Renee Zellweger ('Bridget Jones, Edge of Reason')
'Dear Diary: Take Two'
Renee Zellweger won the Academy Award as best supporting actress for her role as plucky Ruby Thewes in the 2003 Civil War drama 'Cold Mountain.' Zellweger is an athletic Texas native whose early roles were in youth-oriented movies like 'Dazed and Confused' (1993) and 'Reality Bites' (1994). Her career took a great leap forward when she co-starred with Tom Cruise in 'Jerry Maguire,' one of the top-grossing films of 1996. In the year 2000 she was romantically linked with Jim Carrey, her co-star in the film 'Me, Myself and Irene,' but the two ended their much-discussed romance that December. In 2001 Zellweger had the title role in 'Bridget Jones' Diary',' the film of the popular Helen Fielding novel, and she received rave reviews and an Oscar nomination for her performance as Roxie Hart in the musical 'Chicago' (2002, with Richard Gere).
In her latest movie, the sequel to 'Bridget Jones's Diary', the film picks up four weeks after the end of the first, when Bridget is trying to cope with living with another person and the arrival on the scene of Rebecca, a beautiful man-hunter.
Why take this project on after years of saying you wouldn't? "Probably because the first experience meant so much to me. I have so much respect for this character and also what she represents. I didn't want to compromise that in any way by following up with a film that meant nothing, just because we could and I wanted to be certain that the motivation for making this film came from a creative place. I also wanted to be certain that it was a film that was substantial enough that it could stand on its own, regardless of what had happened with the first picture."
"I wanted to be sure that it was a necessary film and that this character had more stories to tell. I was more comfortable with the idea of making this film because it's not a sequel in the traditional sense, in that there is a book that has been written, so her journey has continued and I had nothing to do with it as it was obviously there already from Helen Fielding. So, that being said, it gave it purpose, but again, it was just being careful that we wouldn't do anything that might blasphemize the first or how people felt about this character because we went forward irresponsibly with her," Zellweger explains in her usual chatty manner.
How did you handle re-gaining the weight? "Well, I was hesitant to have that experience in the first place, but I had no negative feelings about the experience the first time around so it was easy enough to do it the second time around. No, it wasn't a negative experience in any respect and contributed so much to the experience of bringing Bridget Jones to life the first time, so I knew that it was essential in repeating the journey. It had to be authentic to me, in that if you're not going to BECOME the character and BE the character, then I don't really see the point in undertaking the experience."
"I wanted to have that experience and people were suggesting to me, 'Oh, it might not be necessary.' Or, 'You shouldn't do as much as you did last time because it's probably not healthy.' For me, then it would render the experience pointless from a creative perspective and I wanted to revisit this character in every respect."
Why has this character of Bridget Jones struck such a chord with so many women all over the world? "I think women love her because of her humanity. I think it's that she's so honest about how she feels and I don't think that she's needy or desperate. See, you're privy to her inner dialogue as an audience member, or as a person reading the book and privy to what it is that she's most afraid of, what she anticipates might be her greatest failure or what her own shortcomings are, but she never fails to trudge forward and believe that she's gonna be fine and she always moves on. She always goes for what it is that she would like to have happen in her life, and ultimately makes certain that it manifests itself there and it's not for her about finding happiness in this antiquated ideology that a man and woman should be together in order for a woman to feel complete."
And, are these media rumours about your plans to take a year off true?! "I can only imagine I'm looking forward to tomorrow which might be an exciting morning, so I have no idea. It'll be interesting. I seriously doubt it. I just haven't committed to another film and am not aggressively seeking one at this time. I think I need to take a little time and just be a girl and collect some experiences as a person and not just as a person who's emulating someone else."
"To tell life stories, you have to have a little life to draw from and I'm a little tapped out in that department. I need to go and just be a girl for a little while. I'm a woman now and I'd like to re-familiarise myself with what's important to me and what I like now as a woman," says the actress. "I'd like to just kind of see where the day might take me if I didn't have it booked up on behalf of some commitment or other. But I can't really take a year off because there's no such thing really. It's just different phases of the cycle of making a film. So now this one's finished and it's coming out, and then 'Cinderella Man,' which I have to finish up and do post production on and go around with that. I think by that time, my year off will be up. But I don't think I'm going to go hop in a makeup chair any time soon," she smiles lovingly for the last time today.
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