Renée Zellweger is now inseparable from the film “Le Journal de Bridget Jones”, but did you know that two French actresses had been approached before her?
Bridget Jones’ Diary propelled actress Renée Zellweger to star status, she who had previously filmed alongside Jim Carrey (Crazy for Irene), Meryl Streep (Contre-jour), Morgan Freeman (Nurse Betty) or Matthew McConaughey (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Next Generation). But Bridget could have had a completely different face: that of a French actress.
Indeed, for the first female role of the Bridget Jones Diary, the director Sharon Maguire and the studio are considering an incalculable name of actresses, mostly from English-speaking countries, with the exception of two actresses then filming mainly in France: Juliette Binoche and Sophie Marceau.
Only ten years after her revelation in La Boum (1980), Sophie Marceau began to tour internationally, first for the Franco-American co-production Pacific Palisades, then Braveheart, in which she played Princess Isabelle. She continued with Firelight, but it was in 1999 that everything accelerated, just before the launch of Bridget Jones.
The same year, Marceau signed a small role in The Dream of a Midsummer Night by Michael Hoffman, gave the reply to David Spade (A Girl Who Has Dog), but appears especially in Le Monde is not sufficient, 19th opus. from the James Bond saga, with Pierce Brosnan in 007. Driven by the incredible success of the film, she was then considered to play Bridget Jones.
However, she would prefer to return to France to shoot La Fidélité by Andrzej Zulawski, a director she had already worked with for L’Amour braque (1985), My nights are more beautiful than your days (1989) and La Note bleue (1991). She will then continue with Belphégor by Jean-Paul Salomé.
After filming Mauvais sang by Leos Carax, Juliette Binoche meets Philip Kaufman who turns her in The unbearable lightness of being alongside Daniel Day-Lewis. Continuing her career in France, she nevertheless toured Les Hauts de Hurlevent (1992), The English Patient (1996) internationally, for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
She is also approached to play the heroine of Bridget Jones Diary, but on the same shooting dates, finally left to shoot Le Chocolat with Judi Dench and Johnny Depp, a feature film that earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.