"She's a bit more mature and has moved on," Zellweger tells EW

By Michael Miller
Updated December 21, 2015 12:05 PM

Bridget Jones has done a lot of growing up in the 12 years since we saw her last, but that doesn’t mean she’s completely outgrown her signature hapless hijinks.

“She’s a bit more mature and has moved on, as we all have,” Renée Zellweger tells Entertainment Weekly in its latest cover story.

But that doesn’t mean her drama filled love life has calmed down completely. In Bridget Jones’s Baby, we find our heroine, now 43, single and pregnant with a baby that belongs either to a handsome billionaire played by Patrick Dempsey, or good ole Mark Darcy, played again by Colin Firth.

“I think that’s her essence, really,” Zellweger says of her character’s penchant for chaos. “All of us do things in our personalities that we don’t outgrow.”

Despite the long gap between the second and third films, the actress believes her iconic character is more relevant than ever. “I like that she tells what it’s like to be a woman in these really relatable situations,” she explains. “It’s so right to tell a story about Bridget in this stage of her life.”

Producer Debra Hayward adds, “All of Bridget’s friends have moved on. They’ve all got children. It’s what we’ve all sort of gone through as women, isn’t it?”

As for the men in her life, Firth is still in the hunt for Bridget’s affections over a decade since their proposal apparently fell through at the end of The Edge of Reason. While Hugh Grant’s Daniel Cleaver is officially out of the picture, Firth has his hands full with an even worthier rival.

“Mark didn’t think Daniel was better than him,” the The King’s Speech star, 55, says. “This guy Jack seems to be more of the charming good guy, and in some ways that’s scarier.”

Dempsey, meanwhile, has been more than happy to play the third leg of this new love triangle. “It’s completely reinvigorated me,” the Grey’s Anatomy actor says. “I’ve enjoyed it immensely, getting back to something that has a beginning, middle and end. It’s just a completely different approach. With Grey’s, you’re just grinding it out. In this instance, you take the time to get through things.”

Zellweger also touched on the reaction to her changing appearance last fall, saying she was able to isolate herself from the negativity. “All I know is that people were sending support, which means I must have needed it,” she says. “I know it sounds pretty unlikely that a person might be able to keep herself clear of those words or of that experience, but I have and it takes effort.”