0

          Engineered to be the teen-movie equivalent of the mid-’90s alt-rock zeitgeist, Empire Records flopped in the theaters, only to become a cult classic a generation later. For the first time, the people who made the movie talk about how it came together, why it bombed, and how it found its second life.

          Like

  29. Let’s bid Renee a happy 45th today!!!!

    Like

  30. Re: Renee Zellweger:

    http://www.datalounge.com/cgi-bin/iowa/ajax.html?t=10677425#page:showThread,10677425,2

    A prime example of how frauen can make and break a career. When she started out, they thought of her as relatable. It culminated in that Bridget Jones movie where she was chubby and likeable. Once she turned into an anorexic squinting bobblehead with a string of gay husbands/boyfriends, the appeal was gone.

    by: Anonymous reply 30 07/31/2011 @ 09:11AM

    I liked her in the first Bridget Jones movie. She has a gift for comedy. She would be better off as a character actress than “a Hollywood star.” She is cute, but that wears off quickly. You can’t get away by acting cute in a movie when you are a 40 something woman. It doesn’t work for Julia Roberts and it won’t work for Sandra Bullock for much longer.

    by: I guess I’m agreeing with R4. reply 35 07/31/2011 @ 10:48AM

    She strikes me as a little bit mentally ill.

    Seems very sweet, certainly (though there are a few stories about her stubbornly erratic behavior on certain sets– so maybe she’s a closeted a**hole.)

    But also crazy.

    by: Anonymous reply 44 07/31/2011 @ 11:23AM

    Like

  31. I strongly suspect that short-lived marriage and its subsequent, mysterious annulment sank her career. Kenny Chesney’s fan base was larger than hers, and they all started despising her because the weird legalese in the annulment was interpreted as a claim by her that Chesney is gay. That’s grounds for bitter enmity from country music fans, who are legion. She also make some bad choices, but then again when it looked like she might have turned herself into box office poison to millions of American country music fans, maybe offers for good roles started drying up. Yeah, she looks drunk in the Oscar video clip. But if this was the tenth anniversary of your winning an Oscar and you had to smile through some forced celebration of that knowing you’re now a has been and a footnote, wouldn’t you have to get sauced up just to make it through the night? I know I would.

    Like

    • Yeah, a lot of people get toasted at those type of social engagements, Hollywood or otherwise. Besides, maybe “Chicago” wan’t a fond experience for Renee Zellweger; I know I think it’s okay, but a bit self-indulgent and overstuffed (similiar to “Moulin Rogue!” in my mind).

      Like

      • I wouldn’t get quite so visibly drunk if I knew I was going to be on stage and therefore on camera. Especially if I was an actress who had been out of the spotlight for a while and might be looking to get back into it.

        Like

    • I may be wrong, but I think you are overestimating the backlash over the Kenny Chesney annulment. Admittedly, I am not a country music fan. I have heard the name Kenny Chesney, but couldn’t name one of his songs or pick him out of a lineup. But I think Zellweger’s career was sliding. The quickie marriage and weird terms of the annulment just added fuel to the fire.

      Like

      • Yeah, I don’t think that marriage (or whatever it was) had an impact. It goes to show that acting is difficult. It’s always more than what you do, at leasthe judge says.

        Like

  32. I meant “least the”. My typing? C- at best:-)

    Like

  33. Just a note . . . those of us who aren’t into country music are clueless about its wide appeal and the huge number of fans it has. Basically, we’re clueless because we like to sneer and look down our noses at its audience (c’mon, admit it, you pretentious poseurs). Well, they outnumber us. By a lot. The Beatles might have been bigger than Jesus, but Garth Brooks very likely was bigger than The Beatles at the height of his touring career.

    Like

    • daffystardust

      music snobs will look down on anybody whose tastes are not minted. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become less of a snob, but there are still individual artists who just make my brain miserable. Modern country music is one of the lesser of the guilty.

      Like

  34. rhodiegreenhound

    I actually have only heard very nice comments about Renee from her costars. In one article, Colin Firth said she was the most down to earth and genuinely nice actress he had ever worked with. Similar comments from Tom Cruise, Jude Law, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman and Russell Crowe (who doesn’t bestow kind words too often) Even Howard Stern, during an interview with Bradley Cooper, had nice things to say about her. I really do not think that the above article “about an actress that no one likes”, applies to Renee Zellweger. It doesn’t even sound at all like her! Someone only interested in herself would not involve herself in charities (under the radar, with little to no publicity) to the extent that Renee does.
    I really think that many people do not know what to make of an actress like Renee……she doesn’t dress for the paparazzi on a daily basis and is just busy living her life.
    I would like to see her act again! I think she is an excellent actress, however, I do understand that not everyone is attracted to the same types of actors, roles, etc.
    Hopefully she will find the right roles again soon…….or have success in writing and directing, which she has an interest in. I know she has been writing some in recent years.

    Like

    • Reason number 587 why I’d never make it as a celebrity. The warts that are part of ordinary life for most people, become magnified a thousand fold when you’re in the limelight. Oddly enough I was channel surfing a bit last night and watched a few minutes of “Down with Love” never heard of it. Didn’t have time to watch it for long but what I did see, Zellweger was giving a nice Marilyn-esque performance in something that was kind of “Some Like It Hot.”
      Nice comment Rhodiegreenhound.

      Like

    • I definitely wish her well in whatever she has planned for the future whether or not that includes a return to acting.

      Like

  35. I think Zellweger had that it factor for that time, and was good for romantic comedies, she is a good actress she has that cute, kinda sexy, quirky, nerdy look with an air of vulnerability. In Hollywood her run will be considered an awesome run! Think about it 95% of actors don’t come close to her record. The thing they have to put in their minds enjoy the ride because this may not last, I’m it today but somebody maybe it tomorrow but we know this is tough to do.

    Like

    • She had an incredible run. I was a big fan of hers in the 90s and up through Chicago. She was easily one of the top actresses in the biz. I understand that actresses have a shelf-life on the A-list. But it was surprising just how quickly she faded from view and then jarring to see her making public appearances where she seemed to be drunk and was unrecognizable.

      Like

  36. speaking chicago where is what hell happen to gere because his career has been spotty since chicago he had flop after flop and say what you want about zellegwegger she still has better career then gere its about quality not quantity gere may have had a lot more films then her but most of them sucks.

    Like

    • I’d still give Gere the nod. He’s working. Zellweger is not. Working always beats not working when you’re talking about the health of an acting career.

      Like

  37. but so is alot of the people on your list there still working. eddie muphy costner stallone and keaton. Its about quality and quantity and that something geres resume don’t have. He was in movie43. Which speaking of that movie dennis qauid was in it who also needs an article to

    Like

    • One thing I have learned writing this series over the last 4 years is that once you reach a certain level of fame, you will always be able to find work somewhere. Steve Guttenberg still works. Most people just don’t realize it. The only ones who don’t work are the ones who have had enough like Rick Moranis or Bridget Fonda.

      As far as overall career, Zellweger’s is impressive. She had a really good run with lots of memorable films. Quality and quantity. But in terms of the health of her career today, I’d say she doesn’t have one. She’s all but retired.

      Like

  38. thats where your wrong she has a movie with keanu reeves (another potental candidate on your list) called whole truth comes out next year looks good

    Like

  39. with keanu in it it well

    Like

    • As you point out, Reeves hasn’t exactly been on a winning streak lately either.

      I hope it’s a big hit and reignites both of their careers. But right now his is struggling and hers is on life support.

      Like

  40. i know keanu isnt in a winning streak but for some strange reason he is still considered a list and he never had a straight to dvd movie i dont see that happening anytime soon and iam sure renne chooses not to work she must have had lots of offers

    Like

    • Agreed on both points.

      She has been doing some interviews recently which suggests she is trying to work her way back into the spotlight at least a little bit. Honestly, I don’t think there’s any chance she will return to the A-list at this point. But hopefully she will find some career satisfaction.

      Like

  41. i dont think we can say theres no chance because bullock career was in the morgue before blind side and proposal we cant really an actor wont ever have a comeback because theres always gonna be a top director wanting to cast that person in next movie

    Like

  42. no but think of it this way maybe her not working in 5 years means she is trying to find the right script instead of picking bad movies each year .maybe she this movie with keanu wil be hit thats why she picked it

    Like

  43. i mean she just has to stray away from romantic comedies not that hers suck cause she makes romcom but she needs a strong dramatic role like cold mountain

    Like

    • A good Bridget Jones movie would be the quickest way for her to get back into the spotlight. The problem is, she doesn’t look like Bridget Jones anymore.

      Like

  44. true sad thing about actress is there are less roles written for older actress which why there careers are shorter unfair but true she is going to make a bridget jones movie where she is a mom it should be good but she dont want to go the stallone way and go to familiar terrioty for an instant hit she has talent and needs to branch out again

    Like

  45. that could work but i see in a martin scorsea flick she would be a good fit for or maybe a sitcom

    Like

  46. another bridget jones 3 would help maybe her being a mom

    Like

  47. I love Renee. She’s a terrific comedy actress. Hope she could comeback with good hits. Hollywood doesn’t have many comedic actress like her and Sandra for the new generations. Emma stone is great but she’s not charismatic or Tina and Amy were not movie material. Cameron Diaz is too old for rom com now. U know any great upcoming comedy actress? I would love to see Naomi Watts do comedy though.

    Like

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