Renée Zellweger Channels Mrs. Robinson in Netflix’s ‘What/If’

Renée Zellweger is starring in her first ever major TV role in "What/If."

What to Know

  • This is Renée Zellweger's first starring role on TV.
  • "What/If" was created by "Revenge" EP Mike Kelley.
  • "What/If" is streaming on Netflix now.

In her first starring role on television,Renée Zellweger isn't holding back. Many fans will be surprised at the sultry, controlling character she embodies in the new Netflix show "What/If." Or maybe not. Zellweger almost disappears in her role as Anne Montgomery, a woman with seemingly unlimited wealth, power and a dark past.

At first, "What/If" might seem like "Indecent Proposal" meets "50 Shades of Grey." But keep watching. There are some fun character and story twists during the 10 episode arc that will keep you coming back.

Zellweger says creator Mike Kelley ("Revenge") hooked her into the project by dropping the name Mrs. Robinson from "The Graduate."

"He said, think Anne Bancroft. Let's channel her self-loathing and her dissatisfaction into something besides alcoholism," Zellweger said.

She also says Kelley brought up subjects in the show that she found interesting, like choice and consequence.

"I thought, oh that's very topical right now. We look around and we see folks that are compromising themselves ethically to maybe push forward an agenda."

The show starts with Zellweger's character offering to finance a young woman's start up company in San Francisco. The only catch? She gets to spend a night with her husband. Jane Levy ("Suburgatory") and Blake Jenner (Glee) play the couple who have to decide between following their dreams or compromising their marriage and morals.

"That's like the lift off point, the whole indecent proposal thing," Jenner said. "But there's so many other curve balls in there."

The rest of the cast are also thrown curve balls and have to face ethically challenging questions in their lives. You can't help but feel a little voyeuristic as they explore these issues around sex, love and marriage.

"What/If" is streaming on Netflix now. It stars Renée Zellweger, Jane Levy, Blake Jenner and was created by Mike Kelley.

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