Renée Zellweger was feeling nervous before returning to work for Bridget Jones's Baby—not that she showed it. But then, what would you expect from an Academy Award-winning actress?
E! News' Marc Malkin sat down with Zellweger and Colin Firth in London Monday afternoon, ahead of the film's theatrical release on Sept. 16. Bridget Jones's Baby is Zellweger's first movie role in six years, and though the character is familiar to her, being in front of the camera again felt foreign. "It was scary," the actress said of reprising her role from 2001's Bridget Jones's Diary and its sequel, 2004's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. "Well, it's always a little scary."
Zellweger admitted that she suffers from "imposter syndrome," and she would report to set each day "certain that this is the time you're going to be figured out. This is the time you're going to get fired, for sure. They're going to know this time." Her fears later disappeared, and not a moment too soon. "You get so tired at a certain point that you can't really think about it."
Seems Zellweger and her character have something in common.
Firth knows the feeling well. "Fatigue is a great anesthetic," he explained.
"It is!" Zellweger said. "It's wonderful."
In hindsight, she added, "The nerves are right out the window when you're knuckle driving to work. But there's so much joy involved in the process. It's such a happy reunion with this guy and all of our film crew and the people involved in the project that you don't think of much else except how spoiled rotten you are that you get to work with these characters on this set."
Zellweger has been working steadily since the early '90s (save for her self-imposed hiatus), and she is still one of the highest-paid and critically beloved actresses in Hollywood. So, what advice did she have to offer young women hoping to break into the business? "Wow. That's a really good question," she said. "It's a hard one to answer because the world has changed so much. I would say, 'Know yourself. Know your boundaries and respect them. Be sure that you love it, because you have to really love it.' Don't you think?" Firth, an Oscar winner himself, agreed with his co-star, telling Malkin, "I also think you have to know when not to take it too seriously."
"That's true, too," Zellweger said.
No matter how "passionate" someone is about acting, Firth said, "You're not going to enjoy it if you're always in a kind of rictus of earnestness about everything." Understanding that show business is "farcical and foolish and silly" helps keep things in perspective. "I don't know if I've ever fully achieved that state of mind, but I do remember that being said to me a long time ago when I was feeling a bit earnest about everything. They said, 'Look, instead of shunning the frivolities, just laugh about it.' Excessive seriousness about what you do, I think, makes you a little dull." Zellweger added, "There's a lot of fun to be had if you recognize the opportunities."
Bridget Jones's Baby is in theaters Sept. 16.
(E! and Universal Pictures are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)