DUST OFF THOSE self-help books: Bridget Jones doesn’t live happily ever after.

“Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” in which London’s most famous singleton splits up with Darcy and winds up in prison in Thailand, is back on bestseller lists — and Working Title has paid an estimated seven figures to take the book off the market.

Helen Fielding published “Edge” a year ago (true to form, she delivered the manuscript 71 weeks late). Penguin is now exploiting the Bridget Jones industry on several fronts, chalking up sales of close to 600,000 (compared with well over a million sales of the original), while flogging a spinoff, “Bridget Jones’s Guide to Life.”

Fielding, who’s repped by CAA, will not adapt the novel. And Working Title wouldn’t disclose details of conversations with talent, but one conundrum remains to be settled: Colin Firth is already a character in “Edge,” so who’ll play Darcy onscreen?

“I wrote the part of Mark Darcy for Colin Firth, and I do hope he will come back for a repeat of his lovely performance,” Fielding told Daily Variety. “If he does, he will simply have to don a large beard and handlebar mustache and play himself as well.”

Working Title, a shingle long known for its literary proclivities, has also just optioned a first novel, “The Curve of the World,” by commercial director Marcus Stevens.

Front Street Prods. producers Harvey Kahn and Jonas Goodman will exec produce with Working Title, and Adam Brooks (“The Invisible Circus”) will pen the script.

“Curve,” due from the Chapel Hill, N.C., press, Algonquin, in 2002, is about an American ad exec en route to Johannesburg who’s taken hostage by a group of rebels when his plane makes an emergency landing near the Congo Basin. After he escapes and is lost in a rain forest, his estranged wife and blind son go to the Congo to find him. The Rabineau Wachter lit agency repped Stevens.

GOOD MACHINE IS IN negotiations to option “Children of Light,” Robert Stone’s 1986 Hollywood noir novel centering on a philandering fortysomething actor who journeys to Mexico to visit an old flame, a Tuesday Weld-like starlet, on the set of a film based on Kate Chopin’s proto-feminist novel, “The Awakening.”

Stone has traditionally taken an active interest in film adaptations of his work, penning the screenplays for adaptations of both 1967’s “Hall of Mirrors,” which became the 1970 feature “WUSA,” starring Paul Newman, and his 1975 novel, “Dog Soldiers,” produced in 1978 as “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” with Weld and Nick Nolte.

“He’s been around long enough that he’s built an incredible relationship with talent,” says APA’s Steve Fisher, who regularly fends off film offers for his client.

Linda Obst has another Stone novel, “Damascus Gate,” in active development at Paramount.

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