By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 8, 2011 at 11:52AM
Friday, July 8th
134 lbs., alcohol units 8 (bad!), cigarettes 17 (v v bad!), calories 4874. What do you mean it's 9 a.m?
With "Bridesmaids" picking up rave reviews and recently crossing the $150 million barrier, making it the highest-grossing film of producer Judd Apatow's career, it's not surprising that director Paul Feig has swiftly become the hottest comedy director in town. He's working with Jon Hamm and Melissa McCarthy, the breakouts of that project, on a new comedy again reteaming with Apatow, and dropped hints that he may spend the end of this year rebooting a comedy franchise.
But this morning brings news that Feig's also being courted for another big comedy series, one that fits right in with the wheelhouse he established with "Bridesmaids," as Baz Bamigboye reports that the helmer is in early talks to direct a second sequel to Universal and Working Title's romantic comedy "Bridget Jones' Diary." That film, released a decade ago, was perhaps the last female-driven rom-com to gain similar acclaim, picking up an Oscar nomination for star Renee Zellwegger (to which we say: let's get Kristen Wiig one too), becoming a beloved staple of girl's nights in, and taking in nearly $300 million worldwide.
It was swiftly followed by a sequel, 2004's "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," which managed to get everything wrong that the original got right, but a third film has been quietly in development almost ever since, with a script by Jones creator Helen Fielding, focusing on her heroine's quest for a baby. A stage musical version of the first film, penned by pop star Lily Allen, will debut in the West End next year, and Working Title are clearly keen to use the momentum to get the threequel moving.
Of course, it's early days, and Bamigboye stresses that the negotiations are complex, with no deal in place for Zellwegger or her leading men, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. While Zellwegger would probably be glad for the opportunity to return to her signature role, considering her recent run of luck (it's half a decade since she had a hit of any kind), the boys are more complicated: Grant, who was a key figure in exposing the phone-hacking scandal sweeping the news, is often a difficult catch to land, and strained relations with Working Title when he pulled out of comedy "Lost For Words" a few years back, while Firth is now an Oscar-winner, and more in demand than ever, and much more expensive as a result.
But if you want to convince the trio that the new entry is worth their time, hiring the man behind the most successful comedy of its type in a decade is a good way to go about it, and we imagine Feig would land a hefty payday as a result; and we're certainly more interested in the film than we otherwise would have been. With Feig likely to direct that comedy franchise reboot later in the year, and the Hamm/McCarthy project on the horizon, it's unclear when it might happen, but even should the deals work out, it's extremely unlikely it would go before cameras for at least another year.