Oscar winners Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth are joined by Patrick Dempsey for the next chapter of the world’s favorite singleton in “Bridget Jones’s Baby.” Directed by Sharon Maguire (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”), the new film in the beloved comedy series based on creator Helen Fielding’s heroine finds Bridget unexpectedly expecting.
After breaking up with Mark Darcy (Firth), Bridget Jones’s (Zellweger) “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch… she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.
The much-anticipated third installment of the “Bridget Jones’s” franchise welcomes fellow Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson to the cast. Longtime collaborators Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films produce alongside Debra Hayward.
Release date: September 16, 2016
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Sharon Maguire
MPAA Rating: R (for language, sex references and some nudity)
Screenwriters: Helen Fielding, Emma Thompson, Dan Mazer
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Emma Thompson
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Official website: BridgetJonesmovie.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
ALACHIA QUEEN’S VIDEO REVIEW
JAN GILBERT VIDEO REVIEW
Flicks And The City
Jan’s Bridget Jones’s Baby movie review: “a fabulously funny return to the big screen for Bridget Jones.”
Zellweger has precision comic timing, her British accent is close to flawless, and she’s having a great time.
Winnipeg Free Press
While this threequel is not as good as the 2001 original, which was irresistibly zeitgeisty, it’s better than the wobbly second. And in its silly, completely shallow way, it could be the flat-out funniest.
S. Jhoanna Robledo
Common Sense Media
Fun, if racy, sequel reminds us why we love Bridget.
Consequence of Sound
Bridget Jones’s Baby delivers on the smooshy stuff, to be sure, but it’s the stuff in between that really delivers.
The movie’s mores can feel cluelessly retro as the ever-dithering Bridget lurches between one man and another.
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On 28 February 1995, a small, unassuming column by then-unknown author Helen Fielding appeared in the British newspaper The Independent. It was written from the point of view of a single young woman by the name of Bridget Jones (age: 32, weight: nine stone, three pounds) who lived and worked in London. The columns quickly gained popularity, and as Bridget became a household name, in rolled offers for her creator. Within 10 years of Fielding’s first words on her appearing, Bridget Jones had found herself in two international best-selling books and two global box-office hits.
Fielding never set out to create a role model, and yet in our heroine she crafted someone who had been overlooked by popular culture. This was a woman who, in spite of her independence, was not afraid to reveal her flaws and insecurities.
Save the author, no one knows Jones better than the performer who’s embodied her all these years. “Bridget is eternally optimistic, self-effacing and finds humour whenever facing adversity,” reflects RenEe Zellweger. “Tenacious and determined, she will not be defeated. She’s perfectly imperfect, and that’s what people relate to in her.”
Producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films shepherded the team in bringing Bridget back to the screen. Fellner discusses the character’s longtime resonance with audiences: “Bridget is constitutionally optimistic and is able to take anything that is thrown at her life with a positive stride. She has a sense of humour that engages, and people love her because they identify with her travails. Bridget does everything with such great style and humour that it’s a pleasure to spend time with her. Whatever is thrown at her, she comes back stoic, solidly, and usually with a laugh.”
“She’s aspirational, isn’t she?” adds fellow producer Debra Hayward, who also has been with the series since well before the first film began production. “Bridget still has to be this sort of every woman and you’ve got to recognise yourself in her, even if the dilemma is not something you could ever see yourself in.”
At the heart of our protagonist’s quandary is her fear of ending up alone; that translates into independence at a cost. “One of the reasons the first film worked was not just because of the comedy but because people identified with Bridget’s fear of loneliness,” says Sharon Maguire, who bookends the trilogy with her directorial work on this chapter. “It’s a universal fear, and one that’s still a prominent theme in the character’s journey. This is an integral point of access for the audience to empathise with Bridget. The universal undercurrent is that everyone is afraid of being lonely.”
Fellner offers that Maguire was the only choice for a director when they began this journey: “Sharon knows this world and these characters better than most. When the opportunity arose to work with her again, we leapt at the chance. She understands the scenarios that the actors play out, and there is no one better to have made this film.”
When Bridget was imagined, singletons around the globe realised they were not alone with conflicting aspirations and insecurities. Calorie obsessing, the rules of makeup and shaving, conflicts of the heart and mind, nothing was hidden. “I’m having a Bridget moment” became part of the vernacular, along with “F**kwittage” and “wanton sex goddess.” Bridget optimised a new breed of woman.
So why the long wait to bring Bridget back? “After the first and second film, we always hoped that there would be another chapter for Bridget,” Hayward continues. “We started talking about it some years ago with Helen, and it took a few years to evolve the story. It was quite some time in the making, but we wanted to get it right.”
Bridget is now an award-winning producer of a major news show. She’s given up cigarettes, cut down on chardonnay, doesn’t obsess about her weight, and her self-help books have been replaced with political literature. “We’ve given Bridget a much better job,” says Hayward. “It’s a quite relevant show that she is determined to keep important and serious, yet increasingly she’s under pressure to make it more populist.”
When audiences first met Bridget she was 32 years old, and in Edge of Reason, she was 34. In Bridget Jones’s Baby, she celebrates her 43rd birthday. When the producers brought Maguire onto the project, one of the things that was important for the director was that the story reflect what happens to adults in these key transitional years, both emotionally and professionally.
Despite her success, in the new story, Bridget maintains that wonderful awkwardness that has made her so appealing. “Everybody’s hoped for something and been disappointed. The way that Bridget manages to persevere-despite circumstances that might bring her down-inspires people,” says Zellweger. “She’s suffering the same things we all do and, especially in her private moments, you’re able to connect to her.”
“Bridget can be ditsy and clumsy, but she is very clever; she’s erudite, smart and well educated, yet she fluffs things,” Hayward adds. “Bridget’s characterization is always delicate, because if you go too far one way she can become stupid. It’s getting that balance right, and that balance is the trickiest thing in the film actually. She’s human and certainly makes mistakes in love; still, she is unique and idiosyncratic.”
Despite her independence, Bridget remains fiercely single. “We wanted to isolate her,” explains Hayward. “Every single one of her friends has moved on, even Tom [JAMES CALLIS], her gay best friend, has settled down and adopted a baby. She is the last one standing.”
“Bridget is still dealing with some of the same issues,” says Maguire. “She still has a fear of loneliness and is floundering around looking for meaning in her life. She’s so imperfect and so flawed. Things are never all neatly sewed up with a bow on top.”
As her close friend Miranda [SARAH SOLEMANI], points out, Bridget “made us award-winning, and as a result she has no life, because everyone mercilessly abused the fact she is a lonely, single, childless SPILF [Spinster I’d Like to F**k] who works all hours.” “That said, she’s still the same Bridget we know and love,” insists Hayward. “She’d love to down a bottle of Chardonnay, but she’s a bit more sensible now.”
Despite Bridget’s denials, dreams of romance and children are ever present. “We discussed why that is and it’s partly because she never quite got over Mark Darcy, even though that is not where you find her at the beginning of the film,” explains Hayward. “From the beginning we thought it was going be the story of Bridget finding herself pregnant and not knowing who the father was,” confirms Hayward.
Whilst Fielding was very involved with the development, owing to her increasing commitments, she agreed to have another writer join the project. “Originally this was developed with Helen, and then writer Dan Mazer,” explains Hayward. “With Helen’s approval, we brought Emma Thompson on board.”
Fellner discusses how the multihyphenate was folded into the production: “Emma Thompson is an actress and writer who we have been incredibly fortunate to work with quite a lot over the years-memorably in Love Actually and in two Nanny McPhee movies. We were looking for a writer to come on board and help us with the screenplay, and she seemed a natural choice. She did an incredible job, and in the process she built up a character called Dr Rawlings. We then turned it around and told her she’d made that character, she now needed to play her. She did so brilliantly.”
Maguire appreciated that Thompson brought in more obstacles and more laughs. “Bridget’s world is familiar, so we had to give audiences twists turns and surprises,” says the director. “I also wanted to bring in fresh and younger blood. I was keen we made her friends at work, like Miranda, part of the new generation of Bridget, who have a slightly different outlook on relationships-a lot more free and amoral. I thought there was much fun to be had with Miranda and Cathy, the makeup lady [JOANNA SCANLAN].”
Whilst humour was imperative, so too was truth. “I wanted the story to be plausible, but funny,” Maguire continues. “I know people who have been faced with this predicament, so I was intrigued how Bridget would handle it.” Having had no successive men in her life, now they are turning up like buses, both wanting to be the father. “When I came on board we took that part of the story and ran with it, putting her in more awkward situations, like going to two scans and drawing her doctor into the subterfuge.”
“I like to think of it as a coming-of-age film that’s set at a later point in the character’s life,” muses Zellweger. “As you go through life, you realize that there isn’t a point that you reach where you have it all figured out. This chapter in Bridget’s story explores the differences between what you imagine your life is going to be versus the reality of where you find yourself.”
One of the most powerful perspectives that Maguire brought to the production was that she could relate to today’s Bridget as much as she did to the first incarnation. In fact, after Bridget Jones’s Diary wrapped, Maguire moved to Los Angeles to work and, as it turns out, become a mother. It was upon returning to London in 2014 that the producers approached her. “I was scared, but also curious as I wanted to see what had happened to all the characters 11 years on,” says the director. “I wanted to know whether their fantasies had come true. It felt strange for me to read it because I had to go back 15 years to my life and look at my own fantasies and whether they had come true.”
“Bringing Sharon back was key,” says Hayward. “More than anybody, Sharon embodies the spirit of Bridget and all the qualities that made the first film so relatable. We were quite pleased with ourselves when she was agreeable. Sharon was so responsible for the success of the first film-the feeling, tone, humour, laughter, tears and the romance-and of course she is one of the characters in Helen’s original book.”
In addition to Maguire’s connection with Bridget, she came to motherhood late in life, so she speaks directly to some of the themes in the story. “She inspired the character of Shazza/Sharon,” reveals Zellweger. “But I always felt she was more like Bridget. When she’s laughing at what we’re filming that day, that’s when Bridget comes to life in the room. She’s somewhere between Sharon and myself. I can’t imagine a more fun and exciting collaboration than the one that we shared.”
As a documentarian, the filmmaker takes a sharp eye toward comedy. “Directing comedy is a hard thing to do as it’s so subjective,” says Maguire. “I have to trust my instincts on what is funny. If I read something or I think of an idea that makes me laugh, it’s worth pursuing. Similarly, if the actors experiment, and I laugh, we go with it.”
Finding a window when the cast would be available was one of the great challenges. Still, he stars aligned in September 2015 and the cameras started rolling on Bridget Jones’s Baby. Any fears that in the 21st century Jones might not be relevant were instantly quashed. The crew were followed by packs of photographers whose pictures were splashed across front pages and discussed at length by an eager fan base.
CAST & CREW
RENEE ZELLWEGER (Bridget) is one of the most cherished and respected actors in modern cinema. Zellweger is most notably known for her starring role as the seminal British everywoman in the 2001 feature Bridget Jones’s Diary and in the 2004 sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, both opposite Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. In the first installment of the franchise, she earned her first Oscar nomination, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award nominations, among others. The sequel delivered her another Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
Zellweger earned her second Academy Award nomination as convicted killer Roxie Hart in Chicago, the 2002 Oscar-winning film version of the Tony-Award winning musical. Acting, singing and dancing alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones, who portrayed fellow death row inmate Velma Kelly, Zellweger took home a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and others, including a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. She later earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain, the 2003 Civil War drama in which she jumped off the screen as feisty farm worker Ruby Thewes. For her work in Cold Mountain, Zellweger also garnered a Golden Globe Award and best supporting role honors from SAG, BAFTA, Broadcast Film Critics Association and numerous others.
In 2017, Zellweger will be seen in the adaptation of the book “Same Kind of Different as Me,” opposite Greg Kinnear and Djimon Hounsou. In Same Kind of Different as Me, Zellweger stars as Deborah Hall, the wife of a wealthy art dealer. The film follows the struggling journey of an unlikely friendship between her husband and a former sharecropper-turned-drifter. Zellweger’s character is also faced with challenges of her own which include the preserving of her health and faith. Another upcoming project includes Courtney Hunt’s courtroom drama The Whole Truth, opposite Keanu Reeves.
After graduating with an English degree from the University of Texas, Zellweger did some initial film and television work before making her feature debut in Richard Linklater’s seminal coming-of-age film Dazed and Confused. Other film roles quickly followed, including Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites, Love and a .45 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation and My Boyfriend’s Back. In 1996, Zellweger won the affection of audiences with her breakthrough role opposite Tom Cruise in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire. Subsequent film roles for Zellweger have included the acclaimed One True Thing, which also starred William Hurt and Meryl Streep; the dark comedy Nurse Betty, opposite Chris Rock and Morgan Freeman; Me, Myself & Irene, opposite Jim Carrey; the drama White Oleander, which also starred Robin Wright Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer; Peyton Reed’s romantic comedy Down with Love opposite Ewan McGregor; and Ron Howard’s Depression-era boxing drama Cinderella Man, which also starred Russell Crowe. She has also lent her voice to such animated features as DreamWorks’ Shark Tale, Bee Movie and Monsters vs. Aliens.
PATRICK DEMPSEY (Jack) is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Derek Shepherd on the ABC hit series Grey’s Anatomy. In 2007, his performance earned him a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. He was nominated for seven People’s Choice Awards for the role, and, in 2015, took home his third award. In 2006 and 2007, Dempsey was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama, and in 2006, he was nominated for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series.
Dempsey’s production company Shifting Gears produces content for both television and film. They have optioned the book “The Limit,” for which they are currently developing a series at SundanceTV, as well as the series Fodors, which is being developed for NBCUniversal International Networks. Shifting Gears is also producing the upcoming The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Alongside Dempsey’s passion for acting is his great passion for motorsports. He has been competitively driving and operating his race and championship-winning Dempsey Racing team for nearly a decade. In 2013, Dempsey starred in the Shifting Gears produced docuseries Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans for Velocity Channel. The series followed Dempsey as he served as both owner and driver for an auto racing team tackling the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s oldest automotive endurance race. Dempsey served as both the executive producer and on-air focus for the series.
In 2008, he opened the doors of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing in his hometown of Lewiston, Maine. Each fall, the Dempsey Challenge-a run, walk and cycle fundraising experience-takes place to raise funds for free support, education and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer.
Dempsey became well known from the classic 1980s nostalgia films Can’t Buy Me Love and Loverboy. His additional film credits include Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Valentine’s Day, Made of Honor, Enchanted, Freedom Writers, Sweet Home Alabama, Scream 3, With Honors, Outbreak, Hugo Pool, The Treat, The Emperor’s Club, Heaven Help Us, Happy Together, Some Girls, Coupe de Ville, Run, Mobsters and In the Mood.
Dempsey nabbed a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in 2001 for his portrayal of Sela Ward’s psychologically unbalanced brother Aaron Brooks in the critically acclaimed television program Once and Again. In 2000-2001, he made memorable guest appearances on three episodes of NBC’s hit show Will & Grace as Will’s love interest and, in 2004, he co-starred in the highly acclaimed HBO production Iron Jawed Angels opposite Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston.
Additionally, Dempsey starred in the NBC movie based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” opposite Ben Kingsley. He also appeared in the television miniseries 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Michael Caine. He co-starred with Oliver Reed in the biblical epic, Jeremiah. Other television movies and miniseries include JFK: Reckless Youth, A Season in Purgatory, BloodKnot, The Right to Remain Silent, In a Shallow Grave and Blonde.
Dempsey first appeared onstage as David in the San Francisco production of Torch Song Trilogy. Other early stage work included On Golden Pond for the Maine Acting Company; the international touring production of Brighton Beach Memoirs, which was directed by Gene Saks; and The Subject Was Roses at the Roundabout Theatre in New York. He also took the stage in The Pasadena Playhouse run of The Importance of Being Earnest as Algernon Moncrieff.
A classically trained British theater actor, Academy Award winner COLIN FIRTH (Mark) is a veteran of film, television and theater, with an impressive body of work spanning over three decades. Firth has appeared in three films that have won the Academy Award for Best Picture: The King’s Speech, Shakespeare in Love and The English Patient. In 2011, Firth’s performance as King George VI in The King’s Speech garnered him an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award, British Independent Film Award, Critics’ Choice Movie Award, and his second consecutive British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award. In 2010, he won the BAFTA Award, and in 2009, the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his performance in Tom Ford’s A Single Man.
In 2008, Firth starred in Universal Pictures’ global smash hit Mamma Mia! The film grossed over $600 million worldwide and is the eighth highest-grossing film of all time in the U.K. He also starred in Universal Pictures’ and Working Title’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and its sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, as well as in Richard Curtis’ Love Actually. At the time of its release, Love Actually broke box-office records as the highest-grossing British romantic comedy opening of all time in the U.K. and Ireland, and was the largest opening in the history of Working Title Films.
In 2012, Firth was seen in Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opposite Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy. The thriller was based on John Le CarrE’s Cold War spy novel. The film garnered three Academy Award nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay and won the BAFTA Award for Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay.
In 2013, Firth appeared in Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man, which also starred Nicole Kidman and Jeremy Irvine. The film was based on the true story of Eric Lomax (Firth) who set out to find those responsible for his torture during his time as a prisoner in World War II.
In 2014, he was seen in Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight, which also starred Emma Stone. That same year, he starred in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, based on the acclaimed comic book of the same name in which Firth played the role of a secret agent who recruits and trains an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s competitive training program. The cast included Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine and Taron Edgerton. In 2015, Eye in the Sky, Firth’s first film produced and distributed by his production company with partner Ged Doherty, Raindog Films, was released.
Firth recently appeared in Genius, a chronicle of Max Perkins’s time as the book editor at Scribner, where he oversaw works by Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The film premiered at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival and stars Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Guy Pearce and Vanessa Kirby. The film was released on June 10.
Later this year, Firth will star alongside Rachel Weisz and David Thewlis in the drama The Mercy. He portrays Donald Crowhurst, a yachtsman who attempts to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race but ends up creating an outrageous account of traveling the world alone by sea. A release date has not been confirmed yet.
Firth has most recently produced the feature Loving, which was inspired by Nancy Buirski’s Primetime Emmy Award-winning documentary The Loving Story. The film is directed and written by Jeff Nichols and stars Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Michael Shannon and Nick Kroll. The drama is set in Virginia in 1958 and follows the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, a couple sentenced to prison because of their interracial marriage. The film is set to be released on November 4.
His other film credits include the Oscar-nominated Girl with a Pearl Earring, Devil’s Knot, Arthur Newman, Then She Found Me, When Did You Last See Your Father?, Easy Virtue, Michael Winterbottom’s Genova, A Christmas Carol, The Importance of Being Earnest, Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies, Marc Evans’ thriller Trauma, Nanny McPhee, What a Girl Wants, A Thousand Acres with Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange, Apartment Zero, My Life So Far, Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, Circle of Friends, Playmaker and the title role in Milos Forman’s Valmont opposite Annette Bening.
On the small screen, Firth is infamous for his breakout role as Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, for which he received a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actor and the National Television Award for Most Popular Actor.
In March 2004, Firth hosted NBC’s Saturday Night Live. In 2001, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the critically acclaimed HBO film Conspiracy, and he also received the Royal Television Society Best Actor Award and a BAFTA Award nomination for his performance in Tumbledown. His other television credits include BBC television movie Born Equal, Donovan Quick, The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd, The Deep Blue Sea, Hostages and the miniseries Nostromo. His London stage debut was in the West End production of Another Country in the role of Guy Bennett. He was then chosen to play the character Judd in the 1984 film adaptation opposite Rupert Everett.
Firth is an active supporter of Oxfam International, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world. He was honored with the Humanitarian Award by BAFTA Los Angeles at their 2009 Britannia Awards. In 2008, he was named Philanthropist of the Year by The Hollywood Reporter and, in 2006, he was voted the European Voice Campaigner of the Year by the European Union.
SHARON MAGUIRE (Directed by) began her career in publishing as a copywriter. Maguire is a versatile filmmaker who started her filmmaking career as a BBC and Channel 4 television documentarian. She first directed for Channel 4’s The Media Show and BBC’s The Late Show. She then directed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award-winning series Bookmark, which took a biographical look at the world of books and authors, and the arts documentary series Omnibus, both for the BBC.
In 2001, Maguire made her feature-film directorial debut with the smash hit Bridget Jones’s Diary. The film was a worldwide success, earning Renee Zellweger an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and spawned a successful sequel. She made a dramatic turn with her next feature Incendiary by directing her own screenplay. The film, which portrayed how an adulterous woman’s life is torn apart when her husband and infant son are killed in a suicide bombing, starred Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor.
In 2015, Maguire launched the television production company Seven Stories with the backing of all3media, and she’s currently writing her first novel. She also directs commercials.
RECENT COMEDY POSTS
Oscar winners Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth are joined by Patrick Dempsey for the next chapter of the world’s favorite singleton in “Bridget Jones’s Baby.” Directed by Sharon Maguire (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”), the new film in the beloved comedy series based on creator Helen Fielding’s heroine finds Bridget unexpectedly expecting. After breaking up with Mark […]