Yesterday Renee Zellweger posted a Huffpost essay about the media-storm response to Owen Gleiberman’s 6.30.16 Variety piece…blah blah here we go again. You know, the one that riffed on the obvious fact that the Zellweger of yore — the actress who costarred in Jerry Maguire, Bridget Jones Diary and Cold Mountain — is no more. Not looking older or attractively seasoned but “somehow upgraded,” as I put it on 7.3.
Zellweger’s piece (“We Can Do Better“) isn’t a tit-for-tat response to Gleiberman’s, although that would have been interesting. And why she waited four or five weeks to finally jump in is a head-scratcher. Laziness? Did her publicist suggest that speaking her piece two or three weeks before the press junket for Bridget Jones Baby (Universal, 9.16) will give her something to point to when the inevitable smarmy questions are asked?
Zellweger’s main beef seems to be that mainstream media types are lowering the bar when they discuss anyone’s physical evolution or strategic enhancement. She understands that supermarket tabloid coverage will always be cruel and tacky, but feels that grade-A types like Gleiberman should steer clear. “The ‘eye surgery’ tabloid story itself did not matter,” she states, “but it became the catalyst for my inclusion in subsequent legitimate news stories about self-acceptance and women succumbing to social pressure to look and age a certain way. In my opinion, that tabloid speculations become the subject of mainstream news reporting does matter.”
Well, yeah, agreed. Except when you’ve had work done that screams “WORK!” louder than Maynard G. Krebs.
Plastic surgery always settles down and becomes a little less noticable after three or four weeks, but when Zellweger was photographed in October 2014 it was obvious she’d been up to something. The eyes don’t lie. And yet in her article Zellweger blames tabloid reporters, not photographs, for creating a “contrived scandal.” Quote: “In October 2014, a tabloid newspaper article reported that I’d likely had surgery to alter my eyes. It was just one more story in the massive smut pile generated every day by the tabloid press and fueled by exploitative headlines and folks who practice cowardly cruelty from their anonymous internet pulpits.”
Then she throws in the same standard whopper that many actresses (the ballsy Jane Fonda excepted) and p.r. reps have uttered in response to questions about touch-ups: “Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes.” Somebody decided for her, she means?
If you want the truth, consider the following Zellweger statement: “I am not writing in protest to the repellent suggestion that the value of a person and her professional contributions are somehow diminished if she presumably caves to societal pressures about appearance.” Translation: “Not only is there nothing wrong in ‘doing something’ about my appearance, especially considering that I’m pushing 50 and about to appear in a big-studio romcom about a woman having a baby, but my having done what almost every other 45-and-older actress has done to stay in the game in no way diminishes or degrades my skills as an actress.” HE response: Total agreement.
Consider this quote also: “I’m not writing because I believe it’s an individual’s right to make decisions about his or her body for whatever reason without judgment.” Translation: I have obviously made a certain decision about my body for reasons I consider valid, and you can take whatever judgment you may have about that and shove it.” HE response: Ditto.
I would only repeat, as I said on 7.3, that nobody cares if you’ve had work (I don’t blame any actress or actor for going down that path) as long as the result is not too glaring. You just have to keep it subtle.