Five Need-To-Know Facts About Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones, the clumsy, eternally embarrassing singleton struggling to navigate modern life, played by Renée Zellweger, is back. This time, it’s for the third film instalment of the rom-com trilogy, Bridget Jones’s Baby. As the name suggests, to add to the clumsiness, the errant blokes, the inability to gauge social mores and challenges of being taken seriously at work, in her family and within relationships, a baby’s on the way. But who’s the father? Is it Darcy (Colin Firth), or new guy on the block Jack, played by Patrick Dempsey? The answer lies within the film, but in the meantime, here are five things to know about Bridget Jones:

1. Renée Zellweger spent weeks in a publishing house researching the role.

In truly Stanislavskian style, Zellweger learned about the craft of her character by doing work experience at Macmillan, the parent company of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” imprint Picador. According to Alexandra Heminsley, an author who used to work at Macmillan: “She sent out our new books to reviewers and features editors, collated and filed newspaper reviews, brought us coffee from time to time and answered the phone impeccably, in her fantastic, super-Sloane voice.

“She asked quite a lot of questions but she didn't seem particularly excited about publishing. As she was so friendly, and as I was new at Macmillan at the time, I thought it would reflect well on me if I gave her some career advice…I offered to put her in touch with some useful people and suggested that she send them her CV, but while she seemed grateful for my nuggets of wisdom, she was strangely reluctant to take me up on any of my suggestions, saying she wasn't sure what her career ambitions were just yet.”

2. Herbal cigarettes

Cigarettes, alcohol and singalongs to Celine Dion were pretty much a staple of Bridget’s younger years, with the number of each consumed (well, not the singalongs) listed at the top of each diary entry. However, Zellweger is not a smoker (Heminsley even noted in 2001 that new “workie” Bridget “looked a bit like a 15-year-old with her first cigarette”) so she smokes herbal cigarettes in the films.

3. Bridget Jones isn’t actually real

It’s hard for some to get their heads round this. But to be a young woman isn’t to be just like Bridget Jones. She’s not a yardstick by which other women should measure themselves nor is she an accurate representation of any woman. As Hadley Freeman, writer at The Guardian put it: “What a lot of weight poor Bridget has carried on her dippy shoulders for the past two decades, expected to represent every woman in the western world and now, apparently, adhere to feminist theory. What extraordinary expectations to place on a fictional character who emerged from that unlikely literary forum, a newspaper column. I have never heard a man describe himself as "literally" a Nick Hornby character, or blame Hornby for the demise of masculinity, whereas even though Fielding never set out to define a generation, her character is still meant to be everything to every woman.”

4. Bridget Jones is worth half a billion dollars

The film alone has grossed a whopping $546,347,563 at the time of publication. The books have sold in their multitudes (hence the film deals) and before that, the parodical column that Helen Fielding wrote using the Bridget Jones pseudonym, charmed readers of The Independent, where the whole story began as a serialisation in 1995.

5. There is more than one ending to Bridget Jones’s Baby

Unhappy with a happy ending? Well, luckily, the film has three separate endings. This was done, Zellweger says, to avoid spoilers for fans: “They kept us guessing because you never know and I might slip up.” However, by the time the film makes it to DVD or streaming? It looks likely that you’ll be able to select whichever ending you prefer!

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