Nobody watches Blu-rays anymore — thanks Netflix — but you really should watch the Blu-ray for Jerry Maguire.
On it, there's exclusive footage of the first camera test between stars Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger, then an almost unknown actress.
Hollywood's best and brightest, everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Connie Britton, had auditioned for the role of Dorothy, a single mother who falls in love with Jerry and everything he stands for in director Cameron Crowe's masterpiece, reports News.com.au.
But nobody had been the right fit, either for Crowe or Cruise. And then Zellweger walked in.
"You just see something happen when Tom sees her," Crowe told Vanity Fair.
"He lights up. The two of them together have a very particular chemistry. It brought out more of the story of the movie … As Jerry discovers Dorothy, we discover Renee."
When it comes to "a star is born" roles, none are more stratospheric than Zellweger in Jerry Maguire.
In her performance is the perfect balance of Dorothy's optimism and her realism, her romantic streak and the weight of the reality of being a young single mum caring for her precocious child. She's a classic Cameron Crowe female character in the sense that she doesn't feel quite of this earth, but in Zellweger's hands she becomes lived-in and squishy around the edges. When Zellweger says "You had me at hello", boy, do you believe her.
Zellweger's turn in Jerry Maguire marked the start of her huge career, one that would ultimately end with an Oscar win in 2004 for Cold Mountain. But after Zellweger secured her Academy Award, her career floundered, and for several years she has been out of the public eye. What happened to Renee Zellweger? And is 2019 going to be her comeback?
THE EARLY YEARS
Before she stormed onto the scene in 1996's Jerry Maguire, Zellweger was best known for roles in The Low Life and Empire Records. But it was the Oscar-nominated, hugely successful Crowe-and-Cruise movie that kicked her career forward.
After that, the world was her oyster.
Zellweger followed up Jerry Maguire with leading roles alongside Meryl Streep in One True Thing (1998), Jim Carrey, who was also her then-fiance in Me, Myself and Irene (2000) and Morgan Freeman in Nurse Betty (2000). And then along came Bridget Jones.
When Zellweger was cast in the big screen adaptation of Helen Fielding's smash-hit novel Bridget Jones's Diary, the British press were out for blood.
"Of all the clunking, Hollywood idiocy," the Evening Standard moaned upon hearing the news.
Zellweger was neither British nor was she an average-sized woman, as Bridget famously was. But director Sharon Maguire knew that Zellweger was the one the second she walked into the room.
"We did know," she told Total Film in 2000. "And we went, 'Oh f**k, she's a Texan'."
Zellweger proved all the naysayers wrong, though, working with a dialect coach to hone Bridget's English accent. Once perfect, she kept the accent for the entire duration of filming, only dropping it at the wrap party.
She stopped exercising and gained weight. And she worked for three weeks as a casual assistant at Picador, the same publishing house that released Fielding's novel.
"This meant she had, more than once, to cut out incendiary tabloid stories fuming that 'our Bridget' was to be played by an American," Picador's head of publicity Camilla Elworthy wrote in the Guardian.
"She kept her cool but did scribble 'rubbish' in the margins of one particularly fanciful piece."
Bridget Jones's Diary was released in 2001 and was an instant success. Zellweger nailed the affable heroine's clumsy physical comedy, while a supporting cast that included a roguish Hugh Grant and Colin Firth shined.
The film made more than $400 million at the box office and nabbed Zellweger nominations at the Golden Globes and the Oscars for Best Actress. She lost to Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in The Hours.
After Bridget, Zellweger's career kicked into awards season overdrive. The roles she chose were increasingly eyed with awards season glory in mind. That included starring as Roxie Hart in the enormously successful film adaptation of the Broadway musical Chicago, for which Zellweger was nominated, again, for a Golden Globe and an Oscar. She lost, though co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones was successful in the Best Supporting Actress category.
And then came Cold Mountain. Starring as the straight-talking, straight-shooting Ruby Thewes, Zellweger's make-under in the Civil War-era romance won her rave reviews and led to her finally picking up the Oscar that she craved in 2004.
In an emotional acceptance speech, Zellweger said she was "overwhelmed". She thanked her co-stars Kidman and Law, her director Anthony Minghella and her past co-star Cruise, then Kidman's husband, for "showing me very early on that kindness and success are not mutually exclusive".
But an Oscar wasn't the only thing that Zellweger left the Cold Mountain set with. She also entered into a relationship with Jack White, the lead singer of The White Stripes, who was her co-star in the film. He received a special shoutout in Zellweger's acceptance speech for "teaching (her) how to dream".
THE POST-OSCAR SLUMP
By December 2004, White and Zellweger were over and her career entered into a similar slump.
Sure, there was the sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) in 2004, but what followed was a number of high-profile flops.
Period comedy Leatherheads, co-starring George Clooney, flailed at the box office and with critics, as did the misguided romantic comedy New In Town. Miss Potter, in which Zellweger portrayed author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, gained some awards traction, but it was still seen as a disappointment by critics.
Case 39 about social workers, in which she co-starred with Bradley Cooper, barely registered, though Cooper and Zellweger did date for a few years after meeting on set.
By 2010, in which she starred in just one movie (My Own Love Song with Forest Whitaker), Zellweger's recent CV was full of flops. So she took a break.
Zellweger went on hiatus in Hollywood for six years, saying no to every project that came her way. She travelled a little bit, catching a train through Vietnam and into Cambodia and journeying to Liberia.
"I found anonymity," she told British Vogue.
"So I could have exchanges with people on a human level and be seen and heard, not be defined by this image that precedes me when I walk into a room. You cannot be a good storyteller if you don't have life experiences, and you can't relate to people."
In 2014, when Zellweger stepped onto her first red carpet in four years, fans speculated that the star might have undergone plastic surgery. Zellweger hit back with a rare statement to People magazine: "I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows."
She added that chatter about her appearance was "silly".
"My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy," the statement read.
"For a long time I wasn't doing such a good job with that. I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn't allow for taking care of myself. Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion. I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things."
She followed this up with an op-ed on the Huffington Post in which she denied having surgery on her eyes and face. ("Not that it's anyone's business," she wrote.)
"This fact is of no true import to anyone at all, but that the possibility alone was discussed among respected journalists and became a public conversation is a disconcerting illustration of news/entertainment confusion and society's fixation on physicality."
When Zellweger slipped back into Bridget Jones' English accent in 2016 in Bridget Jones's Baby, it was the first time she had been back on the big screen in six years. She didn't gain as much weight for the role as she had in the past, telling British Vogue that "I put on a few pounds".
"I also put on some breasts and a baby bump," she added.
"Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I've never understood why it matters so much … No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role."
Though the movie marked a turning point in her career, it was nothing compared to the year Zellweger is having in 2019.
First, there's the starring role in the deliciously trashy Netflix show What/If about a phenomenally rich woman who agrees to fund a scientist's lifework … if she agrees to let her sleep with her husband.
The show has been called "deliberately bad" and an "old school soap oozing out of glossily high-toned packaging". Some critics found it more enjoyable than others, but what all are united on is that it's impossible to tear your eyes from Zellweger whenever she's onscreen.
"Whatever reasons Zellweger had for wanting to take this role … she transforms What/If single-handedly," The Atlantic writes.
"Without her, it might have been a mere aberration, anachronistic, clunky and immediately forgotten. With her, it's a much more interesting beast, a show that allows an Oscar-winning actor to expose the story's flaws and elevate it as a curiosity all at the same time."
And then there's Judy.
In a biopic of the same name, released later this year, Zellweger will star as Judy Garland in the last few months of her life. Since the first trailer was released, hype around the film is reaching fever pitch, with many speculating that it could be the role to catapult Zellweger back into the spotlight. And in some ways, having experienced the glittering highs of fame as well as its perilous lows, Zellweger is one of the best people to understand what Garland went through.
Zellweger picked the movie because the script spoke to her creatively, which is the most important thing for her right now. In fact, speaking to Vogue in May, she revealed the biggest change in her life since returning to Hollywood was being able to say no.
"It's funny because over the last few years, with being busy creating things and working on these projects, it's been really quiet. And it's been really private," she said.
"It's more peaceful now, and I've also come to realise that I can be grateful and I can be responsible and I can do my job and say no. I can have some boundaries."