Its not just Brits who can relate to Bridget
April 25, 2001
HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS Renee Zellwéger understands that Brits feel a bit proprietorial about Bridget Jones, the best-known diary-keeping 30-something on the planet.
But she told me on a visit to London: "Believe me, there are plenty of American women in nine-to-five jobs and feeling like social misfits who identify with Bridget - she's not just an English
In fact, Renee was rather surprised when she was offered the chance to star in the film version of Helen Fielding's book, currently showing at cinemas in Reading.
"But after reading the book I felt I understood this woman," she said.
And director Sharon Maguire, a friend of Helen's on whom the writer modelled Bridget's cronies Shazza and Jude, said: "We liked Renee immediately - she can do both comedy and emotional stuff and she has a real warmth which shines through."
For Renee herself the most difficult thing was not getting Bridget's accent right but piling the weight on her naturally slender figure - and it had to be in the right places.
She said: "The only way to do it is to have a plan prepared by a doctor and keep strictly to it."
Renee took up acting after taking a degree in literature and her breakthrough movie was Jerry Maguire opposite Tom Cruise.
She has also starred in Me Myself And Irene with Jim Carrey and gave an award-winning performance as a Texas schoolteacher in The Whole Wide World.
She doesn't see herself as part of the Hollywood glamour set and admires British actresses such as Judi Dench and Helen Mirren.
And unlike Bridget she doesn't find any problems about being single: "You can just be happy in a
Bridget Jones's Diary looks set to be the biggest Brit hit since Four Weddings And A Funeral and a follow-up is already being mooted - but Renee says it is too early to talk about returning to the role.