Ask actress Renee Zellweger about her weight, and she yawns.
“Boring,” she says when asked to talk about her body.
Zellweger, a Texan renowned for piling on the pounds to take the lead role in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and sequel “The Edge of Reason,” is playing another British woman in “Miss Potter,” based on the life of children’s writer Beatrix Potter.
Oscar-winner Zellweger, 37, recently told Reuters why she likes to play Brits — and what she thinks about the column inches the media devotes to her body:
Q: You surprised critics with your accent and performance playing London singleton Bridget Jones, and now you are playing Beatrix Potter. Why are people so fascinated by how well you adopt an English accent?
A: I don’t understand it, it is just work. It is part of the process. You concentrate in a different way, I have learned, because I kept trying to do that in this last piece that I did where I play a contemporary character and I would catch myself listening to how I was forming words. Anyway, I work with Barbara Berkery (dialogue coach), and she teaches me what to do and she stands by me and she corrects me.
Q: Is it true you did not break out of the accent for the entire six months you were filming? Why?
A: It was just lazy, because I don’t want to work in the morning to start all over again; that’s the truth. I just wanted it to be habit because I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to have to do the exercises to start your face going in the right direction and using the right muscles in your face. I colored my hair every day for this picture. Every day I put temporary brown color that was dripping down my neck as I left my hotel room to go to set, and I wished I had colored it, just committed to it, because it would have been a nice shade of brown by the end of the film instead of the sort of papaya-pink that it ended up becoming.
Q: You had to gain weight to play Bridget Jones, and ever since there has been a lot of attention given to your body. What is your reaction to that?
A: It’s disheartening, because it is a reflection of what it is that we value, and it is a superficiality that does not deserve the focus of energy that it gets. It’s boring — and it sends wrong messages.
Q: What do you think are the main differences between playing the fictional character of Bridget Jones and now a real British woman, Beatrix Potter?
A: I guess the difference was that there are clearly more people to disappoint. I won’t say that Helen Fielding didn’t create a character that wasn’t embraced by popular British culture, but I guess Beatrix was part of the fiber of British literature in a very substantial way.
Q: Why do you take so well to British roles?
A: I have no idea. I find that the further removed the character is from myself, the more creatively satisfying it becomes and maybe I feel safer with it.
Q: It has been reported there might be a third Bridget Jones movie. Is there any truth to that?
A: I was asked a lot about that over in England. I said there was no truth to it at all, but isn’t that incredible, because it was reported that the deal was signed on the dotted line.