By Stephen M. Silverman
January 21, 2003 12:00 PM

Renée Zellweger, a svelte vision in a black gown at the Golden Globes Sunday night, may have looked in tip-top shape, but soon the “Chicago” star will be packing the pounds back on.

Zellweger, 33, who was named best actress in a musical or comedy at the Globes, says she is preparing to reprise her comic role as the put-upon Londoner Bridget Jones in “The Edge of Reason,” a sequel to 2001’s popular “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” (Both films are based on Helen Fielding’s novels.)

“I’m ready, willing and able,” Zellweger tells the London Times. “Bridget’s a character I really identify with. I’ll put the weight back on with pleasure.”

The Texas-born Zellweger gained about 20 pounds and a convincing English accent to play the role of Bridget the first time out. Those who’ve seen “Chicago,” however, can see a bone-thin Zellweger. (During one song in the movie, “Roxie,” she convincingly parodies Marilyn Monroe — minus Monroe’s trademark voluptuous curves.)

Zellweger wasn’t always so excited about playing Bridget again. The New York Post reports that last year, she told a reporter there was “no way” she’d put the weight on again.

The Post says the actress ultimately was swayed by her costar, Colin Firth, who is expected to reprise his role as Mark Darcy, Bridget’s love interest. (No word on whether the new film will also include Hugh Grant, who played her heel of a boss.)

“The Edge of Reason” is slated for a mid-2004 release, and since Zellweger is now said to command $20 million per picture, she’ll ostensibly be paid $1 million a pound to gain for the role.

Then again, maybe she won’t have to put on all that weight this time. For a long stretch of “Reason,” Bridget is shown rotting in a Thai jail, accused of drug smuggling.