EXCLUSIVE: Patrick Dempsey is in final negotiations to join the cast of Bridget Jones’s Baby for British production powerhouse Working Title co-chiefs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. The much-anticipated third installment of the franchise sees Renee Zellweger reprising her role as the mishap-prone British publishing executive as she enters her 40s. Colin Firth also returns as love interest Mark Darcy.

Plot details are being kept under wraps, including which role Dempsey will be playing — though, as the title suggests, Bridget does find herself unexpectedly expecting. Less clear at this stage is if and when the father’s identity will be revealed, leaving open the possibility that Dempsey — TV’s own (former) Doctor McDreamy — could play a love rival in a similar vein to Hugh Grant’s dashing Daniel Cleaver. Grant is not returning for this, though director Sharon Maguire — who helmed the original Bridget Jones’s Diary in 2001 — will be at the helm again.

The story is believed to be based on columns written by Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding and not her latest novel, Mad About The Boy (in which the titular character has a couple of kids and Firth’s character has died).

11 months
Why would anyone think that Patrick would play the baby all grown up. I think it would...
Uh oh..
11 months
Does Dempsey play the baby all grown up? I loved the first two movies, but have to...
scoo
11 months
Obviously nobody believes in having a baby AFTER marriage anymore...Bridget must be becoming a ho, two fathers...hm....the...

Fielding wrote the initial drafts of the screenplay with David Nicholls (One Day). Longtime Working Title stalwart Debra Heyward is producing alongside Bevan and Fellner. Universal will co-finance with Miramax and StudiCanal. Production begins October 2 in the UK.

Dempsey is repped by The Burstein Co, UTA and law firm Stone, Meyer, Genow.  The role reps a high-profile return to the big screen for Dempsey, whose last feature was 2011’s Transformers: Dark Of The Moon.

Working Title is on a roll, opening the Venice Film Festival with Baltasar Kormakur’s Everest, and Stephen Frears’ The Program, Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl and Brian Helgeland’s Legend all debuting between Venice and Toronto.

Deadline broke the news yesterday that Jamie Foxx was in talks to board Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver opposite Lily James and Ansel Elgort. Michael Fassbender is also in early talks to star in the Jo Nesbo adaptation The Snowman.