The recent confirmation of Legally Blonde 3 was slightly bittersweet. On one hand, we know that we finally get to see Reese Witherspoon rock a pink business suit and dominate in court again, but on the other hand, we have to wait until Valentine's Day 2020 for the movie's debut. That's a long time to keep bending and snapping, so to hold us over until then, here are eight secrets about Legally Blonde that even its superfans may not know.
Since its release in 2001, Legally Blonde has become one of those movies that you memorize through countless viewings on Oxygen and at sleepovers. Who needed a DVD copy growing up when the film was on TV every weekend? With its magic formula of an empowering message and Witherspoon at the helm, there isn't much that's unknown about Legally Blonde, but we've manged to find some behind-the-scenes secrets that aren't too well-publicized.
My longtime dream is that we'll someday get an audio commentary of Legally Blonde with the full cast, but keeping an eye on Reese Witherspoon's social media updates on Film 3 ought to suffice. Until then, I'll have these little tidbits in mind the next time I watch Legally Blonde.
1. Matthew Davis (Warner) Had A Crush On Reese Witherspoon
Warner turned out to be far from Elle's perfect match, but it was a different story for actor Matthew Davis. We're all guilty of massive teen crushes on celebrities, and Davis was just as susceptible as the rest of us. Filming Legally Blonde when in his early 20s, Davis admitted in a promotional interview for the movie that he had harbored a crush on Witherspoon, who started acting when she was a teenager, since he was 15. He told MovieLine:
Ever since I was 15 and watched A Far Off Place, I had the hugest crush on Reese. So at first I was such a bumbling idiot with her, the producers pulled me aside one day to see if I was OK.
Although Witherspoon was married to Ryan Phillippe at the time, Davis eventually told Witherspoon how he felt about her. In true Elle Woods fashion, she called the gesture sweet and moved on to the work at hand. That's how you play off an untimely profession of love, ladies.
2. Harvard Was Initially Not Part Of Elle's Big Goal
Legally Blonde's connection to Harvard Law School is so iconic that I'm surprised Harvard doesn't include movie screenshots in its brochures. However, Elle was originally meant to move from California University in Los Angeles to Stanford University, following in the steps of the Legally Blonde book's author (more on her later). Stanford's administration disapproved of the script, leading to the movie's location changing to Harvard Law.
Going back to that brochure idea, the movie also didn't film at Harvard, instead shooting at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California. Movie magic always fails you in the end, huh?
3. The Movie Is Based On A Book
Yep, there's a Legally Blonde novel. Originally published in 2001, the book does align with the movie's plot quite closely, but the story stems from author Amanda Brown's real-life experiences at Stanford Law School. According to the Stanford alumni magazine, screenwriters Karen Lutz and Kirsten Smith even visited campus to give their script a tone of realism. Brown also included some real-life jokes in her original book, including the fervent discussion about the sorority house's toilet paper.
Although she initially wanted to write a "parody of law school," Brown's book has now taken on a life of its own. She eventually left law school because she discovered what she truly loved doing, telling the alumni magazine:
[Law school] helped me decide what I wanted to do: write.
4. Davis Based Warner On A Certain U.S. President
Warner might have wanted a Jackie instead of a Marilyn, but Davis didn't turn to John F. Kennedy for character inspiration. According to an interview Brown gave on the movie's Special Edition DVD, the actor based the slightly clueless Warner on President George W. Bush. IMDb reports that Legally Blonde filmed from October to December 2000, meaning that Davis had the last few weeks of Bush's first presidential campaign and his victorious election day to specifically look toward for insight.
5. The Ending Involved Wigs And An European Setting
Watching Elle triumph at her law school graduation never gets old, but this ending wasn't the script's original conclusion. The initial ending involved Elle and her new BFF Vivian starting the "Blonde Legal Defense Club," but test audiences didn't enjoy this.
Thus, the cast and crew rushed to throw together a new ending, but Witherspoon had cut her hair since the film's first wrap to start work on The Importance of Being Earnest. She was also filming in England, which led to parts of the final scene being shot at London's Dulwich College. Certain cutaways to audience members were filmed in Los Angeles, and both Witherspoon and Luke Wilson wore wigs in the scene.
6. Witherspoon Kept All Of Elle's Clothes
The Oscar winner hinted at having her own Legally Blonde wardrobe when she threw an Elle Woods fashion show to celebrate the film's 15th anniversary in 2016. But this wasn't just a case of Witherspoon getting in touch with old costume designers for the sake of entertaining fans. Her contract stated that she got to keep all of Elle's clothes in the film, and she reportedly received the same reward after filming the 2003 sequel Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde. If Witherspoon ever wants to auction off these clothes to the common folk, let me know.
7. She Also Gave Birth Shortly Before Working On The Film
We regularly marvel over Ava Phillippe's scary resemblance to her mom, but back in the Legally Blonde days, the now-18-year-old was still a newborn. Witherspoon, who was only 25 when the movie premiered, got real about balancing work and a baby in an interview with Cinema.com, saying:
I was worried that I wasn't getting enough sleep because my daughter Ava was sick quite often during the shoot and there were a lot of days when I didn't think I could pull it off. Some nights Ava would wake up screaming because she had the flu and I would spend most of the night trying to rock her back to sleep and then have to be on the set at 7 in the morning for make-up! And then you throw in the fact that I'm supposed to be playing a very bubbly and energetic California preppy who is smiling all the time! I kept thinking, "I'm going to kill myself! I'm never going to make it!'
Stars — they're just like us!
8. There Was Supposed To Be A 'Bend And Snap' Musical Number
The Legally Blonde musical, which opened on Broadway in 2007, has its own song dedicated to the Bend and Snap, aka Elle's secret weapon in charming men, but the movie almost had a similar moment. According to Screen Rant, the film's Bend and Snap scene is actually a shortened version of the full, original musical number. If there's anything that could've made Legally Blonde more of a hit, it would be that long-lost song and dance.
Legally Blonde 3 is in theaters on Feb. 14, 2020.