Renee Zellweger, Bridget Jones's Diary
Credit: Bridget Jone's Diary: Alex Bailey

When you think of Bridget Jones — a plumpish, single, thirtysomething Londoner who obsessively counts calories, cigarettes, and chardonnays — you don’t think of Zellweger, a slim, pretty Texan. Neither did anyone else. Casting lagged for more than a year while Brit actresses, from Kate Winslet to Helena Bonham Carter, were considered. Zellweger, however, nailed her meeting with first time feature director Maguire, a friend of author Helen Fielding. The backlash from fans — the novel has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide — came shortly thereafter.

To convert the skeptics, Zellweger moved to London, packed on 15 pounds, toiled for a few weeks in a ”Bridget” type publishing job, and worked the accent. As Bridget’s rakish beau, Grant ”gets to be fantastically rude,” Maguire says. ”That was fine because Hugh has a real smutty sense of humor.” As for Zellweger, costar Firth says she’s v.v.g.: ”If there was some legislation that Texans can only play Texans and middle class Brits can only play middle class Brits, can you imagine how boring that would be?”

Bridget Jones's Diary

  • Movie
  • R
  • 92 minutes