Renee Zellweger
Actress Renee Zellweger poses at the 21st annual ELLE Women in Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles, California October 20, 2014.Reuters

Actress Renee Zellweger's transformation might cost her the Bridget Jones movie, claims a new report, adding that the part of the unlucky-in-love character might go to Reese Witherspoon.

Reportedly, Witherspoon has been offered about £20 million if she accepts an offer from producers to take on the role, which will require her to put on weight. However, Hollywood insiders believe that the "Legally Blonde" actress is reluctant to pile on pounds.

Zellweger's radically changed look raised eyebrows at the ELLE Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills on 20 October, sparking speculation that she went under the knife. A leading surgeon even claimed that the actress had fillers, botox and eye bag removal procedures to alter her face.

But she described such rumours as "silly", stating that her transformation was due to a healthy lifestyle.

"I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows," she told People magazine.

"My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy. For a long time I wasn't doing such a good job with that. I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn't allow for taking care of myself."

However, not many are willing to believe the story behind her transformation, with a Scandinavian culture expert claiming that the 45-year-old went under the knife to look less Norwegian.

Terming her new look as "doing a Michael Jackson," Edward Dutton, Professor of Finnish Culture at Oulu University in Finland, said that Zellweger underwent surgery to look more European.

"The reason Renee used to be distinctive looking - with her narrow eyes and epicanthic eye folds - is because she is an unusual genetic mixture," Dutton told MailOnline. "With a Swiss father and a mother who is part Kven and part Sami - ethnic minorities Indigenous to Norway, Finland and Sweden - Renee had a somewhat 'eastern' face."

"I suspect Renee has had plastic surgery which makes her look less Sami, less Kven, and more stereotypically North European," argued Dutton. "She was so much more beautiful and interesting when she had the courage to be Sami and Kven."