Bridget Jones’s Baby hits cinemas this Friday 16th September. The franchise is all grown up now, into its third film. But how grown up are the cast in real life?
47, plays Bridget Jones. Off-screen, she dates Doyle Bramhall II
“Being an adult means realising that the conventional ideal does not apply to everybody. You spend the early part of your life thinking it’s all going to come together, and you’re going to figure it out by a certain age. And then you suddenly realise that’s just not true.
“Women traditionally have this battle to be married and start a family by a certain age but have a fulfilling career as well. And men probably feel that pressure to a lesser extent, but they have a different battle going on with the traditional idea of masculinity. Where do they fit in, if women have shattered the glass ceiling?
“Adulthood is a myth. I’m still 19, really. I haven’t grown up. I’ve been naive over the years, and I’ve said silly things, and I’ve made bad choices in all areas of my life. That’s why Bridget is so relatable. We all make mistakes but we just get on with it.
“A long time ago, I was working with a very successful actor who had this absolutely huge bunch of keys that looked like they opened every door in the Vatican. And I remember looking at those keys and thinking, ‘Wow, I don’t ever want that many things that I have to take care of.’ I kind of stuck to my word. I have a fairly small bunch of keys. It keeps your purse light.
“None of my friends conforms to their ages. I get a lot of wisdom from my younger friends; and I have a 92-year-old friend who is probably my worst influence! She loves a martini and a dance with handsome young men… Nephews and nieces and god-children also do a very good job of keeping you feeling like a kid.
“They don’t take ‘no’ for an answer when they want you to go and play on the trampoline, and I’m the first one up there – it keeps me young at heart!”
46, plays Bridget’s best friend Shazzer. Off-screen, she’s married to Andrew and they have three children: Ollie, 12, Luke, nine, and Tom, four.
“I know a lot less about life now than I did at 20. Given that I’m (hopefully) halfway between birth and the inevitable, I am guessing that I will continue down this path and get even further away from the truth. Being an adult is about accepting that.
“In Bridget Jones’s Baby (in cinemas from Friday 16 September), we’ve re-created the famous scene where she sings All by Myself, which was her lowest point originally. This time around, it’s flipped into an acceptance of who she is. That’s maturity. Being an adult is about not rolling on the floor going, ‘Why me?’, but accepting your lot in life.
“My son Ollie has Down’s syndrome, and there are two narratives that people buy into when they have a disabled child. One is, ‘Poor me, what a tragedy.’ The second is to fight.
“People would come to help and I’d be incredibly combative. Neither of those are grown-up responses. Then, after a while, you realise Down’s syndrome is not the worst thing ever, and that fighting is exhausting. So you chill and accept it.
“Doing my first pregnancy test, I was white with fear. Even though I was married, 32, and we’d been trying! I thought it would be the end of being childish, but actually it’s the moment you’re totally allowed to get the paints and toys out and mess about.
“My kids are much more grown-up than me. They are extremely serious about many things, like football, which is not a laughing matter. The four-year-old is incredibly serious about volcanoes, and we have long discussions about whether lava tastes of strawberries.
“And the 12-year-old is very serious about music, and love. I’m the one with the puppet on my hand, making up a play about Rex the Wonder Puppy. I have a bit of a problem with the word ‘grown-up’. I don’t think we should label ourselves. Life is about love, and that’s all that matters.”
50, plays Bridget’s new love interest, Jack. Off-screen, he’s married to Jillian and they have daughter Talula, 14, and twin sons Sullivan and Darby, nine.
“The real transition into adulthood is finding the balance between loving and nurturing your child, while loving and nurturing yourself. One of the most grown-up things I can do is to give my children the freedom to be themselves, while giving them discipline.
“It’s not easy to allow your child to be an individual person, without imposing your ideas onto them.
“We’re going into the new school year at home and we’ve been working out what subjects my children will be studying and what other activities they’ll be doing; balanced with my own life.
“You can be ‘Mr Dempsey’ with teachers or ‘Dad’ at home but I think it’s truly important to keep your identity so that you have plenty to give back to your child. That is a challenge because it can defeat you and overwhelm you.
“I turned 50 this year but I don’t feel 50. I see the number sometimes written down and I’m surprised. I think, ‘That doesn’t feel like where I’m at.’
“We were doing magic tricks the other day as a family and they made no sense and we were hysterically laughing. There is tremendous agony and pain in life sometimes and if you can find a joyous and playful moment, you should embrace it with all your heart.
“We’re all Bridget Jones in that we all have our moments of being suave and sophisticated when we’re dressed up for a dinner or have a job interview.
“And then we forget someone’s name or trip up – we’re all flawed deep down. There are days when the obstacles seem insurmountable but, even through your mistakes and your blunders, you somehow manage to survive. Bridget represents the hopefulness in us all.”
34, plays Bridget’s new friend, Miranda. Off-screen, she’s married to Daniel Ingram and they have a daughter, Soraya, who is nearly three years old.
“I absolutely take my work seriously, but I live for having fun. If I meet a new person who makes me laugh, I say, ‘Right, you’re one of my best friends now’, and that’s totally non-negotiable. I don’t need their consent.
“In the film, as Bridget’s new best friend, I get up to all sorts of mischief: I put her on Tinder and take her to a music festival. Then she finds out she’s pregnant and everything changes.
“So much of society’s idea of growing up is linked to parenthood, and that’s what this lm explores. I have a two-year-old daughter and having a kid definitely does make you feel grown-up. Especially when someone calls you ‘Soraya’s mum’ and you don’t even have a name. That’s odd.
“But I generally try to avoid the grown-up things if I can. Sometimes in life we mistake wisdom and truth for maturity or adulthood, but they’re not the same thing. In recent political times, we’ve seen an alarming thing, which is that our elders don’t know what they’re doing.
“So I don’t associate adulthood with wisdom. Often you find the truest words and the kindest hearts in student populations. I’m inspired by the people I work with at the National Youth Theatre who haven’t got a jaded sense of the world, who don’t worry about being thin or getting auditions.
“I think that panicking, original Bridget Jones is disappearing. It’s not a defining feature of women I know. We don’t have as many hang- ups. We’re much more forgiving: if you want to be a mum, cool; if you want to carry on partying, cool. Our metric for having a good life is to have fun.”