The Bridget Jones's Diary star admits her directorial debut was never planned, and she had initially envisaged producing and starring in the script by writer Anthony Tambakis.
But after the project failed to draw investors and directors to the movie, Zellweger decided to step up to the role, and she is delighted with the project's progress.
She tells The Hollywood Reporter, "Anthony sent the script to me last year, asking thoughts and whether I'd partner with him to produce it. I'm such a fan of his writing... he has an ability to capture worlds with remarkable compassion, humour and intimacy and the truth of his characters' humanity is felt in every line.
"I asked him if he'd consider my producing and playing PJ. By the new year, the effort to get the film financed had fizzled. I couldn't get the script out of my head, but we didn't have a director and weren't making any headway.
"During a work session for (new TV drama) Cinnamon Girl in early 2012, I brought up 4 1/2 Minutes again, Anthony suggested I direct, and it all started rolling from there."
Since kicking off her career in the early '90s, Renée Zellweger has been a largely polarizing actress: some love her, some... not so much. Even in some of her more universally acclaimed movies, like Jerry Maguire and Chicago, Zellweger has faced adversity for her performances. With this dichotomy of opinion, Zellweger is sure to earn some interesting reactions with her new project 4 1/2 Minutes, the actress' directorial debut.
The project, announced at the Toronto International Film Festival, and reported by Deadline, will star Zellweger and Johnny Knoxville in a story about a standup comedian (the Jackass headliner) whose life and career are significantly affected by the presence of the single mom (Zellweger) of a young genius. One can find a few similarities between this story and that of Jerry Maguire, the film that launched Zellweger to fame.
The script, written by Anthony Tambakis (Warrior), is reportedly based on the life of New Jersey-born comedian/actor Dov Davidoff.
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The Bridget Jones's Diary beauty will direct and star in 4 1/2 minutes, which follows Knoxville as a single comedian whose life begins to fall apart when he takes on a babysitting job, looking after Zellweger's genius son.
The project, based on real-life funnyman Dov Davidoff's past, will re-team the actress with writer Anthony Tambakis, who also penned her new TV drama Cinnamon Girl and the script to her upcoming Broadway adaptation of The Hustler.
Filming is set to begin in New York City in February (12), according to Deadline.com.
Renee Zellweger's new drama about four girls growing up in late 1960s Los Angeles has been picked up by bosses at U.S. cable network Lifetime. The actress co-wrote Cinnamon Girl with Warrior screenwriter Anthony Tambakis.