Bridget Jones’s Diary author Helen Fielding ‘staggered’ by amount of ‘sexism’ in Renee Zellweger film

'You couldn't write that now,' she admitted

Jacob Stolworthy
Sunday 05 July 2020 14:20 BST
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Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding has said she was “staggered” after a recent re-watch of Bridget Jones’s Diary due to the amount of sexism.

Fielding said it was the first time she had seen the 2001 Renée Zellweger film “in years and years”, and was surprised by its content, stating: “You couldn’t write that now.”

“I took my kids to see a screening of the movie. I hadn’t seen it for years and years, and I was staggered,” she said on Desert Island Discs

“The level of sexism that Bridget was dealing with, the hand on the bum in so many of the scenes. Richard Finch [Bridget’s boss, saying]... ‘Let’s have a shot of the boobs’.”

Fielding continued: “In the end, she turned around and stuck it to them. But it was just part and parcel of her life, and it was quite shocking for me to see how things have changed since then.”

Fielding co-wrote the hit film with Richard Curtis and Andrew Davies. It was adapted from her 1996 novel of the same name.

She acknowledged that those scenes would now have to be written in a different way.

Fielding also addressed the long-standing rumours that the character Mark Darcy – played in the films by Colin Firth – was inspired by Labour leader Keir Starmer.

“It’s amazing the number of people that lay claim to be Daniel [Hugh Grant’s character] or Mark, including Keir Starmer,” she said, seemingly denying the link.

Fielding attended the same university as the former Director of Public Prosecutions, who found success as a high-profile barrister at the same time Fielding became a reporter for newspapers, including The Independent, in the early 1990s.

Desert Island Discs is available to stream on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.

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