7 Ways Renée Zellweger Can Reclaim Her A-List Hollywood Standing

It was another lousy weekend to be Renée Zellweger at the box office. Her gloriously trashy psychological thriller Case 39 plunged off Paramount's shelf to a demoralizing if predictable seventh-place opening -- the Oscar-winner's fourth consecutive wide-release disappointment in two and half years. Theories abound as to what went wrong when, but there's no reason to look back when the 41-year-old actress has a wide-open future in front of her. Or does she? It couldn't hurt follow Movieline's fail-safe career advice:

1. Act, like, more often.

From Down With Love to Leatherheads to New in Town to Case 39, it's relatively easy to knock Zellweger's choices over the last six or seven years. The problem for her is that there's nothing else to deflect them. When she makes a pile of crap that stinks up the multiplex, the smell lingers long after the theater has recycled the standees and sent back the print. I mean, if Julia Roberts can make two movies in 2010, then Renée Zellweger can make at least three. (Come to think of it, why wasn't Zellweger the one flirting with real-life boyfriend Bradley Cooper in Valentine's Day?) Don't think of it as overexposure; think of it as increased exposure to potential success.

2. Stick with DreamWorks Animation.

Voice work is the easiest, best-paying gig in Hollywood -- and Zellweger is as close to a house talent as DWA has, having done three films (Shark Tale, Bee Movie and a smaller role in Monsters vs. Aliens) for Jeff Katzenberg & Co. since 2004. Total worldwide gross: Around $1.3 billion. So there's job security and mass-market presence, all without having to stick her surgically altered face on the line every time out. Which reminds me:

3. Quit with the plastic surgery.

I know some of you think I'm out for the cosmetic-surgery cheap shots all the time, but as an anonymous marketing exec told Anne Thompson over the weekend, "She's messed up her face and doesn't eat." I'm sorry, but it's just true. Let's accept it and resolve to move forward -- starting with the source. Yes, this means Botox, too.

4. Start a brilliant Twitter feed.

For better or worse, Twitter is an equalizer. If only Zellweger could corner the market on some ironic, perfectly pitched, moderately self-effacing Twitter persona, it could go a long way toward endearing herself as a personality as opposed to digging in as a fading star. Best of all: It's free. She could start today.

5. Do a Funny or Die video

She'd really have to take the piss for something like this (or, more importantly, have something of value to promote), but why couldn't Zellweger be the one hawking her "sex tape" or between two ferns with Zach Galifianakis? We know she can be funny, and we know she's versatile. This is a partnership worth making.

6. Do TV, preferably a guest role.

Zellweger is not ready to replace Steve Carell on The Office or anything, but you can bet she's ready to drop in as one of the front-running candidates to succeed Michael Scott at Dunder-Mifflin. Or maybe as an overearnest administrator on Community. Or maybe as a cutthroat football/cheerleader mom on Glee. Be creative! How is it that Zellweger's last TV part was in 2001, contributing the voice of a Texas ho bought from her pimp (voiced by Snoop Dogg!) on King of the HIll? The mind reels.

7. Buy the rights to My Own Love Song (and bury it forever).

Oh, I think you know why...

My Own Love Song - Extrait 2


  • Wellie says:

    Re: point #3 - There is something undeniably cruel about being judged against one's beauty peak for the rest of life, and it happens to every actress who achieves romantic leading lady stardom. Look at Rita Hayworth, who had to be judged against her "Gilda" prime and was cast as the haggard cast-off older love interest at 39(!) in "Pal Joey". Actresses who achieve success as character actors don't face the same fate. (Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevingy and Jane Lynch could work reliably for the next 30 yrs without being judged against their dewy, buxom, or bright eyed 25 yr old selves b/c they never made their fame & fortune for having those characteristics.)
    Theatre allows leading actresses to age and get better, richer roles as their 20s/30s era fades. And television allows for the reality that human beings do age and can remain vibrant. (Re: point #6.) But Hollywood is unforgiving. Melanie Griffith, Meg Ryan, Renee Zellweger, etc. have all made awful plastic surgery choices. But perhaps their real mistake was mutilation in an attempt to stay in a medium that will never welcome them after a certain point. It's an unfair situation, but had they transitioned to tv or the stage they might still be relevant and have the faces (albeit somewhat wrinkled) that made the public fall in love with them.

  • Trace says:

    Down with love is amazing. She's not big on releasing total stinkers, even if the movies she makea are heavily flawed.

  • Whodat says:

    Why does Renee get tagged w/ the Leatherheads failure stank? The story and screentime were just as much about Clooney and Krakinski - and Clooney directed it!

  • Charaze says:

    And Renee was such a good actress. Yeah, I agree with the first step, though. She should act more often. Her talent will go to waste if she won't.

  • Personal Best says:

    She was really good in "My One and Only." Of course, it didn't get much of a release. But she was really good!!!!

  • bgl says:

    I don't like her movies and I find her very difficult to watch. Watching her act is like watching paint dry. She is just boring. There are some performers that are very intriguing to watch even if the movie is absolute crap. Angelica Huston is like that. Julia Roberts has a touch of that. Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Susan Sarandon are like that too. But Renee just does not have the charisma to keep me interested in her performances. I really find her to be a boring person to watch and it doesn't matter what the film is. It's got nothing to do with plastic surgery or anything like that. She does not have enough personality to hold my attention on screen.

  • It would help if she could open her eyes fully.

  • stolidog says:

    She needs to do Julianna Moore's 50's era movies, but as a busted down, southern, seething, sour, judgmental, mega-bitch....there's gotta be a screenplay out there for that.

  • gbtw says:

    re the plastic surgery, could someone tell me where the bloat comes from (or is that from the coke she allegedly does?)... i want to make sure i never do that. her face doesn't look surgeried-out to me, it just looks BLOATED. what is that?

  • Rory says:

    Contrary to all your comments re plastic surgery and botox, Renee has had NO PLASTIC SURGERY and that is why you're whining about her 41 year old face. You empty vessels are so accustomed to looking at women of her age who have been operated upon, that you simply made your stupid assumption based on nothing. Renee always said that she wouldn't have plastic surgery...it's long been documented. She may have had botox injections, but who really cares.
    Also, most of her pictures, like "My One and Only" and "My Own True Love Song" did not get any kind of wide release, so who knows if they would have been a success? They were in a handful of theatres.
    Yes, she needs to appear in more movies, period. She should do the bitter-sweet, comedic type things that America always loves her in. Actually, she probably should do some stage work. Her goal in life is to write, not act and she has been producing. I expect to see her become a writer, producer, director at some point if she gets it together. I don't think she is as worried about her acting career as you are, my friend, as she has plenty of money and probably is not interested in doing what it takes to compete for parts that she probably doesn't want anyway.

  • Lizzie says:

    Never mind act more often, she could start with the basics and just learn to act...

  • Ray A. says:

    How about just one way to reclaim her standing: do movies that aren't crap. Renee had a great run from 2001-06 (Bridget Jones, White Oleander, Chicago, Cold Mountain, Cinderella Man, Miss Potter -- dag!) but hasn't had an acting part in a really good film since. (I'm not counting voiceovers here; she was a lot of fun voicing Ginormica.) Someone needs to get her onto the right scripts or something ...
    And enough of the Botox rumors. Her face has always looked like that, and I think it looks just fine. That's not her problem.

  • Ray A. says:

    Not even dignifying such ignorant snark with a response.

  • Ivan says:

    She just needs to choose better films. Nicole kidman needs to also do the same.

  • Michael says:

    8. Beg Helen Fielding to write another Bridget Jones book - and pray the movie turns out like the original and not the sequel.

  • Mark says:

    Persuade Cameron Crowe to direct a sequel to Jerry Maguire because we all know Jerry Maguire made her what she is today...

  • Cat says:

    She was not the voice of Ginormica - That was reese Witherspoon

  • little lulu says:

    "She may have had botox injections, but who really cares" - Over use of injectables can be as damaging as over use of a scalpel. I'd love to see a 41 year old face on screen in a leading female role - but it needs to be one with an expressive forehead! Or a face that has not had every line filled w/ Restalyne, etc. Both Kidman and Zellweger have gone from being naturally expressive actresses, to having these weird placid faces that give 60% (at best) of the emotion they are trying to convey.
    RZ reminds me a lot of Sally Field - they both excel at goofy, wistful, maternal, yearning. Zellweger needs to embrace her "Smokey & the Bandit"/"Murphy's Romance" side. Remind the audience that she's likeable, natural and warm and do while showing a few laugh lines. Pair her w/ a loose male lead like McConaughey and let us see her relax on screen.

  • I know. Zellweger voiced Katie.

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