Sad about Mark Darcy's shocking exit? So is Colin Firth! During an interview with the TODAY show, author of the Bridget Jones' Diary series -- Helen Fielding -- revealed that the 53-year-old actor was also sad about his character's untimely demise in the third installment, Mad About the Boy.
"The hardest thing was calling up Colin Firth to tell him," Fielding told TODAY show contributor Jenna Bush Hager during a pre-taped sit-down on Wednesday, Oct. 9. "And it was one of the strangest conversations of my life because I had to ask if he had someone with him, if he was sitting down, and it was literally as if someone really had died." She added: "Then we sort of started laughing because they hadn't."
An extended excerpt from the third installment, published on Sept. 29 in the U.K.'s Sunday Times Magazine, revealed that the heroine of the fan favorite series (played by Renee Zellweger in the film adaptation) was now a widowed mother of two. (Jones got engaged to Darcy in book two, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason).
"With someone like Bridget -- you have a choice," Fielding explained. "Either you keep carrying on doing the same thing over and over again or it means something really important to you and you wait until you're ready and have something important to say again."
And what was important to the author was to show that stereotypes for women also never end, no matter how old or young they are. "I thought, the same things are going on with the 50-something woman. She's got a tight perm and a shopping bag. She's not sexually viable -- all of these stereotypes are still there," she reasoned for having Jones be 50 years old in the third book. "They are not reflecting what's really happening, which is women are what used to be called 'middle-aged' have still got it going on."
Though fans may be sad to see Mr. Darcy go, there is one man from Jones' past who will be making a shocking return -- Daniel Cleaver! Jones' rascal old fling and former boss (Hugh Grant) will be making several guest appearances in the next novel, Bush Hager confirms. The reason for his return may surprise readers, too, as he's "turned out to be a pretty good guy."