(updated 3/16/01)
To Latest News Read the continuing columns from The Telegraph Read about the supporting cast On location with Bridget What's on the soundtrack See publicity pics from the movie and links to the trailer Need to have inner poise, to the reviews New frock, scarry pants - am ready for red carpet A special from Horse and Hounds

News from July 2000 through January 2001

Renée Talks 'Diary'
(Popcorn, January 23, 2001)

Do you want to come and have supper?Renée Zellweger is well aware how much press attention has surrounded her role as the star of 'Bridget Jones' Diary', and she tells Popcorn she's keeping her "fingers crossed" that British audiences will like her. Speaking at the Golden Globes ceremony, the actress says she was attracted by the role because she "really wanted to try and see if I could do it. It was an amazing opportunity to do this complete transformation in this character. It was a gift, I never thought that they would think of me for that particular part."

She goes on to say she's hoping audiences will like her performance, adding, "If I'm not thrown from Tower Bridge in the spring, then we'll know."

Zellweger got to work with Hugh Grant on the project, who she reveals was "for many years my prototype male... right after Paul McCartney."

Click here to watch Renée Zellweger talk about the movie.

Wowing them in New York and Reading
(Daily Mail, January 19, 2001, by Baz Bambigboye)

Watch out for Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, who star in the movie version of Bridget Jones' Diary. Producer Eric Fellner has tested the picture with cinema audiences in Reading and New York and the results indicated a higher level of popularity than Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill. It opens in April.

(Daily Telegraph, January 20, 2001)

Also reports that Bridget will be released on April 13 in both the UK and US.

Page-turner pics are hotter than ever—and Bridget Jones' Diary is just the latest
(Total Film, February 2001)

Even if you've never ventured inside Helen Fielding's bestseller (and its sequel The Edge of Reason),you're probably aware of Miss Jones, the British answer to Ally McBeal. It’s a simple pitch: single woman looking for love, eating, dieting and smoking too much, and worrying what everyone thinks about her. And now, with hefty studio backing courtesy of Miramax and Universal, she's ready to hit multiplexes.

There were always going to be obstacles: Jones purists were visibly frothing over the choice of lead actress Renée Zellweger? A Yank? What no Kate Winslet? (She was offered the role but chose to pass) And director Sharon Maguire (on who the book's outspoken Shazza character is apparently based) had never helmed a movie before. And how could they pick anyone other than Colin Firth to play the object of Bridget's obsession, Mark Darcy? And...And...

Such concerns are forgotten now, as Jones slaps on some lippy and readies herself to meet the public. And Zellweger has already earned Fielding's stamp of approval ("She's very sweet, and has no trace of an American accent"). But then it’s hardly surprising: Jim Carrey's other half piled on a few pounds and spent a fortnight as intern "Bridget Cavendish" in a London publisher’s office during spring to get a feel for the part. The script’s been through such talented hands as Richard Notting Hill Curtis, while filling out the role of lust object Mark Darcy is...you guessed...Colin "That Mr Darcy From Out Of Pride And Prejudice" Firth. And with a huge, ready made audience of book lovers ready to judge the film, looks like the box office will be busy.

See page-turner pictures  Here

Dastardly, Mr Darcy
(The Herald, December 9, 2000, by Gavin Docherty)

Professionally, [Colin Firth] feels he is about to peak and his forthcoming roles reflect that. He is playing Mark Darcy in the film adaptation of Bridget Jones's Diary which gave author Helen Fielding a worldwide publishing hit and convinced a generation of women that they weren't alone in their 'sad singleton' status. The literary phenomenon with an obsession for fat units and fags will transfer to the big silver with Texas-born actress Renée Zellweger taking the lead role, with Firth and Hugh Grant, playing Daniel Cleaver, the main focus for her neurotic affections. [...]

With Bridget Jones, success is virtually guaranteed. Fielding's Mark Darcy was based on Firth's television appearance. She has said: 'Mark Darcy is the nearest I came in the book to writing a character with a real-life human being in mind, ie Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. So I'm completely thrilled he's agreed to do the part.' She said he had all the 'suppressed emotion and raw pulsating passion' the character needed. Scripted by Notting Hill's Richard Curtis, it's got the big money-boys at Miramax and Universal as chief backers. Which means Hollywood might next come a-knocking on Firth's door.

Pony girl's life smacks of fun
(Evening Standard, November 29, 2000, by Clare Garner)

'I hope I've done something worth watching,' she says of her performance as Shazzer, Bridget's best friend. 'There's a possibility that I won't be properly lit throughout the whole film.' The camera crew took bets on whether she would 'hit the mark', she explains. 'You have to run a certain distance and stop at a clearly marked point because that's where you're lit from. Most actors find this rudimentary, but they put me in clogs and I was absolutely hopeless. If I'm not lit, it won't be the lighting person's fault.'

To say that Sally is self-deprecating is an understatement. She seems hell-bent on running herself down, dismissing her comic talents as 'bad acting' and her looks as 'weird'. She is lumpen, boss-eyed, unfit, lazy—by her account. It's very Bridget Jones, she agrees. 'Jones is a woman who wishes she was epic but is banal. It's such an everyman thing to want to break out of the mundane into something truly spectacular. It strikes me that you only ever do anything like that by mistake; like when you accidentally fall off a cliff and it's caught on camera.'

On Colin Firth
Ninety per cent of her humour is by accident, not design, she insists. Take the time when she and Colin Firth (who plays Bridget's potential lover, Mark Darcy) got chatting. 'He said: "Shall we sit in your trailer? Do you have a table in there?" I didn't, because my trailer was really small. He had a huge trailer almost as big as Kansas and said: "Well, let's retire to mine." So we went and had this incredibly erudite—on his side—conversation about theatre. When I came out of his trailer I was flustered because I could see the other "friends" [from the film] peeping out from behind a tree, pointing and whispering. I said: "Thanks for having me in your trailer." I realised it was a double entendre, but it was too late because it was out of my mouth. Do you say: "Oh, I didn't mean that", or do you just sort of wink and sashay as if to say, "I'm the kind of girl who makes those kinds of comments"? So I did just that, really deceitfully.'

On Hugh Grant
The Bridget Jones-esque encounters continued when she first met Hugh Grant (who plays Bridget's office boyfriend, Daniel Cleaver). 'The first time I saw him I accidentally screamed. I'd never fancied him or been at all interested in him, really, it was just a real surprise. I said: "Sorry, I didn't expect you to be there," which was ridiculous because I'd just been introduced. It is weird, this transition from seeing a big head on the cinema screen to a small head, if you are as literal as me.' Phillips' comments about Renée Zellweger, who plays Bridget, are also vintage Jones.

On Renée Zellweger
Zellweger was 'winning'; so intelligent ('she would spout sociology and anthropology and current theories of evolution') but, 'most impressive of all', she hardly wore any make-up. 'I had it on with a trowel—I don't mean I went to bed with a trowel. She just had a bit of lip stain and still looked great at four in the morning. She'd put on so much weight for the role and looked just about my size.'

From Geoffrey Alconbury to Lenin
(Vavo News, October 20, 2000)

[James] Faulkner, who has numerous film and TV credits in his portfolio, including leading guest appearances in Taggart and A Touch of Frost and who will be seen as Uncle Geoffrey in Bridget Jones’ Diary with Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant, sees the role of Lenin as a challenge.                                          Full article

A day in the life of a stunt woman
(Evening Standard, November 22, 2000, by Alisdair Riley)

Coming to a cinema near you next spring is Bridget Jones's Diary, in which [Dani] Biernat does the stunts for the eponymous heroine played by Renée Zellweger. In one scene she stumbles drunkenly out of a taxi, trips and falls flat on her face. Some us have been known to do this after drinking a few doubles, but Dani Biernat can do it completely sober. To perfection. Again and again. And without so much as a damn or blast.

I thought you said she was thinWill the real Daniel Cleaver girlfriend please stand up?
(peoplenews, October 25, 2000)

At a new store opening, model Lisa B talked about her role as Hugh Grant’s girlfriend, the eponymous heroine's nemesis, in Bridget Jones’s Diary

If that's the case, then Embeth Davidtz (previously identified as such) may be playing Natasha, Mark Darcy (ColinFirth's) girlfriend. Hmmm...better.

Supporting Cast News

A North London newspaper and the Independent on Sunday (8 October) have reported that Crispin Bonham Carter, who played alongside Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice, is also in Bridget Jones's Diary. He plays Greg, Bridget's "clanger-dropping" office friend.  (Translation for US readers: clanger dropping means saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.) 

In the October 6, 2000 Daily Express, Honor Blackman said she "took the role in Bridget Jones because the script was 'such fun'. 'I play a friend of Bridget's mother, who has had her ovaries out and it's sent her mad. She's at every party with a glass in her hand.'                                                          Full article

Dane Bowers sings for Bridget Jones
(Worldpop, September 27, 2000)

Dane Bowers will duet with American R&B singer Faith Evans for the soundtrack to the forthcoming film Bridget Jones's Diary, an adaptation of the best-selling novel by Helen Fielding. Speaking to worldpop at the recent Disney Channel Kids Awards, Bowers said he plans to team up with True Steppers to write the track. 'We're doing a song with Faith Evans, so that will be cool—me and Faith Evans singing, and I'm going to write it with True Steppers,' he said.

This would mark the third time Bowers has recorded with the True Steppers, the most recent being the UK No 2 hit Out Of Your Mind, which featured Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. Faith Evans is best known for as the female voice on Puff Daddy's worldwide hit I'll Be Missing You....

The Drama King
(Weekend Mail, September 16, 2000, by Mary Riddell)

[Andrew Davies] wrote much of the screenplay for the film of The Diary of Bridget Jones, but bowed out before the end of the project after 'artistic differences' with the director. 'I was brought in, rather sweetly, to increase the Darcy quotient. Not to put in more sex; it was more about the structure.  Helen...had already done two quite good drafts,' he says... 'I was delighted to get a crack at it. I had met Helen once before, so I insisted—as a condition of my doing it—that I had at least one night out with her doing Bridget Jonesy things; drinking lots of chardonnay and eating lots of food.'

Yet the professional relationship ended in a severance deal under which he is embargoed from talking exactly what happened. 'Sharon Maguire, the director, who is Helen's best mate, and I got on well and agreed on a lot. Then we came to the bits we didn't agree on, and I suggested it was probably time for someone else to take over. It was one of those scripts that will have many hands on it,' Davies says....'They brought in Richard [Curtis]...to give it a bit of extra zing late on. Or that is the theory. From a writer's point of view, that sort of work is not the most enjoyable, though it is the most lucrative.

And will Davies's name appear on the credits of a film assured of blockbuster success? 'Yes—if I want it.  I'll see it and then decide,' he says...

Renée Zellweger: A Character Actress Trapped in an Ingénue's Body
(The NY Times, September 10, 2000, by Dana Kennedy)

"Don't think I didn't have a lot of nightmares and sleepless nights," says Sharon Maguire, the director, of her decision to hire Ms. Zellweger after a lengthy search (which included British actresses). "After she came in, I thought, `She's perfect but she's a Texan. What do we do?' "

In the end, Ms. Maguire was won over by Ms. Zellweger's promise that she would nail the accent. "Her attitude was, 'If I don't get this accent right, we are both so busted,' " Ms. Maguire says. "She worked really hard and I think she got it." [...]

Throughout her seven-month stay in London, she spoke with a British accent. 

"It was very technical," says Ms. Zellweger. "They wanted a very specific accent from a particular social class in a particular area outside London. We started by overenunciating and speaking the Queen's English, then taking it back a notch. It got to be a habit."

Ms. Zellweger even used her newly acquired accent when she met her co-stars Hugh Grant, who plays the caddish Daniel Cleaver, and Colin Firth, who plays Mark Darcy, on the set. "They were really kind about it. They knew I wasn't some geek trying to sound English. They knew it was part of the job." [...]

But learning to talk and eat like Bridget Jones may have been the easy part for Ms. Zellweger. Truly becoming Bridget, which means being blunt, impolitic, gossipy, envious, needy and a little too obvious about everything, must have been like acquiring the traits of an alien.

"Cause you're different, girl, from all the rest..."

The Guardian reported on August 25 that Lewis Taylor has recorded a reworked version of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw the Light” for the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary.  Taylor has also done soundtrack work for Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. Expect Taylor, whose voice has been likened to having the reach and range of Marvin Gaye’s, to produce a version with more soul.                More information and sounds  here

Keeping up with Bridget Jones
(The Observer, August 27, 2000, by Jeff Dawson)

According to Jonathan Cavendish, producer of the film, the decision to go with Zellweger was not taken lightly. It was a two-year search to find the right actress. And though they met the obvious candidates ('all the people you'd expect us to look at'), it was Zellweger who knocked them out.

'The problem with something that is so defined in terms of people's perception as the character of Bridget Jones is that we had a very clear idea of who we were looking for,' he explains. 'They had to be the person. When Renée walked into the room, Sharon [Maguire, the director] and I looked at one another and said, "This is Bridget."'

It makes marketing sense, too. Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill scored massively overseas courtesy of their American stars, Andie MacDowell and Julia Roberts. Bridget Jones is, effectively, the third instalment of a trilogy, made by the same gang (Richard Curtis, Hugh Grant, et al). Helen Fielding—who now lives in LA—has given Zellweger her blessing. As executive producer (not to mention a big mate of Curtis and Maguire's), she had a consultant role in casting ('She was kept very closely informed all the time,' says Cavendish). Fielding and Zellweger get on well (the author turned up on-set to hobnob recently). When Fielding appeared to criticise the project at a book function, Zellweger interpreted the comments as a joke. 'They ah sked her about this American girl, this actress being cast, and she said she was just upset that they hadn't ah sked her,' says Zellweger, all Liza Dolittle again. 'Not that they hadn't ah sked her about casting, but that they hadn't ah sked her if she'd play Bridget Jones. That's what she meant.' 'Helen's been nothing but entirely supportive,' Cavendish asserts. [...]

Next spring, when she comes back to do publicity, the British public will get their chance to determine whether she's pulled it off. 'We'll see, I guess, won't we?' she chuckles. 'If I'm lynched and hanging off Tower Bridge, we'll see...'

Here for the full Observer article
Over here Miss Zellweger!
(Daily Telegraph, August 26, 2000, by Christa D'Souza)

Zellweger, 31, who first dented the public consciousness three years ago asTom Cruise's goofy yet intense Girl Friday in Jerry Maguire, looks a little different from the way she did then. The trademark squint is still there, as is   the tinky-tonky little voice and that faint wryness about her velvety features which so captured us all in Cameron Crowe's masterpiece, but the extra stone she has had to put on for her role as the calorie-counting Bridget Jones— all those pints of Guinness and protein powder shakes and omelettes dripping in butter—have subtly transformed her into someone else. Someone, frankly, you wouldn't look twice at if she were sitting opposite you on the Tube.

But therein, perhaps, lies the reason why it was she, rather than Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson or Kate Winslet who snagged the coveted $3 million role. And why nobody recognised her when she walked into Picador  - the publisher of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary—to work undercover as 'Bridget Cavendish', the boss's new 'intern'. (The film's production company, Working Title, felt that this experience would best equip her for the role.)

Not that you would ever describe the new Zellweger as fat (she is far too small-boned, too petite, for that, and her lily-white legs are still in exquisite shape), just a little on the puffy side, with a bosom and a stomach and the vague hint of a double chin, all perfectly complemented by an unremarkable black sweater and elasticated-waist skirt, now covered in a film of dog hair. Exactly the sort of figure, in other words, you'd expect of someone who didn't exercise, who sometimes binged and drank Chardonnay every night. Which must have been a tough call for someone who is normally an American size two, weighs seven-and-a-half-stone and feels weird if she doesn't exercise every day. [...]

'The novelty of eating pretty much what I want has worn off now. I did put on a lot more weight than I needed to... but actually I was real glad, because I was in such a hurry to get it done.' [...]

Interestingly, all of this is delivered in an American accent, for not only has Zellweger been method eating for the part of Bridget Jones, she has also been method talking, conducting her latest Vanity Fair interview—much to the bemusement of the American journalist—entirely as if she were British. 'Yah, well, it's a habit I wake up with,' says Zellweger, lapsing into it momentarily. 'It usually starts when I get in the car every morning and start talking to Mark [her big, burly driver currently sitting outside the door], but then when I get back at night and make phone calls home, I switch back.'

  Here for the full Daily Telegraph article 

Bridget Jones shot
(Heat, August 19-25, 2000) 

Renée Zellweger finished filming Bridget Jones's Diary last week—shooting the final scene at Piccadilly tube station wearing a winter jumper. The crew enjoyed a wrap party at the Naval and Military Club where they were entertained by an Elvis impersonator.

Get lardy Darcy back in shape
(Sunday Express, August 6, 2000, by David Dillon)

Actor Colin Firth has turned to the fitness instructor who restored Leonardo DiCaprio's lean physique after the Titanic star's eating and drinking binges turned him into a flabby weakling.

Firth, who won an army of female fans as Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, was put through a punishing three-month fitness regime for his sexy new screen role in Bridget Jones's Diary. The producers, fearing that he was overweight, had ordered him to get in shape for the film of Helen Fielding's best-seller.

It was crucial that Firth, 39, was in prime condition, because he was the man Ms Fielding had in mind when she created her brooding hero Mark Darcy—the character he plays as part of the author's in-joke. Ironically, as Firth has been fighting the flab, his co-star, Hollywood actress Renée Zellweger, has been trying to pile on the pounds. [...]

Cornel, 30, added: "Colin has done exceptionally well. There's a distinct difference and I don't think his female fans are going to be disappointed. Now he is in really good shape. He is a lot leaner than he was as Mr Darcy, when he was fairly podgy. He has lost a lot of weight and it shows. He has made a complete lifestyle change.        Full story

Had peanut butter sarnies.  And pizza.  Now can be Bridget.
(Sunday Express, July 30, 2000, by Rebecca Carnforth)

have spent so many years being on a diet that the idea that you might actually need calories to survive has been completely wiped out of my consciousness.Renée Zellweger is counting calories. Like Bridget Jones, the fictional thirtysomething who is on a permanent quest for self-improvement, Rene conscientiously notes her calorific intake. The difference is, the unfeasibly small actress is trying to gain weight—wolfing down large quantities of peanut butter sandwiches and pizza, heresy for an actress who has spent the past seven years in diet-obsessed California.

"I'm really trying. Mark [her burly driver-minder] brings me sandwiches, McDonald's breakfasts and multi-vit, multi-fat, protein bodybuilder shakes. I've put on more than 15lb and I'm very proud. I'm down to three pairs of sweatpants and four T-shirts that still fit. Everything else is in boxes ready to be shipped home." [...]

Co-stars Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent have been helping her research—as did working undercover as a temp in a publishing company. "British women are less hard on each other and less judgmental than Americans," observes Rene. "I suppose it's because they're not judged as harshly themselves. When it was somebody's birthday, everybody had a piece of cake. In Los Angeles, nobody would have eaten it...."

It's nearly lunchtime and Rene faces the prospect of another round of pizza and peanut butter sandwiches. One wonders if it is necessary, given there is no mention in the book that Bridget is overweight. "It's a character choice," says Rene. "She is self-deprecating, probably with no reason, but it would be silly if she was talking about her chubby thighs if they weren't...."so it's been good for me to come to London and find out that a doughnut doesn't do a thing and 20 doughnuts don't do a thing. You have to eat 20 doughnuts a day for five weeks before you get results."                                                                                      Full story

The point of Honor before Bridget
(The Sunday Times, July 30, 2000, by Jackie Rowley)

At 73, most of us are ready to slow down, to step out of the spotlight, to sidle away. Not Honor Blackman. This month she spent seven days filming a guest spot in Bridget Jones's Diary...

She plays Penny, a family friend, in Bridget Jones's Diary. So how was it? Too canny to criticise fellow actors, she is effusive about Renée Zellweger, who is playing Bridget. "She's terrific. Her English accent is very good and she's a lovely person—totally unspoilt. She embarrassed the hell out of me by saying that she must have my autograph for her boyfriend—you know her boyfriend, [pause], Jim Carrey?"                                                     Full story

Literature's Mister Cool
(The Guardian, July 29, 2000, by Nicholas Wroe)

rhubarbThere is a scene in Bridget Jones's Diary when Bridget unexpectedly finds herself standing in front of Julian Barnes at a literary party. Ms Jones, paralysed by Barnes's intimidating reputation for cool intelligence and languid wit, is struck dumb. The agonising silence is eventually broken when, to her own horror, she blurts out, "Do you know where the toilets are?" The resulting "faint smile that hovered over his thin-but-attractive lips" ensured her humiliation was made complete.

The scene has been included in the film version of the diary which is currently in production in London. Although lots of real writers were gathered together by the producers to act as up-market extras, it was thought Barnes wasn't quite recognisable enough to a cinema-going audience to justify Bridget's level of mortification. So while Barnes stands around holding a glass of warm white wine and muttering "rhubarb", Salman Rushdie was parachuted in to precipitate the social catastrophe.

When Barnes tells this story, he goes through the motions of huffing and puffing at the lack of respect shown to him and the cavalier attitude to the text adopted by superficial film-makers. But far from complaining that he is not famous enough, in reality one senses that Barnes feels he has more than enough fame, meaning in this case celebrity, already....                                                                       Full article

Sneak preview
(Film Unlimited, July 27, 2000)

The makers of the film of Bridget Jones' Diary held a mid-shoot party to erase any doubts about Texan Renée Zellweger's British accent. Ten minutes of the film were shown at the Zeta Club in Park Lane and greeted with cheers from the cast and crew.

A few lines for Rushdie
(The Times, July 5, 2000, by Mark Inglefield)

Salman Rushdie has expressed his delight at playing a cameo in the forthcoming film of Bridget Jones's Diary, although he says he has only a "few lines". I trust he saw all the script. In one scene the Bridget character (played by Renée Zellweger) is about to make a speech and feels she might be aided by a recreational drug: "I could swear I saw Salman doling out the cocaine," says the fictional Bridget. "I could do with a bit of a livener for my speech."

Set Shots
(TV Times)

London was sweltering—but the script called for arctic conditions. So the team adapting bestseller Bridget Jones’s Diary for the big screen shipped in tons of fake snow and transformed London's St Pancras into a winter wonderland. The fake chill provides a cool contrast to the two hot male stars.

British heart-throbs Colin Firth and Hugh Grant star alongside US actress Renée Zellweger in the tale of a Brit woman and her experiences on the battlefield of thirtysomething singledom.

Until the film's release next year Colin and Hugh fans will have to console themselves with these snapshots from the set of the British comedy, written by Richard Curtis, responsible for Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Ironically, Colin, famous for playing Darcy in the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice,plays Darcy, a character author Helen Fielding named after the hero of Jane Austen’s classic. Hugh, meanwhile, drops the bumbling bear act and plays a cad, Daniel Cleaver, the rival love interest to Firth's Darcy.

Author Helen Fielding has had to watch Renée canoodling with both of them—but that's not why she's jealous. Renée had to put on weight for the role, and the poor girl's been forced to go on a diet of Guinness, hamburgers and cakes. Tough life, eh...?

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