Bridget Jones was introduced to movie-going audiences in a blockbuster 2001 film about a round-faced British woman determined to improve herself. However Renee Zellweger, who played Bridget Jones, made some serious alterations to her face in 2014, making her nearly unrecognizable.
Zellweger spoke out to People magazine at the time, defending her appearance.
"I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows,” she said.
However now, a third installment of the Bridget Jones franchise is in the works, and Zellweger has been spotted out and about filming, still showing off a remarkably un-Bridget-Jones-like look. The film is set to hit theaters in 2016, but will the flick soar with a drastically different looking leading lady?
Pop culture expert Cate Meighan thinks the film can be successful, if it acknowledges the changes the actress has made.
“I think that pretending she looks exactly the same would be a mistake because then Renee's changed appearance becomes a distraction for moviegoers or like that proverbial elephant in the room,” she explained. “I think acknowledging it with one perfectly placed, quick-witted line would really solve any issue. Bridget is known for her sharp tongue so one simple reference to sometimes looking like a totally different person would put the whole issue to rest. Sometimes people don't need an entire dialogue about an obvious issue, they just need a moment of acknowledgement and then everyone moves on.”
However, another pop culture expert Lisa Durden is convinced the franchise will flop because of Zellweger’s drastic appearance change.
“I think the franchise can continue if they want it to be unsuccessful—if they want it to bomb at the box office,” she said. “She looks so different from herself from the point where I am afraid of her face! I don’t know what happened to Renee Zellweger, she had one of those faces where she was the ivory girl—gorgeous where she could just wake up in the morning, splash some water on her face and keep it moving.
Body image expert Sarah Maria said the success of the film hinges on whether or not fans of the franchise are accepting of Zellwegger's changed face.
“In this case, it will come down to whether or not audiences are willing to accept Zellweger’s new look,” she said. “If audiences are offended by the changes that Zellweger made, it will be a problem for the continuation of the franchise.”
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.