Patrick Dempsey knows he can’t top Hugh Grant. The “Grey’s Anatomy” alum, 50, is the new second love interest in “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” the third in the Renee Zellweger-led series and first since 2004’s “The Edge of Reason.” But his character, Jack, is nothing like Grant’s Daniel Cleaver. He’s the opposite of a jerk — nice and friendly and perhaps a little too overeager, especially compared to Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy. Dempsey talks to us about how his new film is a too rare rom-com, people who don’t know Abbott and Costello and his sideline as a professional racecar driver.
Jack is the opposite of Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy, in that he’s reserved and Jack’s overeager. Do you find you’d get even more upbeat when acting opposite Firth?
Yeah, because the intention is to get him to break — to see how much can you push him and how much fun can you have trying to break him. That’s why there’s always a twinkle in my eye, because I’m always on the verge of making that happen.
Did you crack Colin up? He’s made a point of saying he’s not like Mark in real life, so maybe that’s not impossible.
He’s got a great sense of humor, so he was game. We would mess around and the director would yell at us to get it back together.
Rom-coms are weirdly thin on the ground these days.
They’re not making these types of movies anymore. You try to find one now and there’s nothing in production for the old style of romantic comedies. That’s why I think there’s such an appetite for this film, and for Bridget in general: Those types of characters just don’t exist, those very strong female protagonists in romantic comedies.
I worry that people are starting to forget it as a genre, like they forget about a lot of old movie genres.
I met a young comedy writer and we were talking about “Who’s on First?” And he didn’t know what that was. I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve never heard that? I’m leaving the room now.” It was old when I was young. The idea that people don’t know Abbott and Costello and they’re comedy writers just goes to show that sensibility is really lost. It’s very sad.