December 27, 2023 | Stephanie Kelsey

Little Known Facts About Bridget Jones's Diary

“I love this character, I like that she tells stories about what it’s like to be a woman and these really relatable situations at certain times in life. It’s so right to tell a story about Bridget in this stage of her life.” —Renée Zellweger, on Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones is a woman for the ages. Yes, she smokes and drinks perhaps a little too much than what’s good and healthy for her, but she does it anyways. Her diary is where she keeps her hopes, though, writing her resolutions down, which not only include quitting lighting up and cutting back on that booze intake, but also her weight loss goals, crushes, and career ambitions. Every woman can find something in Jones to relate to. But where did she come from? And what about the actors who help to tell her story off the pages, on the big screen? Keep reading to find out!

Bridget Jones's Diary Facts

37. Going Undercover

After Renée Zellweger was cast in the lead role, she decided to go undercover to really get the part down pat. For three weeks, she went by the name Bridget Cavendish at Picador, a British publishing house. The story for the staff was that she was getting in some work experience, which meant she did a lot of filing, sending books to reviewers, answering the phone and yes, doing coffee runs. She was so convincing that the Deputy Publisher wanted to offer Zellweger a job. Clearly, they had no idea who the temporary worker really was!

Bridget jones diary split image

36. Writing Her Own Press

During her time undercover at Picador, Zellweger came across a tabloid story that didn’t shy away from complaining about an American being cast as Bridget Jones. The actress wrote “rubbish” along the margin and filed the story away.

Renee Zellweger factsShutterstock

35. Paying it Back

Zellweger’s boss at Picador, Camilla Elworthy, got a tiny little part in the film too. Lucky lady! After the actress sent Elworthy a thank-you card and gift, she also invited her to the set one day, telling her she would also be on screen. “[Zellweger] made sure that I was put somewhere that I would be seen ... As a result, half my head can be seen for half a nano-second in the launch party scene.”

Renee Zellweger factsBridget Jones's Diary (2001), Miramax

34. Woman of Power

The novel isn’t the only thing that’s gained respect. Bridget Jones herself made a big impact in 2016, appearing on the Woman’s Hour Power List. Seven women, fictional and otherwise, were chosen from the past 70 years for the list, which included Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Castle, Helen Brook, Germaine Greer, Jayaben Desai and Beyoncé. Jones is in quite good company.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsFlickr

33. XOXO, Anonymous

The idea for Bridget Jones actually started in a newspaper column. Helen Fielding wrote the column anonymously for The Independent about what it was like being single in London, with it quickly turning into a series of books. “Much as I needed the money, the idea of writing about myself in that way seemed hopelessly embarrassing and revealing,” she said. “I offered to write an anonymous column instead, using an exaggerated, comic, fictional character.”

Bridget Jones's Diary factsGetty Images

32. It’s Just a Little Crush

Fielding was a huge fan of Colin Firth’s, developing a crush on him through his role in Pride and Prejudice. In fact, both Firth and Hugh Grant are mentioned in the novel!

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsPride and Prejudice (1995), BBC

We agree!

31. Best of the Best

In 2007, Bridget Jones’s Diary was added along with the likes of The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad as one of the novels to define the 20th century, in a list compiled by The Guardian.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsFlickr, Martin Pettitt

30. Grant, or no Grant – That Is the Question

Grant may not have even appeared in the series at all if it weren’t for one of the writers. Legendary rom-com writer Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, etc.) was brought on, and Grant was game. “I kept saying, ‘It's not working. Just get Richard Curtis to come in and help re-write it,’” he said during an interview.

Renee Zellweger factsBridget Jones's Diary (2001), Miramax

29. We Write What We Know

Fielding used one of her best friends as inspiration for the character Shazza, Sharon Maguire. Maguire also just happens to be the director of two of the films.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsGetty Images

28. Acoustics Are Better in There

How’s this for symmetry: the first time we meet Jude, she’s crying in a bathroom. She does that a lot, apparently. Shirley Henderson, who portrays Jude, was also in the Harry Potter films playing Moaning Myrtle. Myrtle also spends all of her time crying in bathrooms.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets factsGetty Images

27. Six Degrees of Potter

Henderson isn’t the only Harry Potter connection. Gemma Jones, Emma Thompson, and Jim Broadbent, who act in the Jones franchise, also acted in the Potter films, portraying Madame Pomfrey, Professor Trelawney, and Professor Slughorn, respectively.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban FactsGetty Images

26. I Think I Saw This One Before…

If you feel like Bridget Jones somewhat resembles Pride and Prejudice, you’d be right. Fielding said she took an idea from the classic novel for her own, saying “Jane Austen's plots are very good and have been market researched over a number of centuries so I decided simply to take one of them.” Every idea comes from somewhere, right?

Fanny Burney FactsPexels

25. Catch Her in Her (Partial) Birthday Suit

There’s a scene in Baby where Jones walks around uncovered, save for the apron she has on. If this sounds familiar, then you've probably also watched Empire Records. Her character has a similar scene in that film as well.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsBridget Jones's Baby (2016), Universal Pictures

24. The Mark of a Great Actor

Zellweger must have really got into the role–Grant said that he never heard her speaking in just her normal, American accent through filming. The first time he heard it? During the wrap party. It only makes sense that she would keep the accent going – in addition to her “work experience” at Picador, she also lived in the United Kingdom for three months, speaking with the British accent, before filming for the movie even started.

Rom-com factsGetty Images

23. A Bridget by Another Face

There were a lot of other big names up for the title role in Bridget Jones. Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Emily Watson, Rachel Weisz, and Toni Colette were among them. Honestly, we could go on, there were so many actresses up for contention! Colette was even offered the role but wound up turning it down since she was on Broadway at the time. For her part, Winslet was thought to be too young.

The Mask FactsGetty Images

22. For the Love of Food

For the role, Zellweger had to gain some weight. 17 lbs to be exact. To do so, she didn’t exercise at all while having three meals a day, along with a lot of snacks. Even though that sounds like my regular life, don’t try this at home, kids. She did it all while under the consultation of a dietician and endocrinologist, and over a seven-month span.

Renee Zellweger factsBridget Jones's Diary (2001), Miramax

21. Just the Way She Is

For the third film, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Zellweger wasn’t required to gain any weight. “We all really loved the notion that Bridget had finally reached her ideal weight–somewhere between a UK size 10 or 12–but still hadn’t solved any of her issues about love and loneliness,” said Sharon Maguire, the director of the film. The concept was slightly controversial, though. Some media outlets online believed that Jones’ character should have stayed true to the story for her weight. Can’t please everyone, right?

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsShutterstock

20. Just Herbs, Thanks

Bridget is a smoker, which is evident if you’ve watched the films. Zellweger didn’t really smoke during filming, though. She actually smoked herbal smokes instead!

Rom-com QuizFlickr

19. Music and News

Zellweger, Firth, and Grant all had different ways of passing time between takes. Zellweger would listen to music (Smashing Pumpkins, to be exact), while Firth read The Guardian, and Grant read The Telegraph. Zellweger bought Grant CDs after they were done filming.

Renee Zellweger arrives for the Hollywood Film AwardsDFree, Shutterstock

18. One of a Kind

This one’s strange to think about. The Bridget Jones trilogy is the only rom-com series in the 21st century that has not only the same leading actress for each film, but was also released in theatres in its entirety. Huh.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsGetty Images

17. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Actually, if you had asked the village of Snowshill if filming there had had a positive impact on their tourism, the people would have said no. Despite the fact that fake snow was brought in during summer to accommodate filming, people didn’t flock to visit. Evidently, foot and mouth disease was still a concern for many tourists at the time.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsShutterstock

16. And Scene!

Depending on what country you live in, your end credits will be different. A young Bridget and Mark Darcy are seen running around in a backyard through a home video in America, while interviews about Jones and Darcy are played in Australia, Latin America, and Europe. But have no fear! Each zone airs the other’s end credits in the deleted scenes section of the DVDs.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsBridget Jones

15. Au Naturelle

There’s a bit of a fight scene that goes down between Firth’s and Grant’s characters in the first film. You should know that it was completely natural, no choreography was needed! But have no fear–neither actor went flying through the restaurant window. That stunt was left to the pros.

Bridget Jones's Diary Facts

14. The OG Cast

The characters who reappear in Edge of Reason are played by the same actors from the original film, save for one. Charmian May, who played Mrs. Darcy, passed before filming of the sequel, and was ultimately replaced with Shirley Dixon.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsFlickr

13. Breaking the Mold

When it was announced there would be a third film, Bridget Jones’s Baby, it was also revealed that it wouldn’t follow along with the book series. Instead, they opted to go back to the roots of it all: Fielding’s column from The Independent.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsGetty Images

12. A Sign of the Times

Bridget Jones has a diary. I think that much is obvious considering the title. However, in Bridget Jones’ Baby, the old-fashioned pen-to-paper diary got a makeover: an iPad.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsBridget Jones's Baby (2016), Universal Pictures

11. Who’s That Guy?

There’s a familiar face who appears in Baby: Ed Sheeran. The singer plays himself and has a run-in with Jones and a friend in a bar, though the pair have no idea who the famous ginger is.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsBridget Jones's Baby (2016), Universal Pictures

10. That’s Not Confusing at All

Jones’ birthday is the 9th of November in the original film, but somehow changes to the 9th of May for the third. Maybe they just forgot? That’s not all–her birth year is up for contention, too. In The Edge of Reason, she was born in 1972, but in Baby, it's 1973.

Renee Zellweger factsBridget Jones's Diary (2001), Miramax

9. Gone but not Forgotten

Parts of Edge of Reason were filmed in Thailand, and cast members could often be found at Mama Mia’s, one of the small bars in the area. After the tsunami in 2004, the area was totally destroyed. One of the bar’s regulars, Stuart Hopkins, attempted to reach out to the cast afterward with some success. Zellweger sent a package to him in June 2005 that included t-shirts, hats, and a cast-signed giant film poster. The area was re-built, along with Mama Mia’s, and the poster was hung up on its walls.

Renee Zellweger factsWikimedia Commons

8. Years in the Making

There was a lot of drama revolving around the third film, too. It was originally announced in 2009 but didn’t actually get released until 2016! All three main actors were reportedly on board at the beginning, yet Grant opted not to return, allegedly saying he didn’t like the script. Although it was reworked and rewritten, Patrick Dempsey stepped in to fill that extra role that Grant left empty.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsGetty Images

7. Keeping It Secret

The actors had no idea how Bridget Jones’s Baby would end. Sounds silly, I know. But they filmed three different endings, only finding out the true ending when it was released. Don’t worry, we won’t spoil it here.

Bridget Jones's Diary factsWikipedia

6. Winner For the Cutest Ugly Sweater Goes to…

Firth admits trying to take one souvenir in particular from set: a reindeer sweater. “I had a feeling that if the film did well that might be remembered. But no, that was whisked off. And I think auctioned for a good cause or something.” I would have tried to keep it too, Colin.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsBridget Jones's Diary (2001), Miramax

5. We Want More!

If you still need more of Bridget Jones and her antics, there’s potentially a fourth film in sight. Or, at least, Zellweger would love to reprise her role. “I really hope (there is another movie). I do. I love her. She's so much fun,” she told the Daily Record. Helen Fielding released the novel Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy in 2013, and ***SPOILER ALERT*** in the hit novel, Jones finds herself single again after the passing of Mark Darcy after years of a happy marriage which produced two children. Sadly, there may have been some real-life inspiration, as Fielding's former partner and the father of her two children passed in 2016 after a long illness.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsShutterstock

4. Some Cheese With That Grape beverage?

Chardonnay didn’t benefit at all from the film. Grape beverage experts believed that sales for the drink dropped over 7 million the following year because the film didn’t portray it in the best of lights.

Bridget Jones's Diary FactsWikimedia Commons

3. A Novel Cameo

Acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie has a cameo in the original film. He’s good friends with Fielding, who decided to call him up and ask “how would you like to make a fool of yourself?” Seems he didn’t mind! Jones gets to ask him where the washroom is. Also, according to Rushdie, he and Grant shared a kiss, but it never made it to the final product. Fact? Fiction? We’ll let you decide.

Niccolo Machiavelli FactsFlickr

2. Firth on Firth

The reference to Firth in Edge of Reason was cut from the sequel film, since the actor is already playing Jones’ love interest. However, if you want to see Zellweger as Jones interviewing Firth as himself, you can check it out in the deleted scenes. Personally, I think it would have been great to leave that storyline in the film! A little extra comedic relief anyone?

Bridget Jones's Diary factsGetty Images

1. His (Not-So) Secret Admirer

Zellweger was dating actor and comedian Jim Carrey while she was filming Bridget Jones, which also meant she kept a photo of him on her desk while secretly working at Picador. One of her co-workers, who kept giving Zellweger advice during her time there, kept questioning why she had the photo on her desk! Alexandra Heminsley had no idea who Zellweger really was but the actress sent her a card after her time there, thanking her for being a good friend.

Bridget Jones's Diary factsGetty Images


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14


Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital

Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital

Unlock the secrets of Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital. Join us as we explore the history and hidden stories of Germany’s creepiest hospital.
February 16, 2024 Sammy Tran