Sally Phillips says women can still relate to Bridget Jones's Diary04/09/2021
Bridget Jones’s Diary star Sally Phillips dismisses woke criticism of the film on its 20th anniversary and says women only ‘pretend’ to worry about ‘more virtuous things’ than ‘weight and relationships’
- Sally Phillips, 51, who lives in Perth, stared as Shazza in Bridget Jones’s Diary
- Says that women can still relate to the smash-hit movie 20 years after it’s release
- Dismissed ‘conversations’ about how women no longer care about relationships
- Said criticising women over what they want is putting more ‘pressure’ on them
Sally Phillips says that women can still relate to Bridget Jones’s Diary 20 years after it’s release, despite ‘pretending’ to care about more ‘virtuous things’ than weight and relationships.
The 51-year-old actress, who lives in Perth, first appeared in the smash-hit film franchise as best friend Shazza alongside American actress Renée Zellweger as Bridget in 2001.
Appearing on Lorraine today ahead of the movie’s 20th anniversary, Sally said there have been ‘conversations’ about how modern women don’t worry about their weight and relationships in the same way they did years ago.
But Sally disputed this, insisting that ‘we all still want to be loved and want to look nice’ and that criticising women over what they want is just putting more ‘pressure’ on them.
Sally Phillips first appeared in the smash-hit film franchise Bridget Jones’s Diary as best friend Shazza alongside American actress Renée Zellweger as Bridget in 2001
Appearing on Lorraine today ahead of the movie’s 20th anniversary, Sally said there have been ‘conversations’ about the themes of the film
Sally told host Cat Deeley there have been ‘conversations’ about how modern women don’t worry about their weight and relationships in the same way they did years ago
‘There’s been conversations where people go, ‘Oh nowadays women don’t worry about their weight and women don’t worry about reading self improving books and women want more than just a man’ – but I think we don’t change, I think we all want the same things.
‘Now there’s the pressure of pretending we don’t want them. Pretending we want more virtuous things more. We all still want to be loved and want to look nice, and want to improve ourselves.’
It comes after Sally blasted those who are criticising the move saying ‘cancelling’ the character isn’t going to stop sexual harassment in an interview with Grazia.
She said the portrayal of Bridget’s body dysmorphia and encounters with sex pests throughout the movie are representative of a ‘more innocent time’, as she reflected on how attitudes towards body image and the #MeToo movement have influenced society.
Sally went on to recall Colin Firth and Hugh Grant’s iconic fight scene, admitting it was ‘hilarious’ to see the pair of them scrap
Sally added that the women sharing their experiences of rape culture online seem to have had worse encounters than those shown in Bridget Jones’s Diary, saying: ‘I just think these concerns are actually sort of bigger and more scary now. And cancelling Bridget isn’t a way of making anything better.’
While it was seen as progressive in the early noughties, modern viewers have raised concerns about Bridget’s obsession with weight loss, arguing that she has an average body size and the film is ‘fat phobic’.
Last year, body confidence campaigner Alex Light, said watching Bridget’s obsession with weight as an impressionable teenager made her vow to diet as she was left thinking 9st 4lbs is fat.
Author of the Bridget Jones franchise Helen Fielding, has also admitted she finds it difficult to stomach aspects of the film.
Sally, pictured last year, says that women can still relate to Bridget Jones’s Diary 20 years after it’s release, despite ‘pretending’ to care about more ‘virtuous things’ than weight and relationships
Watching the trilogy with her children years after its release, Helen said: ‘You couldn’t write that now. The level of sexism Bridget was dealing with, the hand on the bum in so many of the scenes, [Sit Up Britain boss] Richard Finch, ‘Let’s have a shot of the boobs.
‘I mean in the end she turned round and stuck it to them but it was just part and parcel of her life. It was quite shocking for me to see how things have changed.’
Speaking this morning, Sally spoke of becoming friends with American actress Renée, who famously gained 17 pounds and spoke only with a British accent in preparation for the role.
‘It was really weird’, said Sally, ‘I’ve made quite good friends with her during the filming, I realised towards the end when she suddenly lost a stone in the last week and started talking in a Texan accent at the wrap party, I’d made friends with Bridget, not Renée.’
Sally spoke of becoming friends with American actress Renée, who famously gained 17 pounds and spoke only with a British accent in preparation for the role
She laughed: ‘I felt like those women must feel who’ve had a relationship with an undercover cop, a bit deceived and weirded out. But I think it was genius actually [to cast her]. There were lots of people up for that part.’
Sally went on to recall Colin Firth and Hugh Grant’s iconic fight scene, admitting that while there was originally supposed to be a stunt coordinator on set, they thought a choreographed routine would look ‘ridiculous, because these middle class white men wouldn’t have any idea how to fight’.
‘This is them improvising… slapping each other, trying to kick and missing. We filmed this scene for a whole week.
‘As you can see we’re not in it very much so we sat in deck chairs and watched Hugh and Colin slap each other for a week.
‘And Jim Carrey was there. Renée [Zellweger] was dating Jim at that point. So he was bigger and taller and harder and fitter than both of them, so I think they were even more embarrassed.’
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