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Renée Zellweger Says Undergoing Major Physical Transformations for Roles 'Feels Like a Safe Space'

·3-min read
Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger

Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty

Renée Zellweger loves to transform into her characters.

The celebrated actress exclusively spoke to PEOPLE on Wednesday about how her physicality shape her acting.

"It's just another tool really, isn't it, to have the presentation match the narrative," Zellweger, 53, at told PEOPLE at a For Your Consideration event for her NBC miniseries The Thing About Pam. "I enjoy it because it makes it easier to transcend when you're telling the story on the day. I love it because it feels like a safe space to hide."

In The Thing About Pam, Zellweger was almost unrecognizable thanks to a number of face and body prosthetics to transform into convicted killer Pamela Hupp, who was charged in July 2021 for a wild murder and cover-up plot.

"I like [transforming myself] because the process is, when you're preparing, it's sort of a series of goals that you're trying to create this space, where you can tell the story, and that's such a big part of it," explained Zellweger. "And when it starts to come together, you can just tick the boxes as you get closer and closer to what it is, to creating this space to tell the story. So it just feels like, I don't know, that you've achieved what you've set out to do as it starts to come together and it's very helpful."

RELATED: Renée Zellweger Is Unrecognizable as Convicted Killer Pam Hupp on Set of The Thing About Pam

renee zellweger
renee zellweger

Frank Ockenfels 3/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The Oscar winner also shared that she "laughed" the first time she saw herself as Hupp — "because I was amazed. I was amazed at what they were able to achieve, what Arian [Titan, who designed the prosthetics] was able to achieve with his team of geniuses."

She added, "It was breathtaking to me that they're so talented and that he built these pieces from nothing just created them with his imagination, trying to create an approximation that would be appropriate in telling this story and being part of that was really cool."

RELATED: Renée Zellweger on Wearing Body Prosthetic for The Thing About Pam: 'Idea is to Be Accurate'

As for how the actress feels about Hupp's murder, Zellweger said she set aside any judgment while preparing for the role. "I just ask questions really," she told PEOPLE. "I'm just trying to understand the circumstances surrounding the bigger picture of the story, the specifics, trying to understand the motivation for certain choices."

"It's more of an exploration than it is trying to avoid making judgments or paying attention to what judgements I might be making, I'm more just trying to collect information and stockpile it, so that I can reference it when I need to," she added.

"There was no avoiding that the story itself was so peculiar," Zellweger admitted, "and I think that's why so many people were fascinated by it."

But as peculiar as it was, the actress focused on the facts. "There was a lot to look into, to try to better understand how the events led to the places that they did. I think I was more obsessed with seeing if there was anything that I was missing than I was with trying to make a judgment about any of it."

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The Thing About Pam is currently streaming on Peacock and NBC On Demand.

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