Renee Zellweger graces the cover of Vogue UK and talks about gaining weight for her return in Bridget Jones’s Baby to reprise the iconic diarist character. She also opens up on why she took a six-year hiatus, leaving Hollywood and passing on plumb roles for “anonymity.’
The 45-year-old Oscar winning actress is back on the scene. It’s been a dozen years since we’ve seen the life and times of Brigit Jones on the big screen, the title character of the wildly popular Helen Fielding novels.
In her Vogue UK magazine interview, Renee Zellweger opened up about her return to that familiar character who’s become a part of our pop culture milieu. The original movie, ‘ Bridget Jones’s Diary’ of 2001 was easily one of the biggest box office hits of the aughts and one of the movies that will go on to typify that decade and it led to the 2004 sequel ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.’
She said of the physical transformation she made to reprise that role, “I put on a few pounds. I also put on some breasts and a baby bump. Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much.”‘
But sadly, that’s how it is, and perhaps all the more, we are deep into the body shaming era. After all the original movie was released years before Facebook and the other social media platforms that have given cyberbullies a stronghold.
And underscoring the point, “No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”
Renee Zellweger has had more than her share of this unrelenting scrutiny of late, when she made her return to the red carpet and was met with cruel speculation about her “changing face” which she finally addressed, in a most gracious manner at that, saying, ” I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.”
And in the Vogue UK interview Zellweger opened up about that “different” life she had been leading and she also explained her absence from movies and from the Hollywood scene. She said, “I found anonymity, so I could have exchanges with people on a human level and be seen and heard, not be defined by this image that precedes me when I walk into a room.”
She went on to say, “You cannot be a good storyteller if you don’t have life experiences, and you can’t relate to people.”
But that anonymity came at a price, yes, and constant dilemma. After all, as time marches on, so do opportunities slip away. For her it was a willful choice. She told the magazine, “As a creative person, saying no to that wonderful once-in-a-lifetime project is hard.”
She continued, saying, “But I was fatigued and wasn’t taking the time I needed to recover between projects, and it caught up with me.”
And revealing just how visceral that fatigue was, she added, “I got sick of the sound of my own voice: it was time to go away and grow up a bit.”
It was her choice, then, to avoid a descent into burnout and/or to doing the proverbial “phoning it in.” After all, we know how major stars get much backlash when they”re perceived to be relying on star power and not fully immersing themselves in the role. It’s the polar opposite of the star who chooses to de-glamorize in some way, gain weight or lose weight to fully inhabit a character. That’s the sort of work that gets Oscar nominations.
See more of the interview here and see Renee Zellweger’s Vogue cover and photos below!