Renee Zellweger took a six-year hiatus from the Hollywood spotlight and is returning to reprise her role as Bridget Jones. Now in an interview with British Vogue, the Oscar-winning actress explains the reasoning behind her stint away from the spotlight.
“I found anonymity, so I could have exchanges with people on a human level and be seen and heard, not be defined by this image that precedes me when I walk into a room,” the star said. “You cannot be a good storyteller if you don’t have life experiences, and you can’t relate to people.”
Zellweger covers the July issue of British Vogue.
It wasn’t easy for the 47-year-old actress to turn down coveted roles, but understood self-care took precedent over movie roles.
“As a creative person, saying no to that wonderful once-in-a-lifetime project is hard. But I was fatigued and wasn’t taking the time I needed to recover between projects, and it caught up with me,” she said. “I got sick of the sound of my own voice: it was time to go away and grow up a bit.”
Zellweger altered her body for the role of Bridget Jones, a thirty-something single woman living in London trying to make sense of life and love.
“I put on a few pounds. I also put on some breasts and a baby bump. Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much,”‘she said of the criticism she faces when she chooses to change her body for a role. “No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”
Actor Tom Hanks stated he would no longer compromise his health for movie roles—a decision he came to in 2013, shortly after his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
“I’ve talked to a number of actors who have gained weight for roles, and just the sheer physical toll it puts on one’s knees and shoulders—no one wants to do it again,” said Hanks at the BFI London Film Festival in 2013.
Bridget Jones’s Baby hits theaters Sept. 16.