23/12/2020 09:59 GMT

Hugh Grant Admits Being Unimpressed By Renée Zellweger's British Accent During Early Bridget Jones

He compared the Oscar-winning star's attempt to "Princess Margaret having a stroke".

Hugh Grant has admitted that Renée Zellweger’s British accent needed quite a bit of work when she first signed up for the role of Bridget Jones.

The pair appeared alongside one another in the first two Bridget Jones films, although Renée’s casting raised some eyebrows at the time, with some questioning whether such an iconic British character should have been played by a star from the UK.

Ultimately, Renée won over most critics, and even wound up with an Oscar nomination for her performance, but her co-star has revealed that things got off to a bit of a shaky start.

Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant in Briget Jones's Diary

In the BBC documentary Becoming Bridget Jones, Hugh said: “I didn’t know Renée 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.”

After being told to “loosen it up”, Hugh claimed that Renée returned with an accent he has compared to “Princess Margaret having had a stroke”.

“But a week later, it was bang on,” the Undoing star quickly added. 

Carsten Koall via Getty Images
Hugh and Renée at the premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason with Colin Firth

Hugh and Renée have remained close since their Bridget Jones days (which he confessed recently is something of a rarity for him), and when when Renée was awarded Best Actress at the Baftas for her appearance in Judy, she was immediately followed on stage by Hugh, who couldn’t resist a nod to their Bridget Jones’s Diary characters.

“First of all, well done Jones. That was a very, very silly little dress, I thought,” he joked. 

Backstage, Renée also shared her reaction to Hugh’s comment, telling reporters she thought the moment was “really cool”.

“That’s part of what I’m talking about with this [win] being really, really special,” she added, in a video posted by Heatworld. “It makes you feel like you’re one of the gang, and it’s quite a gang to be a part of.”