Jerry Maguire

InStyle (USA) - - Instyle -

On Zell­weger: Alexan­dra Golo­vanoff cardi­gan. Vic­to­ria Beck­ham skirt. Fendi pumps. On model: Brunello Cucinelli suit. Louis Vuit­ton Men’s shirt and shoes.

WWe all know the ob­vi­ous things about Renée Zell­weger: that she’s been one of the world’s most vi­brant ac­tresses for 26 years; that she is, fa­mously, from Texas; that she loves a base­ball cap and a fit­ted strap­less evening gown in equal mea­sure. But what you re­ally need to know is that this lady has all the beauty tricks. I first met Zell­weger in 2007, and to this day I still use a Bobbi Brown eye­brow pen­cil she rec­om­mended for blondes. A dozen years later we are sit­ting at din­ner at the Sun­set Tower Ho­tel in L.A., and she is spray­ing me lib­er­ally with Skin Up beauty mist, a hyaluronic-acid con­coc­tion that, for a glo­ri­ous moment, makes you feel newly born. “Here it comes!” she says, hoot­ing. “Ready?”

Zell­weger is highly con­tained, cour­te­ous, and mod­est to a fault, but her hid­den bag of tricks is an apt anal­ogy for her tal­ent. A typ­i­cal ex­change with her (in this case, about 2001’s Brid­get Jones’s Di­ary) will go like this:

Me: “You had com­plete own­er­ship of ev­ery part of that movie, and I think many of our mem­o­ries of women having real com­mand on the screen are from that.” Renée: “Oh!”

And that’s that.

Zell­weger doesn’t waste time with prat­tle, chan­nel­ing her dis­tinct en­er­gies onto the screen. By now we’ve read the rave re­views of her per­for­mance as Judy Gar­land dur­ing her later years in the biopic Judy, but you must see it to be­lieve it. Zell­weger phys­i­cal­izes Gar­land in such an ex­tra­or­di­nary way, she al­most vi­brates.

Her works speaks for it­self. That said, she’ll eat some fries and ex­plain it.

LAURA BROWN: You are a per­former in your bones, and we can feel it. In one of the scenes in Judy, you were walk­ing down a hall vis­i­bly hunched over. How did you go about that? RENÉE ZELL­WEGER: I de­scribe it as a shared se­ries of ex­per­i­ments with the dif­fer­ent film de­part­ments. We were just try­ing things, and so walk­ing down that hall was just an ongoing con­ver­sa­tion about the vary­ing de­grees of sever­ity. How she gets from the bathroom to the stage, and mak­ing de­ci­sions about what to show when, and mak­ing sure there is con­ti­nu­ity. There were mul­ti­ple col­lab­o­ra­tions hap­pen­ing within my body at once. [laughs]

LB: How much does a per­for­mance like the one in Judy take out of you?

RZ: I was tired and skinny when we fin­ished this. The sched­ule is pretty pun­ish­ing, but it’s fi­nite. You know that af­ter this se­ries of months, you can catch up a lit­tle. But, yeah, this one was big. It was big be­cause I was greedy. I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep dig­ging.

LB: Is there an­other role or per­son you’re greedy for?

RZ: Yes, but it may take a lit­tle bit of au­dac­ity to get it mov­ing. We’ll see.

LB: What’s the most au­da­cious thing you’ve done?

RZ: I moved to L.A. when I was 24. [laughs] I drove here. It was 1993, af­ter the ri­ots, and I only knew about three people. I re­mem­ber be­ing re­ally struck by the mas­sive bill­boards ev­ery­where.

LB: What did you do for your birth­day in April? [Zell­weger turned 50.]

RZ: I im­ported. I had my fam­ily here for the birth­day, and we danced all night and ate too much. It was good.

LB: Do you ever think about how time has passed? It’s such a strange thing be­ing a grown-up.

RZ: It doesn’t con­sume me be­cause it’s in­evitable. It’s a priv­i­lege. And, I don’t know, I’d rather celebrate each phase of my life and be present in it than mourn some­thing that’s passed. I don’t want to miss this moment to be some­thing that I used to be. That’s for some­one else now. And good luck to them, be­cause you have to sur­vive a lot to move for­ward to your next state. I’m not say­ing I’m can­cel­ing my gym mem­ber­ship any­time soon, be­cause I’m not. [laughs] I’d rather be a healthy, pro­duc­tive woman in each stage of my life than apolo­getic. I also don’t want to per­pet­u­ate the no­tion that some­how mov­ing for­ward in your life is wrong. LB: Right.

RZ: I had this re­ally fun con­ver­sa­tion with Maria Shriver when we were both on the To­day show [in Septem­ber]. They were do­ing this seg­ment on older women and were speak­ing with Rita Wil­son about the value of older women. So, we were having this con­ver­sa­tion about how you change the mis­con­cep­tions about the ex­pe­ri­ence of ag­ing. How do we change how people value older women? And I thought, “Well, I guess it starts with us. With women de­ter­min­ing and ex­press­ing what we value in our­selves.” That means what we cham­pion with our choices and how we present our­selves.

LB: But wouldn’t it be great to get to the point where it’s just not even a con­ver­sa­tion?

RZ: Well, Ruth Bader Gins­burg. [laughs]

LB: When it’s “This girl is 15, and this lady is 65,” and they’re both just…alive.

RZ: It’s not ag­ing. It’s grow­ing! It’s ac­qui­si­tion of the most valu­able things: ex­pe­ri­ence and knowledge and grace and insight. LB: There’s a cliché that ac­tors are “emo­tional” and “crazy,” but I think they are very tough be­cause they face judg­ment all the time. How have you steeled your­self over the years? RZ: Dif­fer­ent hard­ships that are un­ex­pected can sort of as­sist you mov­ing for­ward. With this job, it’s pe­cu­liar be­cause you’re not born with the fac­ul­ties to know how to han­dle the things that come your way. I found that shift­ing your per­spec­tive is re­ally im­por­tant. I don’t

Cold Moun­tain Dior dress, bralette, and panties. Eric Jav­its hat. Golden Goose sneak­ers.

Brid­get Jones’s Di­ary Fendi jacket and belt. Roger Vivier pumps. BEAUTY BEAT Give legs a sexy sheen with a body lo­tion that has a touch of shim­mer, such as Aveeno Pos­i­tively Ra­di­ant Body Lo­tion ($13; ama­zon.com).

Nurse Betty Mu­gler jacket. Bat­sheva blouse.

Dolce & Gab­bana blazer and body­suit. Schi­a­par­elli Haute Cou­ture dress. Manolo Blah­nik pumps. BEAUTY BEAT When your out­fit has glitz, keep your lip color low-key and nat­u­ral. Try a rosy-nude shade like Shi­seido Vi­sion­airy Gel Lip­stick in Bul­let Train ($26; shi­seido.com). Chicago

Gucci blou­son, T-shirt, and pants. Golden Goose sneak­ers. Hair: Chris Mcmil­lan for Solo Artists. Makeup: Kin­dra Mann for Tom­lin­son Man­age­ment Group. Man­i­cure: Christina Aviles Aude for Star Touch Agency. Set de­sign: Gille Mills for The Mag­net Agency. Dazed and Con­fused

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