LOS ANGELES — In Hollywood, only the naïve or the very brave aren’t wary of the curse of the sequel. Particularly for a film as much loved as “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” But British director Beeban Kidron was up to the...
LOS ANGELES — In Hollywood, only the naïve or the very brave aren’t wary of the curse of the sequel. Particularly for a film as much loved as “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” But British director Beeban Kidron was up to the task, though not without a bit of hesitation.
“When the producers rang me up and said, ‘How would you feel about doing the new “Bridget Jones?”’ it was like being given a gift and a problem simultaneously. How do you hold on to the thing that makes people understand Bridget and fulfill all the requirements of a romantic comedy at the box office?” asks Kidron in her sun-soaked suite at The Four Seasons, where she’s just arrived to promote “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” which opens Friday.
Kidron was also anxious about not letting down stars Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. “They were nervous that it might not be so good the second time around,” she adds. Turns out the film is every bit as funny and affecting as the original, directed by Sharon Maguire, which causes Kidron to emit a huge sigh of relief.
“I always march around going, ‘Funny is a very serious matter.’ If there is one subversive act, it is to make people laugh, because when they laugh they feel like they’ve overcome the very thing that’s upsetting them. The humor in Bridget, whilst occasionally dangerous and un-PC, does give people joy.”
Kidron, 43, is no stranger to bringing unconventional humor into the mainstream. In 1992, she directed Shirley MacLaine in the dysfunctional family comedy “Used People” and two years later, Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo in the drag queen comedy “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.” “It was quite a bold move,” she recalls, “but I have truly enjoyed being the safe pair of hands, the person who has done it before. Now it’s nice to be a bit older in work and life.”
She’s still pondering her next move, though she would like a chance to carry her offbeat sensibility to a family film and a thriller. “It’s a privilege to be able to bring entertainment to millions of people, but the fun is in making it different, somehow,” she said.Kidron credits her unique point of view to one of her mentors, photographer Eve Arnold. When she was 13, and already an avid photographer herself, Kidron met Arnold through a mutual friend. Arnold was so impressed with her work that she asked her to leave school and apprentice when she was 16. “I still blame her for my lack of education,” Kidron laughs. In all seriousness, she calls working for Arnold “the defining moment of my creative life.”
“It was a great stroke of luck because I have literally grown up thinking in pictures.”
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