By Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
Sally Phillips has said Hugh Grant and Colin Firth performed their famous fight scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary in front of Hollywood star Jim Carrey.
The film adaptation of Helen Fielding’s hit book of the same name is celebrating its 20th anniversary but Phillips, who played Shazza opposite Renee Zellweger as Bridget, said she still remembers filming the scene clearly.
She told ITV’s Lorraine: “This is them improvising… slapping each other, trying to kick and missing.
“We filmed this scene for a whole week.
“As you can see we’re not in it very much so we sat in deck chairs and watched Hugh and Colin slap each other for a week.
“And Jim Carrey was there.
“Renee was dating Jim at that point.
“So he was bigger and taller and harder and fitter than both of them, so I think they were even more embarrassed.”
Discussing how she related to her role, she said: “The truth was I probably was quite like Shaz at that point, I was living in Notting Hill, I was single, I couldn’t cook very well.
“I had a small group of friends who were more like family than family, lived with my best mate.
“So I really got it.
“It wasn’t like I was trying to play a Texan nun or something, they’re just funny.
“They’re funny and smart and vulnerable and they love each other.
“I think that’s what we love about them now, they all still, they love each other so deeply.”
She added: “There’s been conversations where people go, ‘Oh nowadays women don’t worry about their weight and women don’t worry about reading self improving books and women want more than just a man’ – but I think we don’t change, I think we all want the same things.
“Now there’s the pressure of pretending we don’t want them.
“Pretending we want more virtuous things more.
“We all still want to be loved and want to improve ourselves.”
Phillips also addressed the bizarre experience of Zellweger, who is from Texas, finally breaking out of her English accent at the end of the shoot.
She said: “It was really weird.
“I’ve made quite good friends with her during the filming, I realised towards the end when she suddenly lost a stone in the last week and started talking in a Texan accent at the wrap party, I’d made friends with Bridget, not Renee.
“I felt like those women must feel who’ve had a relationship with an undercover cop, a bit deceived and weirded out.
“But I think it was genius actually (to cast her).
“There were lots of people up for that part, like Toni Collette I think was offered it.
“Once They got Hugh Grant and Colin Firth on board it went from being a tiny indie movie to a massive production and they started looking for big stars.
“American women do do charm in a way British women don’t, we have a kind of bottom note of battleaxe that we can never quite get rid of and I love that about us.”