A/V Room









Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - Renee Zellweger Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. I understand your first day at the shoot was quite an adventure; weren't you introduced to the pigs and the parachute scene?
Yes, that was a very nice way to get to know your crew [laughs]. Make new friends. Yes, it sort of set the pace of the filming, as well, didn't it? Always expect the unexpected.
I really enjoyed it. It was hilarious, it makes the day go by really quickly, having dozens of pigs round you and your learning all sorts of things about pigs' social interaction and anatomy.

Q. Obviously there was a certain time elapsed between the first film and the sequel. Did it help that you had some very high profile and very different roles in between the sequel that enabled you to come at it very fresh again?
I don't know how that might have played into it. I don't know if that's something I really think about, honestly. I really don't know how that would play into it. I guess it was just timing, really. I mean I had heard whispers of a rumoured follow-up for a very long time, and it was in the press, actually, when I was doing Chicago in Toronto that people started to approach me and ask, 'oh we hear that you're going to do this movie'. And it was the first that I'd really heard of it, that we'd committed to this film. And it started to make me wonder about people's curiosity and enthusiasm about the idea of it started to make me wonder whether or not it might be worthwhile.

Q. There was some question as to whether or not the sequel would be made. How willing were you to put on the weight and doing that pressure eating. Did you take it on with a glad heart?
That's a privilege, you know to play a character like Bridget Jones. It's not martyrdom to change your body to play a character that you love. It's quite a creative adventure to play Bridget Jones and to have the opportunity to be expressive in that way. No hesitation in terms of the process. My fear came from being really, really scared to be something that might compromise how people felt about this character, by doing something cavalier, by doing something that was superficial, by being part of something that might disappoint people. So every day, going to work was about, 'ok, have we paid attention to everything that we can, that we should?'

Q. Were you quite involved in the writing process then?
To some degree it's always a co-operative effort, to some degree because you want it to feel natural coming out of your mouth; you want it to feel like this is familiar to Bridget Jones. I recognise that this would be right and, always, as you go along, it always evolves. You know, when you get on the set, and Hugh would say, 'well, what about this?' That's part of what's exciting about the challenge, really. The writing came down to... you leave that to the professionals, but it does evolve.

Q. Was there a time when you felt that it clicked again, when you were back in the Bridget mindset and everything?
No, that's not, no [laughs]. It's always a work in progress, you know, and I'm never certain and I always feel that the jury is still out. I'm always really dependent on the people around me. Bart Berkeley, up until last week, I was hoping that she would be on the other line, adding some words, or advice here or there. I never take it for granted that I've got the character covered. Never.

Q. Treading the fine line between being endearingly insecure or slightly pathetic?
Every day, every day, every day. And we discussed it every day, these things, about the potential of where it could all go wrong; so very wrong. Because it should be what you're talking about; it should be about this woman whose vulnerabilities are relatable, whose humanity and honesty is appealing, and something that we can recognise in ourselves, where it needed to be. It didn't need to be desperate, cos that's not who she is. She's a woman who compares herself to guidelines that society sets, what she's supposed to have and what she's supposed to look like in order to be perceived as successful and beautiful. But never someone who is disheartened by her own failings, or self-pitying in any way. She can look at herself and be humourously self-appreciating. Never self-pitying. That was, I don't know, a non-negotiable point that we were so aware of every day.

Q. You said that you've got some very positive comments from men about putting the weight on. And is there a sense that you'd like to keep some of the weight on?
I love these questions so much more than the answers to them, because they're so eloquently put and very funny. No, I wasn't surprised at all. I mean, it's almost cliched, isn't it, that you have to go and buy larger under-garments is considered to be a positive thing. They're assets really. And what an unfortunate thing to have to retire those under-garments. You know, a girl can dream, but it really is a lot of work to make your body do something it just doesn't want to do. And I've been waiting for since sixth grade for it to do what I've wanted it to do, and I've seen the amount of work that goes into making those assets a part of my everyday.

Q. I read somewhere that you're now seriously considering taking a long holiday. Have you got to the point now that you can say no now if you don't want to do something?
I don't know actually. The way that you put that had me thinking 'people are really sick of me!' I read that too, that I was going to take a really long break. I have some responsibilities that I need to see through that will probably take me to next March. But I am going to take some time off. You know, I've never felt that drive, that you're talking about, to keep going, going, going until I achieve something and then I could feel that I'm more comfortable in what has happened and stop. There were a lot of projects that I'd been following for a very long time that seemed to surface all at once, and so it just sort of worked out that way. It hasn't been about filling slots or keeping going. In fact, I'm pretty particular and I'm pretty cautious. And, I don't know, I know what it takes from your life to commit to a film, so I'm not flippant about making those decisions.
I'm going to take some time for a lot of different reasons. I need to stay out of the make-up chair for a little while. I think that if you're going to be a creative person, especially in this medium, we have to have human experience to draw from, and most of the experiences that I've had in the past seven years have been of a girl emulating someone else, and living in a different environment and living a different lifestyle really. So I need to sit still for a second and find out, as a woman, now, what it is that I would do with the day, and what I'm curious about, having not promised the day away for professional obligations.

Q. There are a lot of embarrassing things in the film, but is there anything that happened that will end up in the DVD?
Renee a horse backwards…

Q. How was that to shoot?
It was my favourite day, next to the pigsty, and the ski slopes I loved it so much, we had packs of dogs everywhere and horses I mean you can’t imagine – I mean there were certain scenes, certain moments where at one point the horse leaps over one of these hedges and in order for it to time out right, I had to run along the hedge as the horse was galloping towards the hedge and dive under the horse as the horse leapt over me so that I could pop up into frame at the right moment – boy that was incredible. I mean the galloping and sometimes the horse didn’t want to go over the hedge and would veer off to the left and you’d watch the scattering of crew everywhere it was hilarious and you know hey, any time you’re gonna have 40 hounds on a set call me, I was blissfully covered in hound slobber all day, I just loved it.

Q. It’s a very English language script – does It help being around an English cast?
Oh absolutely invaluable, that’s where it all begins too before we even start rehearsals I have to come over here and listen and watch and become a little bit more familiar, but it doesn’t hurt at all to be around it all day.

Q. Were you familiar with Jeremy Paxman ?
Do you know what I’d seen him a couple of times and I watched him just two nights ago actually and I read his article in the paper and I’m telling you I’m so glad I kept my mouth shut that day! I was thinking he is a journalist and what if he’s gathering information as we speak – maybe I’ll just sneak off by myself. He’s very charismatic.

Q. How close are you to Bridget or alternatively how close are you to any other character you’ve played in the past?
I guess there’s parts of yourself and your life experience in all the characters that you play to some degree, but I wouldn’t say that it’s me that’s in Bridget – it’s the other way round, there’s a lot of Bridget in me and it really does surface in this arena mostly and more often when there’s video cameras there to capture the potential, massive humiliation – no seriously it does and I can see little moments every now and then when I just sneak by without the camera catching it. But they’re there, and oh god the anxiety I can’t even begin to tell you. It’s true the potential for humiliation in these news arenas is severely high

Q. Why do you have dark hair?
Because I had two choices I could either dye neck hair that’s blonde that was sticking out of my wig for Cinderella Man or it could all go together and I thought that at the end of the day that this would be much less ugly. It’s just a bad idea for the neck hair to be black, and it was an interesting change, I liked my wig. Do you like it?

Q. You’ve worked quite extensively on film in England what are your impressions of England and English people and have you got any plans to tread the boards here maybe in Chicago?
Wow, well I haven’t been invited just yet, but you never know. I love coming here and I love reading about, even when I was making Cold Mountain I was reading about Gwyneth Paltrow and moving here and she’s riding her bikes through the streets of London and walking through the park and I was very envious from afar. I enjoy myself so much when I come here there’s not much about the culture that I could nitpick and say I don’t like and that’s the truth. I found when I came here the first time that I just felt very American. It’s an elegant culture, it’s a refined culture and I just felt very big, and broad and animated in my expressions and I remember having dinner by myself at this Italian eatery – DeMarios Pizzeria and it was towards the end of filming on the movie and I’d been here for about 9 months at that time I guess and this family walked in and they were so very American and I knew they were American and they didn’t even open their mouths yet, I just recognised them and more specifically I knew they were from Texas – and they were, they were. And I had a really nice chat with them and I was happy to see them and I hadn’t realised how I had tempered my normal, I don’t know, way of carrying myself in the world to fit in to the English culture, but it was really noticeable.

Q. Re: Skiing scenes, your mother comes from Norway, do you ski a lot and did you use a stuntmen for those scenes in BJ2?
I don’t get to ski a lot because I’m not contractually allowed to ski most of the time, it was kind of hilarious because for insurance purposes, after they yelled cut from the last take, I wasn’t allowed to ski – like on the day off everyone else could go skiing, but I couldn’t because I might get hurt, which was kind of ironic I thought. But no I didn’t do a lot of skiing growing up we didn’t have the money for that sort of extravagance and my parents grew up with skiing – you know it was labour, it was the way they got around they didn’t see it as fun and recreational.

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