Zellweger too is a long way from ''Cold Mountain.'' Sitting in a church in a small village near London, she's eating a jelly doughnut to maintain her 25-pound weight gain for the ''Bridget Jones'' sequel. She looks the polar opposite of the rugged outdoorswoman Ruby. Over lunch in a nearby pub, Zellweger reflects (in a British accent she's maintaining for the Bridget shoot) on the changes she made to her life in Romania.
''There was a lot of time to reflect about mistakes that you've made, and things that you want and don't want,'' she says. ''It just made it very clear to me what needed my attention. All of my time was going to fulfilling professional responsibilities and keeping me from being completely happy.''
Law's life has also changed dramatically. Midway through filming, while the production was in South Carolina, his then wife, actress Sadie Frost (Bram Stoker's ''Dracula''), went into labor. Because Law was in virtually every scene, production shut down for four days. Miramax provided a private jet to whisk Law to London for the birth of his son, Rudy, their third child together. (By the time editing was finished, Law and his wife had divorced. He is now reportedly dating his Alfie costar Sienna Miller.) ''Playing that part and working on that film lifted me to a new place in my life,'' he says of Cold Mountain, and as for the breakup of his marriage, he adds: ''To put it all down to this particular experience is perhaps overweighing it. But I certainly think it was a part of the reason that I went through so much change. The experience of working in Romania and the experience of working on a piece as demanding and revelatory as this certainly has its effect.''
While the cast is beginning to look past ''Cold Mountain,'' Minghella won't be able to do that for at least a few weeks. ''I can't let go of anything. I am compulsive,'' he says. Though he's confident that ''Cold Mountain'' will fare better than ''Heaven's Gate,'' he remains crestfallen over the lukewarm reception for ''The Talented Mr. Ripley.'' ''It's a lot of my life, this film,'' Minghella says of the four years he spent working on ''Cold Mountain.'' ''It's the best I know how to do.''