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Exclusive Interview: Colin Firth Talks Bridget Jones’s Baby

In 2004's Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason, we saw Bridget (Renee Zellweger) seemingly find true love with her Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), but, as we've learned, in Bridget's world, nothing ever runs smoothly. Case in point: It's 10 years later and in Bridget Jones's Baby, she's 43 and again single, having seen her relationship with uptight lawyer Mark Darcy fall apart a few years prior. That isn't to say the rest of Bridge's life is in shambles, though. Quite the contrary, in fact.

GQ Men of the Year Awards 2014 - London. Colin Firth after winning the Leading Man award at the GQ Men of the Year Awards at the Royal Opera House, London. Picture date: Tuesday September 2, 2014. See PA story SHOWBIZ GQ. Photo credit should read: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire URN:20801123

In 2004’s Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason, we saw Bridget (Renee Zellweger) seemingly find true love with her Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), but, as we’ve learned, in Bridget’s world, nothing ever runs smoothly.

Case in point: It’s 10 years later and in Bridget Jones’s Baby, she’s 43 and again single, having seen her relationship with uptight lawyer Mark Darcy fall apart a few years prior. That isn’t to say the rest of Bridge’s life is in shambles, though. Quite the contrary, in fact.

She’s at her ideal weight, still has her great friends and is now a successful news producer, working for a popular news program. She doesn’t necessarily lament the fact she doesn’t have a man in her life or that her child bearing years may be quickly fading.

Instead, she’s living life large – and that’s when Bridget once again turns her life upside down. You see, she unexpectedly finds herself in a family way, as the title indicates. Not the worst news to Bridget, as she’s actually quite happy about it, except for the fact she isn’t quite sure who the father is.

He could either be Jack (Patrick Dempsey), an American she spent one fantastic evening with at a music festival, or Mark, who has gone through a divorce and is trying to win Bridget back. A conundrum indeed. She lets them both know, and then hilariously spends the rest of the film figuring out what will be best for her.

At the recent LA press day for Bridget Jones’s Baby, we sat down for a chat with Firth to talk about his thoughts on returning to the franchise, his role as Mark Darcy, what he likes most about the character and more.

Check out what he had to say below and enjoy!

How was it returning to Bridget Jones’s world?

Colin Firth: I’d forgotten all about it, to be honest. It’s been 10 or so years since the second one and more than 15 since we shot the first one. I tend to forget about things a week or two walking off the set. I hadn’t been carrying it around with me. But I knew that there were people out there who loved the movies and cared about this. They probably knew this character a lot better than I did and seen the films more recently than I had.

Honestly, I felt a little intimidated, playing a character I felt was owned by other people more than by me. That I had to conform to something people expected. Once it was written right, though, and once I was with Renee and Shirley Henderson (Jude), James Callis (Tom) and Sally Phillips (Shazzer), and Bridget’s mom and dad (Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent), it all started to come back. To the extent, if we were in a familiar location, Bridget’s flat or something, it suddenly felt as if I’d never left. In the end, it all came a lot easier than I feared.

Did a lot of fans come up to you and pleadingly ask when another Bridget Jones’s movie was going to happen?

Firth: That does come up. Obviously, if people love a movie and it has the possibility of continuation then there is going to be a question of whether it’s worth doing another one. There’s also cynicism and skepticism about sequels. It would be a bit of a mix. Some people would be longing for one and others would say don’t do it as if it would some sort of trap. Some sort of proof of diminishing returns or something.

I was ambivalent, too. I thought it really has to feel time, the right script and the right circumstances for it to be worthwhile, and I always felt it would probably help the case for it a great deal, if we were allowed to age a bit. Paradoxically, it freshens it. The fact that we’re different now. Checking in with these characters at a different time in their lives is interesting. It makes it so it’s not just one more episode following along from the last. We now have a common history, not just the characters but the actors themselves – and the entire audience. However old you were when you first saw it, you’re all 15 years older than that time.

Were you glad to have Emma Thompson come on as one of the co-writers (along with the book’s author Helen Fielding and Dan Mazer)?

Firth: The whole thing really took a huge leap forward when she got involved. I could see signs of promise in the incarnations that I saw before, but as soon as Emma contributed to the development, I could suddenly see the movie. I think she was the first person to really bring the focus back to Bridget. I think the less central the men are, the stronger the story becomes, and oddly enough, the stronger the male characters are. Because frankly, we buzz around, these two guys, and try to get her attention – and you increasingly feel she may have feelings for them – but she could manage without them.

You could definitely see how she could have easily been a single mom.

Firth: That’s one of her options, isn’t it? It’s not just Mark, Jack or die, it’s Mark, Jack or maybe neither. There’s a very strong case for neither.

Patrick Dempsey’s American character, Jack, proved to be a very formidable rival for Bridget’s affections, don’t you think?

Firth: Yes, that was made all too clear. Anyone less than that probably would have weakened the story. Dempsey has made a huge, huge contribution to this version. He throws my character into the reeds. [Mark Darcy] becomes three times more British than he was, if it’s possible.

What do you like the most about Mark?

Firth: Oh, I don’t know. I suppose I recognize him. I mean, I don’t actually know an awful lot of people that are like Mark. I don’t think he defines Britishness in the way the mythology would suggest. I have met repressed people on both sides of the Atlantic. Growing up, my mates and I would have rather been Sid Vicious or members of the Royal family. Nevertheless, Mark is kind of an archetype.

I think what I sympathize about him, I think he is not without passion. I think it’s quite the reverse. I think he’s completely paralyzed by his whole emotional life. I think he can’t express it and it’s torture for him. And I think Bridget is the only person on the planet that is able to get under the shell. And the baby, well, that opens him up a lot as well.

That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank Colin very much for his time! Be sure to check out Bridget Jones’s Baby when it hits theatres this weekend!

About the author

Kit Bowen