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Zellweger Returns as Lovestruck Heroine in <i>Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason</i>

  • Alan Silverman

The lovestruck heroine of the 2001 hit "Bridget Jones's Diary" is back on screen with another comic adventure of the heart. From Hollywood, Alan Silverman has a look at "Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason."

At the end of the first film Bridget Jones had rejected the advances of her playboy boss Daniel Cleaver and won the heart of the distinguished lawyer Mark Darcy. Renee Zellweger is back, as his her extra added weight, to play the hopeless romantic from the internationally popular novels by Helen Fielding. This second film is adapted from Fielding's second novel chronicling chubby Bridget's rocky road to love.

A big challenge for Oscar-winner Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary was to convince fans of the book that an actress from Texas could play this very British character. In The Edge Of Reason she says her goal was to build on what touched audiences in Diary, but not seem like just more of the same.

"What was interesting about the challenge to me was finding a way to portray this character, show that she has grown in some way, show how she might have changed based on what she's learned and her life experiences that we've seen, while maintaining her essence," she explains. "That made it a new experience entirely for me and made it a fairly substantial challenge because I didn't want her to be the same, but, of course, she had to be recognizable and she had to be coming from the same place in the decisions that she made. As a person, I wanted her still to be vulnerable despite being, maybe, a bit wiser and I wanted you to be able to feel that you were meeting your friend again. That was really important to me."

Colin Firth returns as Mark Darcy and he says he found he could not just slip into the same way he played the buttoned-up barrister in the first film.

"I walked onto a set dressed as somebody that everybody knew. There was a crowd - we were filming on a street - and I felt these people knew this character better than I did and had expectations of this character that I didn't know how to fulfill at all," he recalls. " I had no idea who you want me to be, so I had to eradicate that completely from my thinking or I wouldn't have been able to function. It had to go back to scratch and give him a history in my mind, just I would have done with any other role, really. It didn't help to go look at the old film or supply it with any of that; so in some ways I would have been a lot happier if I had n-o-t had a reference point for it."

Also returning from the original, Hugh Grant as the conniving womanizer Daniel Cleaver.

"I think above all, people just wanted to see the film. They were desperate. I think there was a deep physical need, particularly in some women I knew, to see Bridget Jones Part 2 and it just felt cruel not to oblige," Grant jokes.

As they did in the original, the two men fall to fisticuffs over Ms. Jones; and, once again, Grant says it's ridiculous, but, he insists, real.

"I'm proud of the fights. I've always thought watching fights in films that it's all very well, but people don't fight like that," he says. "I can think of no other adjective; and so we were very keen when we did that fight in the first film to ban the stunt coordinator. He's the guy who always says 'I think you land him a big right hook here and Colin, you fall backwards . . ." all the stuff that just doesn't happen in real life. So we just completely improvised like two middle-class, educated Englishmen would fight. That's why it looks so pathetic."

Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason is directed by Beeban Kidron and features romantic locations from London to alpine ski slopes to the beaches of Thailand.