Author Helen Fielding has begun work on a third Bridget Jones novel, 13 years after its predecessor.
With a new film and a musical based on the singleton in the pipeline, Helen Fielding turned to the world of texting and Twitter to help her write a new “scenario for Bridget”.
“I’m having a lot of fun, and it’s very funny and it’s making me laugh,” she said.
Bridget Jones was born out of a weekly column in The Independent in 1995.
The first two books, Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Edge of Reason, sold more than 15 million copies and inspired two films, with Renee Zellweger in the starring role.
After living in Los Angeles for much of the past decade, Helen Fielding returned to London two years ago with her two children – and it was then that she rediscovered the voice of Bridget.
“After the unexpected success when it first came out, I was startled by the whole thing,” she said.
“When I first wrote it I didn’t think anyone would read it. It was just a column in the Independent, so it was very easy to write and be very honest – and then I got all self-conscious because I knew so many people would read it.”
However, in spring of 2011, Helen Fielding hit upon a way forward.
“I had new stuff I wanted to say and things that were making me laugh,” explained Helen Fielding.
“Things that didn’t exist when I wrote the last Bridget, like emails really, and texting, the way life is lived through texting and Twitter, and a whole new idea for a phase of her life.”
“It’s more like <<number of Twitter followers: 0. Still no followers. Still no followers>>. But she has grown up,” explained Helen Fielding, who revealed the book will be set in present day London.
“My life has moved on and hers will move on too,” she said.
“She’s still trying to give up [drinking and smoking], she’s still on a diet.
“She’s trying a bit harder, and is a bit more successful, but she’s never really going to change.”
Admitting she is scared by the idea of bringing out a new book, Helen Fielding claims she is still getting great enjoyment from writing it: “If people laugh as much reading it as I am while writing it, then we’ll all be very happy.”
The second film adaptation, The Edge of Reason, was released in cinemas eight years ago, with a further film sequel Bridget Jones’ Baby due for release in early 2013.
Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are set to return as Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver.
Helen Fielding said it has taken a long time to get the film right, describing it as “a different, earlier story, not based on a novel – it started with some columns I wrote in the Independent about six years ago.
“I think with a third installment [of the film] the stakes are very high. We all go back a long way, we’re all really fond of each other and everyone really wants to get it right, but that means there are a lot of voices, a lot of writers.
“Getting Bridget right, I always think it’s like a little duck – in the end it needs to skim effortlessly along the surface, but underneath the legs are going really, really fast.”
The third film has been delayed over script issues – and the musical is still very much a work in progress, according to Helen Fielding.
“It’s been huge fun and will take ages because musicals do. It’s herding butterflies, people move off and then come back together again but I think it’s going to be fantastic when it does happen.”