The 51-year-old played the titular character in the 2001 classic, Bridget Jones’s Diary, alongside Hugh (Daniel Cleaver) and Colin Firth (Mark Darcy).
Her casting caused ‘uproar’ at the time as fans questioned why an American actress was tipped for the main role, with the adaptation of Helen Fielding’s novel following the wild antics of an English singleton.
Revealing his initial thoughts, Hugh confessed it seemed ‘like a stretch’ at the time – especially as her accent resembled Princess Margaret.
Which is not ideal.
Spilling the beans in documentary Being Bridget Jones, the Undoing star said: ‘There was a whole scandal about why isn’t this a British actress?
Renee’s initial attempt at Bridget’s accent sounded more like Princess Margaret… (Picture: Rex)
Hugh mocked Renee’s attempts (Picture: BBC Two)
‘And I didn’t know Renee Zellweger, and a Texan playing a British character, it did seem like a stretch.
‘She came in, doing quite a good British accent, but it was Princess Margaret. That was a little startling.
‘Then she was told to kind of, well she thought she better loosen it up a bit.
Renee, Colin and Hugh had us glued to our screens in Bridget Jones’s Diary (Picture: Rex)
‘Then she came in and it was Princess Margaret having had a stroke. But a week later it was bang on.’
And the rest was movie history.
Side note: Can Renee share an audio clip of her initial attempt for a Christmas gift?
Richard Curtis, who worked on the screenplay, raved about the actress, stating that her soul was exactly what they were looking for in terms of Bridget.
‘We had her round to dinner and she was very like Helen, in that she was a Hollywood actress but full of quirks,’ he added.
‘[She was] fluttered, slightly panicked, very unusual. ‘We felt that the soul of her was incredibly accurate. Even though as it were, her accent wasn’t.’
Being Bridget Jones is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.