Smith has been long-tipped to take the title role, has been heavily involved in workshopping the piece and has been given the very public blessing (via Twitter) of the novel’s author Helen Fielding. At the Whatsonstage.com Awards in February, she was neither confirming nor denying latest developments on the project.
According to last week’s Daily Mail, though, Smith is no longer able to commit to a long stage run due to scheduling problems as her film and television career continues to steamroller success. Mail columnist Baz Bamigboye says the loss of the leading lady, who was instrumental in the success of her last musical role, as Elle Wood in Legally Blonde, may further delay Bridget Jones’ premiere, which was originally scheduled for early this year.
The Bridget Jones musical reunites the creative team behind another Working Title production, led by director Stephen Daldry. Julian Webber has worked on the book and pop star Lily Allen the music and lyrics. Other names linked with casting include Bertie Carvel and Julian Ovenden as love rivals Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver.