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10 Directors to Watch: Stage-Savvy Rupert Goold Makes Renée Zellweger Shine in ‘Judy’

At 47, Goold is hardly a greenhorn. The British theater director’s production of “Ink,” about Rupert Murdoch’s print-stained start, transferred to Broadway last spring. His staging of “The Hunt,” based on the Thomas Vinterberg film, opened in June at the Almeida Theatre, where he’s been artistic director since 2013. His résumé also features a slew of well-received television adaptations.

Yet, the success of “Judy,” Goold’s second feature, following Jonah Hill-James Franco two-hander “True Story,” finds him sounding positively giddy at the prospect of directing more movies.

“I still feel very new to screen work. I still feel very much in the infancy of my journey,” Goold says by phone from London, where he lives with his wife, actress Kate Fleetwood, and their two children.

“Years and years ago, I used to act a tiny bit in college,” Goold says with a deprecating laugh. “I think it’s important to say to the performer, I’m going to try to bring no ego to the process. Not that I won’t be manipulative at times, be strict at times, but I want [them] to recognize all I’m after is what we want to do with the character.”

Renée Zellweger’s glimmer-and-shards performance in “Judy” hints at profound trust between movie star and director.

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“My theater work is kind of consciously kinetic, kind of razzle dazzle. The two films have been more chamber-like,” he says. “I’d like to do something that may have a slightly more visual sensibility.”
Razzle dazzle? It’s hard not to enjoy the echo — not least because Zellweger’s Oscar nomination for “Chicago.”

“I’m interested in doing a musical project, which could be really exciting. Two of the things I’m developing are period dramas, although in different worlds.” And here a note of sweet agitation rises in his voice. “I feel like a young man when it comes to the screen. I have energy.”

Agency: William Morris Endeavor; Natasha Galloway at United Agents

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