What Critics Said About Renee Zellweger Casting As Bridget Jones: “ Crap American Comedian Playing British Icon ”
Bridget Jones is widely regarded as Renee Zellweger’s defining role, and a role fans continue to celebrate to this day.
But not everyone was so supportive when Zellweger was first chosen as the quintessential single woman living in London.
This week marks 20 years since Zellweger first appeared as Bridget in the 2001 film Bridget Jones Diary.
In a remodeled 2016 interview, the actor opened up about the British reaction she faced after being cast for the role, which was already famous due to Helen Fielding’s bestselling 1996 novel.
The decision to choose an American actor as the British heroine was not greeted with enthusiasm, especially as Zellwegger had triumphed against well-known names such as Helena Bonham Carton, Rachel Weisz and Emily Watson.
As pointed out by Yahoo, a Evening standard The columnist wrote of the cast: “Of all the clicking, Hollywood idiocy.”
Speaking of the initial backlash, Zellweger said she “didn’t realize how widespread this controversy was.”
Before the shoot Bridget Jones Diary, the actor went undercover as an intern in London book publisher Picador’s advertising department to prepare for the role.
“I was going to work every day,” she said Yahoo. “I would start with a dialect coach, then I would go work at Picador and do my work in the office.”
Zellweger explained that part of his “work experience” was cutting media clippings that concerned the authors Picador represented, including Fielding.
“So every once in a while something would pop up and I would see ‘Crap American Comedian Playing English Icon’, and I had to cut it and go put it in the file,” she says.
Zellweger, however, added that she was unaware of the strength of the reaction.
“I thought it was just a very small thing. I didn’t know how widespread this controversy was, ”she said. “I mean, I get it. I understand.”
Zellweger won both an Oscar nomination and a nod from the Bafta for his performance as a British icon.
She reprized the role for Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason followed in 2004 and Bridget Jones Baby, which happened 12 years later in 2016.