The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Secret of woman power

Berlin, Feb. 9 (Reuters): Renee Zellweger has said she believes there’s a simple reason films are featuring more strong women characters — it’s what audiences want.

“People making films are recognising there is value in portraying female characters that way, audiences are interested and there’s a market for those sorts of films,” the American actress said in an interview.

“They are beautiful stories. I think things are definitely changing.”

Zellweger, who won a best supporting actress Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for a brilliant performance in Cold Mountain, said she and its star Nicole Kidman had become friends while working in Romania on the film they dominate.

In the film, Zellweger plays a tough-minded mountain farm girl who befriends Kidman.

Zellweger, 34, is currently filming the second Bridget Jones film and said she sometimes wonders what the long-term impact of gaining about 10 kg for the leading character will have on her health.

“You have to be careful. It’s a pretty dramatic change. It definitely has its effects. Hopefully, the long-term ones will be minimal,” she said.

“Hopefully, the old beater in there is doing okay with all the cholesterol that I’ve been introducing into the system the last few months,” she added, tapping her heart.

She said gaining weight and then going in the opposite direction to play a slim musical star in Chicago was all part of the job — and actresses are no less dedicated than actors such as Robert De Niro, whose weight ballooned for Raging Bull.

“You do what you think is necessary to authenticate an experience creatively,” she said. “I’ve been able to play really interesting characters. It’s just doing what the job requires.”

Zellweger said she wasn’t disappointed about not winning an Academy Award — Cold Mountain is her third nomination.

She said she and Kidman, who beat her in the Oscar race last year, were anything but rivals and grew close on the sets of Cold Mountain.

“We were fast friends,” Zellweger said. “It’s an interesting way to get to know somebody. We weren’t having cocktails or going to a party. We were meeting up at the barn to shovel manure. It was a really isolated part of the world.

“It was an intellectual exchange. It was a creative exchange. And it’s very rewarding. I enjoyed it. I care about her and count her as one of my friends.”

Zellweger defended efforts to guard her private life.

“I have a hard time with red carpets and people shouting your name,” she said.

“I’m not so good at it. It’s not that certain parts are not exciting and fun. But that’s not why I do this job. I can’t imagine my personal life holds any value to people who don’t know me. I honestly can’t see that it would.”

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