Back in the city for a third outing, the latest Bridget Jones film visits locations it might not have been allowed into back in 2001, say its producers
There were, say the team behind the Bridget Jones trilogy, a few cautious responses when they first tried to secure a number of hard-to-get locations in London.
Back in 2001, for Bridget Jones’s Diary, Director Sharon Maguire sounds like she had to summon something of the movie’s heroine in coping with rejection.
They had fewer problems and greater glories for Bridget Jones’s Baby, in which Renée Zellweger returns to her home above the Globe pub in Borough Market: the London Aquatics Centre, said to have cost £269 million when it opened ahead of the 2012 Olympics, and the Supreme Court both opened their vast doors for the cameras.
“With the first film nobody knew quite what it was,” says Maguire. “But this time we were welcomed with open arms.
© Bert Seghers
“We went to the Supreme Court because, of course, Mark Darcy has moved on in his career and is now a Supreme Court lawyer.
“We thought they’d turn us down, but amazingly they said yes, which was fantastic. We were also allowed to film in the Old Bailey, which was unbelievable – it’s so beautiful it’s shocking.
“It was really moving, actually, to go around your own city and for people to say ‘oh, I know that; I know the street where that bit was filmed.’”
© David Iliff
Camilla Stevenson, the Location Manager for the film, and Eric Fellner, the Producer and co-chair of Working Title Films, say they were allowed to “unlock parts of the city”.
“We make a lot of films and much of the time it’s a question of ‘ehh, well, maybe...”, explains Fellner. “But as soon as we mentioned Bridget the answer is ‘yes, no problem’.
“When I tell my friends who are barristers that we filmed in the Supreme Court they can’t believe it. It shows how loved the character is.”
Perhaps the most striking change to the area around the Globe is the rocketing price of property. Maguire calls their return to the market “like going home”.
© Josep Renalias
“It now costs £8 for a potato,” she reckons. “When we first went there it was just a market surrounded by some quite run-down buildings, and now it’s one of the most shi-shi places in London to live.
“We rationalised that Bridget could still afford to live there because she got on the property ladder just as another railway was going in line beside her flat. Now she has one either side of her flat, and the whole place rattles.”
Debra Hayward, the Head of Film at Working Title, even relates Jones’s trajectory to Southwark’s dramatic shift in landscape. “We were really, really conscious of that,” she says.
“It’s our hero location in a way, and seeing how it’s changed since the first film is just incredible.
“I had two pictures that I used to show to people: one was a photo from the first film showing Bridget’s flat above the pub in Borough Market. The other shows exactly the same shot but with the Shard having sprung up.
“In a way those photos represented what we were trying to do with the film: it’s still Bridget and her world, but at the same time we’re representing the new as well and taking it to another level.
“It was very symbolic. It adds a massive amount of vibrancy and colour to the film. And, being where she lives, it also represents her as a character.”
- Bridget Jones’s Baby is in cinemas from September 16 2016.
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