The Oscar-winning actress brings the late Hollywood icon to life in the first official preview of theater director Rupert Goold's upcoming chronicle adapted from Peter Quilter's musical End of the Rainbow.
In her first leading role in a movie since 2016's Bridget Jones's Baby, Zellweger portrays Garland one year before before her death from an accidental drug overdose at age 47, as the Wizard of Oz star arrives in London to front a series of sold-out concerts at the Talk of the Town nightclub (now known as the Hippodrome) between 1968 and 1969.
To prepare for the part, Zellweger reportedly took music lessons and studied Garland's choreography from the Talk of the Town performances. She previously told PEOPLE she spent two hours per day undergoing hair and makeup application in order to complete her transformation via contact lenses, wigs, and elaborate costumes.
"It was such a joy learning about the magnificence of this person," she said of preparing for the part. "I always admired her. She was so quick and so funny. She could hit the ball back with the best of them."