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Renee Zellweger Steps Up Respect for Hoofers after 'Chicago'
Tue, Nov 19, 2002, 08:11 PM PT

HOLLYWOOD (Zap2it.com) - Gliding gracefully down a staircase in stilettos does not come naturally for "Jerry Maguire" star Renée Zellweger. Kicking up her heels as homicidal dancer, Roxie Hart, in the movie "Chicago" , Texan Zellweger, 37, tells People Magazine, "I have newfound respect for every beauty contestant who has ever walked down a staircase in heels without looking."

Bridget Jones has something new to write in her diary. In "Chicago", Zellweger engages in high-stepping high jinx with co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones, 33, cast as the voluptuous vixen, Velma Kelley. In this musical tale of crime and corruption, the deadly duo sing, dance and murder their mates.

Golden Globe winner Zellweger was floored by co-star Zeta-Jones' musical talents on the set. All that fancy footwork fencing with Zorro paid off for Zeta-Jones.

In "Chicago", the raven-haired beauty really struts her stuff. Zellweger, who in 2001 was chosen by People Magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world, confessed that Zeta-Jones taught her to dance in the film.

What's more, in the tradition of formerly silent sirens of the screen who suddenly turn songbird, (Meryl Streep in "Postcards from the Edge" or Glenn Close in "Sunset Boulevard"), America's Sweetheart, Zeta-Jones packs a wallop as she knocks out "All that Jazz." The Welsh warbler stunned Zellweger, who tells People, "She belts it out. It's resounding. I'm like a little field mouse compared with her. 'Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.' It was beautiful."

Be that as it may, in the cat and mouse game that is the Oscar race, this mouse may be the winner. As reported by Robert Welkos in the Los Angeles Times, the early buzz from advance screenings pegs Zellweger as one of four early favorites for the best actress award. Absent from the list, Zeta-Jones may be left dancing in the dark.

Directed by Rob Marshall, the 1920's caper also stars Richard Gere (Billy Flynn), Lucy Liu (Go-to-Hell-Kitty), Christine Baranski (Mary Sunshine) and Queen Latifah (Matron Mama Morton).

  EXPLORE: Chicago (2002)

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