The clues were laid out way back in May, thanks to the release of both a new title and a first cover image from Brit chick lit author Helen Fielding’s upcoming “Bridget Jones: Man About the Boy.” The cover featured not only that head-scratching title (what boy, Bridget?) but also the first of apparently many dating tips from Bridget – this one advising “Do Not Text When Drunk” and reading, “You see, this is the trouble with the modern world. If it was the days of letter-writing, I would never even have started to find his address, a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope, a stamp, and gone outside at 11.30 p.m. to find a postbox. A text is gone at the brush of a fingertip, like a nuclear bomb or Exocet missile.” For fans of Fielding’s books and the accompanying two Renee Zellweger-starring films about her goofy, doofy, hilarious, and utterly nutty heroine, the news that Jones would be mad about a “boy” and worrying about text messages was worrying indeed.
We were right to worry. A new article from the UK’s Sunday Times lays it plain – Bridget is indeed texting a “boy,” because the consistent romantic heroine from both the books and the films, Mark Darcy (played by Colin Firth in the films), is dead. Hilarious. The paper doesn’t mince words, leading off the article with a firm proclamation: “Mark Darcy is dead; Bridget Jones is a widow. The long-awaited third diary of the world’s most famous singleton brings this shocking news to her global army of fans today. Helen Fielding, the author, has killed off her dashing hero.” As Cinema Blend tells it, he book will reportedly start five years after Darcy’s death by car accident, with Bridget struggling to take care of herself and their two kids. There are no happy endings anymore.
And from there? It will center on Bridget “rediscovering romance with a toy boy while obsessing about her Twitter followers as well as her weight and wrinkles.” If this is not the weirdest, saddest, most depressing way to stay relevant, I don’t know what is. Twitter followers? Fielding’s books and the two films were all about Bridget growing up and shedding her destructive and immature bad habits. Hitting the dating scene as a tech-phobic cougar essentially undoes all the good work Bridget once completed so satisfyingly for her fans (and herself). At least by Fielding’s approximation, Jones hasn’t changed much, and while Bridget is her own creation, this still seems like one hell of a blow to her faithful fans.
With a third book on the horizon, the third Bridget Jones film is also up in the air. Back in 2009, Fielding and company were planning a cinematic adaptation of the latest novel, and a long-promised third film seemed set to fall in line with the new book. It was originally set to be directed by Paul Feig back in 2011, until the director dropped out in October of that year. When Feig was attached, the film was just called Bridget Jones 3, but an announcement after he left the project touted the film as Bridget Jones’s Baby.
A book and movie about Bridget making some little ones seemed like an obvious fit – the second film and movie left Bridget happily ensconced with fiancé Mark Darcy, the love of her life, and babies would be the next natural step. Fielding’s own life experiences (she had her children later in life) also seemed primed to inform the material, as she’s done in the past with her beloved Bridget. The film, however, has stalled out over “script issues,” though IMDb still lists it as Bridget Jones’s Baby. While we’d love to assume that whatever incarnation of the film that featured actual babies (and not Twitter-using man-babies) is still in the works, that seems like a tremendous long shot, considering that both of the previous films have followed the general plotlines of the companion books. In short, there’s no way that Fielding would pen such a scandalous book and then go back to happier times for a new film.
Darcy is dead on the page, and he’s probably dead on the screen, too. Super. As of now, the film doesn’t have a director, but Fielding has long been attached to pen the screenplay alongside author/screenwriter David Nicholls. Honestly, we’d rather it just not happen, as it sounds v. v. not good.