The tabloids have been making a big deal about all those extra pounds Ren&#233e Zellweger packed on for Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, the forthcoming sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary (2001). But Colin Firth, reprising his role as Bridget's dashing beau Mark Darcy, doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

"I've always preferred Ren&#233e, physically, in Bridget mode," he says. "I think that it's very pleasing. She's a very beautiful girl whatever she does, but I think that [as] Bridget [she] looks gorgeous and I wouldn't see any great need to get on the treadmill afterward."

The 43-year-old Love Actually star is still a bit befuddled by all of the attention the followup is generating. "About a month ago, I was told, 'Don't say anything about the film, don't give anything away,'" he notes. "Then, every shot that we do is followed, frame by frame, by the world's paparazzi, and it's in the papers the same day that we shot it. I've never worked in those circumstances before. It's like doing live, unrehearsed theater in the center of London."

One picture that appeared in nearly every newspaper from the U.K. to Uzbekistan was of Firth and Hugh Grant engaged in yet another violent brawl over the British heroine. Interestingly, Firth doesn't mind violating the film's strict code of silence to tell us who won. "Hugh has always been a miserable fighter," he laughs. "I find that he's physically deteriorated in the last three years. I have to be very careful and gentle with him now. I keep finding myself saying, 'Sorry,' and calling him a nurse and giving him a pill and a blanket."