What/If creator reveals the inspiration behind Renée Zellweger's new character for Netflix thriller

Renée Zellweger has made her TV comeback in new Netflix drama, What/If, and it turns out that The Graduate's Mrs Robinson has provided the inspiration behind her new character.

While we might be used to seeingRenée on the big screen in roles like Bridget Jones, What/If is set to show us the actress in a new light as she takes on a Femme Fatale role for the first time in her career.

Renée will lead the cast in the first series of the new Netflix anthology thriller, which explores what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things.

What/If explores the ripple effects of the decisions that people make, with the first season following a benefactor who serves up a lucrative but dubious deal to a cash-strapped pair of San Fransisco newlyweds who are tempted into unspeakable acts for the promise of huge financial gain.

The Netflix What/If cast

What/If creator Mike Kelley has revealed that he andRenée took a leaf out of films from the late '80s and early '90s when creatingRenée's character, Anne Montgomery.

Recalling the creation ofRenée's new alter ego in the drama, Mike revealed to TV Line: "I've been thinking about this character for a long time. She was born out of my slightly unhealthy obsession with all things Mrs Robinson.

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"That character is so powerful and witty and compelling, but also tragic. The Graduate was my first real movie obsession, and I always thought, 'What if Mrs Robinson didn't soap herself in martinis every night and indulge in self-loathing? What if she put it all into self-enterprise and success and became a person of consequence?

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"As luck would have itRenée felt the same way about actress Anne Bancroft and Mrs Robinson. I actually named the character after Anne Bancroft."

With a feel of films like Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct and Indecent Proposal,Renée's new venture onto the small screen is set to show the actress in a different light for the first time.

If you want to see howRenée fares as a sultry and villainous Anne, instead of the loveable Bridget, you can watch thewhole of season 1 of What/If on Netflix now.

Claire Crick
Claire Crick

Claire has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 


After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily and woman&home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off. 


She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown—AKA Dot Cotton—to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 


As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.