Many diary pages have been filled with sins, confessions, and awkward moments since the first Bridget Jones's Diary film was released in 2001. The first movie, adapted by the bestselling 1996 novel by Helen Fielding, brought in the first of three Oscar nominations for its leading lady, Renee Zellweger. (She won the Supporting Actress Academy Award for Cold Mountain in 2004.) A sequel came through just three years later, based on a follow-up book and covering the first bumps in the relatively blissful new relationship between Bridget and her upper-crust barrister love interest, Mark Darcy. It's taken 12 years to complete what's now the Bridget Jones trilogy. Bridget Jones's Baby arrives in theaters Sep. 16. The beloved and bumbling British heroine is in her 40s and as much a singleton as she was the first time she wrote in her little red journal 15 years ago. That makes her condition a little complicated. Time will tell if the public is ready for a Bridget resurgence. After this outing, is it possible that a fourth Bridget Jones movie might be in the pipeline?
At this time, Universal Pictures has not announced any official plans to make another Bridget Jones film. But I wouldn't count her out just yet. Yahoo News reported from the London premiere of Bridget Jones's Baby that Zellweger is open to the idea of another sequel. "I think it would be interesting perhaps to watch [Bridget] improvise through the next stages," she said, adding a caveat: "If these guys show up."
"These guys" would be Colin Firth, who plays the dashing Mark and has been Zellweger's co-star on the two previous movies, and Patrick Dempsey, joining the fray for the first time as American entrepreneur Jack Qwant. According to The Mirror, Firth reckons this franchise still has decades left in it. "Now that they have revived it, there must be the Old People’s Home version to look forward to,” he said at the premiere.
Bridget fans are used to watching Mark and Bridget's former boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) duke it out for her hand — occasionally in a fountain, always awkwardly. But Grant's departure from the series left the role of the rival open. Whether Jack is the father of Bridget's baby or not, Dempsey seems game to stick around. In an appearance on The Today Show this Monday morning, the actor fielded a question about a possible Bridget Jones 4. "We'll see how this one does," he laughed.
Bridget Jones's Baby does mark a story deviation from the novels. In 2013, Fielding's book Mad About The Boy killed off Mark Darcy, Bridget's husband and father of her two children, much to the chagrin of his many fans. Instead of taking that route, the movie keeps Mark in tact and is based on an original screenplay. A new book, Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries is due this October. It comes chronologically before Mad About The Boy, retconning Bridget's first pregnancy into the "who's the father?" conundrum of the movie. Would a potential fourth film draw from a Fielding book or is the Bridget Jones movie universe out in the wild West of storytelling? If Colin Firth wants to continue playing Mark, he probably hopes it's the latter.
Should there be a fourth Bridget Jones movie? I'll rephrase that: wouldn't it be nice to have a comedy franchise follow a main female character into the second half of her life? Age diversity isn't the film industry's strong suit, especially when it comes to funny women. Bridget Jones is still the realistic, flawed heroine the world needs. And I, for one, am hoping she keeps stumbling through relationships, career problems, and other messes on screen.
Image: Universal Pictures