It's been 12 long years since we last saw Bridget Jones on our screens. But the wait is finally over. The character Renée Zellweger so expertly brought to life all the way back in 2001 and again in 2004 is returning later this week in Bridget Jones's Baby. The new film may be missing Hugh Grant's character, Daniel Cleaver, but Patrick Dempsey does a quite frankly brilliant job at taking Grant's place as Mark Darcy's love rival. And both Zellweger and Colin Firth bring their beloved characters back to life like they've never been away. So we jumped at the chance to speak to the cast – Firth, Zellweger, and Dempsey – when they were in London promoting the film, and we made sure we got to find out some things we particularly wanted to know about the franchise. Here's what we learned...
1. The funniest moment to film in Bridget Jones’s Baby was the (absolutely hilarious) bridge scene.
In the scene, btw, without giving away any spoilers, both Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey have to carry a heavily pregnant Bridget a very, very long way. And of course much hilarity ensues. And it sounds like it was equally funny, yet painful, to film...
Out of the many funny moments in this film, what was the funniest to shoot?
Renée Zellweger: Crossing the bridge maybe, or getting into the hospital?
Patrick Dempsey: The bridge scene, yes. There was one particular take that went on and on and on. We’re literally walking across the bridge and we’re waiting for the cut.
RZ: Desperately. [laughs]
PD: And it never came. And we were like, We have to be out of the shot by now. I think it was just [director] Sharon [Maguire] getting back at us, wasn’t it?
CF: I remember the rising sense of panic if the camera was still rolling. I was in absolute disbelief that I had to be in this much pain for this long. And it’s got nothing to do with Renée, before this sounds ungallant – it was because she was wearing something heavy. You know, we were carrying two people.
RZ: [laughing along] It was quite heavy.
PD: It was.
2. There’s a brilliant accidental reference to Renée’s character in Empire Records in it. And she didn't even realise!
As an eagle-eyed Empire Records fan (who isn't, right?!), I noticed that at one point in Bridget Jones's Baby, Renée walks around completely naked, apart from an apron covering her modesty at the front – just like she did 20 years ago in Empire Records! But was it an intentional homage?
RZ: [looks surprised and impressed] That was really good. That was really good! I didn't even make that connection! So no! [laughs] Wow, that was really well done.
3. Colin Firth and Hugh Grant's first fight scene in the first film was completely unchoreographed – apart from when they were thrown through the window, because they were told stuntmen had to do it.
Please clear this up, Colin: Did you and Hugh Grant actually get thrown through a fake restaurant window in the first movie?
CF: Ahh, no. It was all us except for the window.
RZ: They won’t let you do the window, will they?
CF: No, they won’t let us do the window. Insurance gets all involved with that sort of thing. Stuntmen were very little involved in that fight and this is because Hugh and I in rehearsals rebelled against the whole idea of a stuntman, who was there telling us how to do all this professional stuff, and there was a lot of, you know, testosterone in the room. And I just thought, Guys, the last fight we had was when we were 7 in a playground and whatever fight we have now is probably going to look exactly like that. And so we’re two very, very angry, very frightened people wanting to hurt each other without getting hurt ourselves… So it was unchoreographed – that was just Hugh and I fighting like we actually would.
You can relive the brilliant moment again here:
4. The second fight, in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in a fountain, was a very long, not very enjoyable experience.
How long exactly did the fight scene in Edge of Reason take? Was it all in one take?
CF: Oh gosh no, it wasn’t one take. It was actually one of the most challenging days, if it was only one day – I think it might have been more. It was freezing. Literally. It was November, I think it was probably about 1 degree Celsius, and the water was incredibly cold.
Because they don’t allow trailers in Hyde Park, they made an exception with a tiny one, so Hugh and I had to change in very, very close quarters, by which I’m scarred. I’m not going to debrief you on any of that because I don’t want to upset other people. But you come out of the water and of course you’re dangerously cold at that point.
So you can’t get into dry clothes because you’ll have to get into the cold again, and that’s bad for you. So they put us in a tank, they made a little pool…which we lay in in suits sipping warm tea between takes. I don’t know how long it went on, but particularly the changing together, it was brutal.
5. Colin tried to keep the iconic reindeer jumper from the first film but wasn’t allowed to have it.
Has anyone kept any props or outfits from any of the films as mementos?
RZ: I’m sure. I think I have a nice box full of Bridget Jones paraphernalia.
PD: I didn’t keep anything, no!
CF: I tried to get my hands on the reindeer sweater from the first one because I had a feeling that if the film did well that might be remembered. But no, that was whisked off. And I think auctioned for a good cause or something.
RZ: Oh, that’s nice.
CF: I think I might have kept one of those rather cardboard suits from the first one. There wasn’t much… One should!
6. They wouldn’t change anything about what’s happened to their characters – well, except this for Colin:
What would you change about your characters if you could?
RZ: I think they’d be less interesting if we changed them.
CF: [thinking face] I’d make Mark Darcy quite a lot younger.
[Renée and Patrick burst out laughing]
7. Renée’s most embarrassing moment out of all the Bridget films (and there have been many!) was walking down the streets in her pants when it was open to the public.
Out of all the embarrassing things you've had to do during filming of Bridget, what was the most embarrassing?
RZ: That’s a good question!
Maybe running down the road in pants without the street being closed and the buses going by full of people...
And then there’s a red light and so they stop and you’re just standing in the road in your pants.
8. And there ~could~ be another movie! If there’s enough demand.
Can we expect to see any more Bridget films?
RZ: Maybe. Maybe, yeah.
CF: I think if people want it there will be one.
Patrick, would you sign up again if there was another?
PD: I had a great time, yes! I think there’s a lot still to explore, dealing with the baby and what that brings and how that affects Bridget and how it affects the gentlemen in her life… And maybe the return of someone else.