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Why Renée Zellweger Only ‘Put on a Few Pounds’ for ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’

Renée Zellweger famously gained weight to play Bridget Jones in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'. When the actor reprised her role in the franchise's third installment she expected to gain a substantial amount of weight for the role. But the movie's director had other plans.

Renée Zellweger is among the growing list of Hollywood stars to transform their bodies for roles. Some actors get in amazing shape to play superheroes while others pack on pounds. 

Renée Zellweger at the premiere of 'Bridget Jones's Baby'
Renée Zellweger at the premiere of Bridget Jones’s Baby | Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

The actor famously changed her appearance to play Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Diary, a must-see Zellweger movie. The Oscar winner’s physical transformation wasn’t nearly as drastic when she reprised her role in the franchise’s third installment. 

Renée Zellweger gained almost 30 pounds to play Bridget Jones 

Zellweger famously put on a reported 30 pounds for the 2001 romantic comedy, according to CBS News. She played 32-year-old Bridget Jones, a woman determined to take control of her life.

That included exercising regularly and shedding a few pounds. Zellweger’s character even weighed herself regularly. 

Zellweger lost the weight she gained when filming on Bridget Jones’s Diary wrapped. The movie did so well the actor reprised her role in a sequel. That meant looking the part of Bridget once again. 

Renée Zellweger filming 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
Renée Zellweger filming Bridget Jones’s Diary | Darren/Goff/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Zellweger regained the weight she’d previously lost for 2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Audiences saw the next chapter of Bridget’s life where weight and body image continued to be a major part of her life. 

Renée Zellweger gained ‘a few pounds’ to reprise her role as Bridget Jones in ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’

12 years after moviegoers last saw Bridget and only six years after Zellweger stepped away from Hollywood, the actor reprised her role in Bridget Jones’s Baby. However, this time things were different. Yes, Bridget’s love life was as eventful as ever but she was no longer obsessing over her weight. 

Zellweger told The Daily Telegraph she expected to put on weight for the movie but director Sharon Maguire wanted Bridget to be in a place in her life where she’d achieved her “ideal weight.” 

“Sharon was hoping we could show that Bridget had achieved her ideal weight, but at the same time it didn’t mean her life was perfect,” Zellweger said.

The actor continued, saying she wanted Bridget to gain weight. 

“I wasn’t sure about that one though because we all have something we think is wrong, that needs fixing, that in our own minds represents the ideal that we are meant to obtain,” Zellweger said. “And I like the idea that that stays with us throughout our lives.”

The actor admitted in a separate interview with Vogue she ended up gaining some weight — but not much — for Bridget Jones’s Baby

“I put on a few pounds. I also put on some breasts and a baby bump,” she said, adding that “Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much. No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”

Bridget Jones is reportedly getting a documentary

What’s next for Bridget? A documentary. Helen Fielding, the author of the Bridget Jones books that inspired the movies, told Stylist in 2019 that a documentary called Becoming Bridget was in the works for 2020. At publication, further details about the documentary have yet to be announced.