Preview: Renée Zellweger on portraying Judy Garland, and the price of fame

Academy Award-winner Renee Zellweger talks about portraying Judy Garland and also the challenges of fame in a revealing interview with Lee Cowan for "CBS Sunday Morning" to be broadcast September 22.

Zellweger, known for her work in such films as "Cold Mountain," "Jerry Maguire" and the "Bridget Jones's Diary" franchise, portrays the iconic, yet deeply troubled entertainer Judy Garland in "Judy." The film, opening later this month, has already earned Zellweger critical acclaim and generated Oscar buzz.

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Renée Zellweger as entertainer Judy Garland trying to stage a comeback in 1960s London in the film "Judy." LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions

"There is something other-worldly and undeniable," Zellweger said of Garland, who was just 47 when she died in 1969.

The film focuses on the end of Garland's career, when audiences sometimes tossed dinner rolls at her during off-balanced performances. There were also unflattering portrayals in the media.

Zellweger said she understands some of the challenges Garland faced in the public eye, though not to the same degree. Growing up, Zellweger had not planned to be an actor, but an acting class at the University of Texas changed everything. A series of film roles led to the hit "Jerry Maguire" with Tom Cruise, and her career soared.

"I don't know. I don't remember much of my 30s," Zellweger said. "Sounds like a joke, but it's true. But it just feels compressed. It feels like it just happened like that. So fast. I didn't want that to happen again."

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Actress Renée Zellweger with correspondent Lee Cowan. CBS News

She told Cowan she needed to press the pause button on her acting career, but remained active off-camera. "It was going by too fast," she said. "And then I started to repeat myself."

In a wide-ranging conversation, Zellweger talks with Cowan about breaking into the business, her career, stepping back from making films for a while, and her return.

She also talks about the controversy over a 2014 red carpet appearance that created speculation about her perceived change of appearance, and her decision to go public about society's sexist double standards.

"At that point it had become necessary, not for me as an actress, but as a citizen or a person who was looking at the bigger picture of that, the implication of that," Zellweger said. "It became necessary just to point at it, is all."

Zellweger said she is not sure anyone is born with the faculties to navigate fame and celebrity.

"I like normalcy, and I like genuine exchanges with people. I like to meet people," she said.

Being a celebrity, she said, changes that experience: "Well, it enters the room before you do, and so any perception of who you might be, that's who they meet."

To watch a trailer for "Judy," click on the video player below:

JUDY | Official Trailer by LD Entertainment on YouTube

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