13 things you probably didn’t know about ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’

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Renée Zellweger starred in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’ Miramax

Almost 20 years ago, Bridget Jones entered the rom-com scene and stole fans’ hearts with her relatable struggles, charm, and clumsiness in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001).

Here are some fun facts you probably didn’t know about the film:


The movie is based on a book by Helen Fielding.

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The book and movie are both part of a series. Miramax/Universal

The original idea for the book actually came from Helen Fielding’s experience writing columns for The Independent about her adventures as a single woman living in London.

“When we heard the columns were being turned into a book, we moved aggressively to buy the rights,” producer and cochair of Working Title Films Eric Fellner told the Los Angeles Times in 2016. “We really, really wanted it. We believed in the character and the story.”


The iconic fire-pole scene almost didn’t make it into the movie.

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Renée Zellweger in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’ Miramax/Universal

Zellweger told InStyle in 2019 that the day they were filming the scenes in the fire station, they ran out of time before they could get the shot of her sliding down the pole into the camera.

Later, on a pick-up filming day, the actress said she kept thinking about how they didn’t get the shot.

“… I looked across the room, and I saw that there was this plain-old, practical pole that just happened to be in that room,” the actress said.

She continued, “And the camera guys, two of them, ran over there and set the camera up on the floor, and I climbed up that pole and slid down and landed on the camera.”


The snowy scenes at the beginning and end of the film were inspired by “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

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The director based the shots on one of her favourite holiday films. Miramax/Universal

The snowfall at the beginning and end of the film was inspired by an iconic Christmas movie.

“I nicked the snow scenes from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Both films show the ups and downs of life, and the snow gives a fairytale feel and sense of cinema,” director Sharon Maguire told The Telegraph in 2001.


It took a while to come up with the right design for Mark Darcy’s Christmas sweater.

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Colin Firth in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’ Miramax/Universal

While they were making the film, Maguire asked about 20 or 30 knitters to come up with design ideas for the ugly Christmas sweater Mark Darcy wears when he meets Bridget Jones.

“At first, none of the designs worked. They were lovely, but they just weren’t funny,” Maguire told Entertainment Weekly in November. “So eventually we decided it had to be a moose, not a reindeer.”

But Colin Firth, who played Mark Darcy, wasn’t a fan of the sweater because it was so hot on set.

“I almost tore the jumper to pieces pulling it off between takes – I probably lost about 15 pounds,” he told the publication. “I had little love for it by the end.”

He added, “Also, I never noticed it was a moose.”


It started out as an indie movie until Hugh Grant and Firth signed on.

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Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’ Miramax/Universal

When the team originally set out to make the film, they didn’t intend for it to be the smashing box-office hit it became.

“It was going to be an indie movie, really, but when Hugh Grant agreed to play Daniel Cleaver and Colin Firth agreed to play Mr. Darcy, it became a much more commercial prospect,” Maguire told the Los Angeles Times in 2016.

Landing those actors was a bit of a dream come true for Fielding, who actually based the two characters in the book on Firth and Grant.


“Bridget Jones’s Diary” wasn’t the first time Firth played a Mr. Darcy.

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Colin Firth played Mr. Darcy on the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ miniseries. BBC

Six years before “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” Firth played Mr. Darcy on BBC’s 1995 “Pride and Prejudice” miniseries.

“Colin was on BBC’s ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ and [Fielding] was obsessed with him, as were most of the females in the nation,”Maguire told the LA Times in 2016.


One of the characters is based on the film’s director.

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Sally Phillips as Shazzer in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’ Miramax/Universal

Fielding and Maguire are real-life friends, so it’s not surprising that the director inspired Bridget’s friend Shazzer.

“I’m delighted to be in the book, especially as Shazzer is so much wittier than me,” Maguire told The Telegraph in 2001. “The only thing is that you go to parties and you worry that people will expect you to be funnier than you really are.”


The film wasn’t a big hit at first.

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The production team was worried it wasn’t going to be well received. Miramax Films

Fellner told the LA Times in 2016 that the movie wasn’t an instant hit.

“We’d had a screening here in the UK that hadn’t gone that well, and it’d been quite tough in the cutting room,” he told the publication. “Next was this preview in New York, and I was hiding in the back, thinking it was going to be a disaster.”

He continued, “But at the end, people were enraptured. It went from being something we were very scared of to a big hit movie.”


Zellweger spent three weeks working at a publishing house in London to prepare for the role.

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Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones. Miramax/Universal

Before playing Bridget, Zellweger spent three weeks working at Picador, the novel’s publishing company.

No one knew that Zellweger was an undercover film star except for her “boss,” Camilla Elworthy, and she ended up being rather good at the job.

In a 2001 column for The Guardian, Elworthy wrote that Zellweger was so helpful at one meeting that the deputy publisher, Maria Rejt, thought they should hire her.


Some UK wine experts blamed the movie for the dip in chardonnay sales.

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The wine is featured throughout the movie, but not always in the best context. Bridget Jones’ Diary/Miramax

British wine writer Oz Clarke told The Independent in 2011, that “Bridget Jones’s Diary” was to blame for the drop in chardonnay sales across the country in the early 2000s.

The main character drank a lot of the wine throughout the film, but she often indulged in scenes where she was emotionally distraught from her quest for a husband.

“Until Bridget Jones, chardonnay was really sexy. After, people said, ‘God, not in my bar,'” he told the publication. “If you’re a marketing manager what would you say? ‘OK, I’m going to sell something that makes people feel really miserable. Let’s call it chardonnay!'”


The final movie in the “Bridget Jones” trilogy came out 15 years after the first.

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Two sequels came out after ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’ Miramax/Universal

The “Bridget Jones” trilogy spans 15 years, with “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” premiering in 2004 and “Bridget Jones’s Baby” coming out in 2016.


The fight scene between Firth and Grant’s characters was originally supposed to look sexy.

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Colin Firth and Hugh Grant’s character fought in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’ Miramax/Universal

The big fight scene between Firth and Grant almost had a much different vibe.

“We were going to be buff and our shirts were going to be ripped off,” Firth told the LA Times in 2016. “I looked at myself and said, ‘You’re certainly never going to get that type with me.'”

He continued, “… I think we both realised that the last time we fought was when we were 10. A playground fight. So we made a decision largely based on logic and common sense to make it more playful.”


Zellweger said she’s open to revisiting her beloved role in the future.

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Renée Zellweger is still well-known for playing Bridget Jones. Miramax/Universal

Zellweger has given fans a glimmer of hope for future installments in the “Bridget Jones” series.

“Man, I’d love the experience of revisiting her. I love her. I just think she’s so much fun. She’s the best. Sure, if I got invited to do that, that sounds like fun,” the actress told Vanity Fair in January.

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