“Legally Blonde” is now legal…but Reese Witherspoon apparently didn’t think the film would spur two sequels back in 2001.
Ahead of “Legally Blonde 3,” penned by Mindy Kaling, longtime Witherspoon collaborator Andy Tennant revealed the Emmy and Oscar winner didn’t anticipate the massive success of the Harvard Law School-based fish out of water rom-com.
“I had lunch with her not that long before I turned in the ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ script,” Tennant told Insider as part of a “Sweet Home Alabama” 20th anniversary oral history. “We were just catching up and I asked, ‘What have you been up to?’ And she said, ‘I made this movie nobody is going to see. It’s silly but it was really fun to make.’ And that turned out to be ‘Legally Blonde.'”
It was only after the viral sensation of “Legally Blonde” that the studio thought of Witherspoon to star in “Sweet Home Alabama” after former lead and producer Charlize Theron parted ways with the project.
“Reese called me and said, ‘You are never going to believe this, they sent me your script!'” Tennant said. “The only reason ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was made was because of ‘Legally Blonde.'”
“Sweet Home Alabama” starred Witherspoon as Melanie, a career woman engaged to the perfect man (Patrick Dempsey) but has second thoughts after running into her ex (Josh Lucas) while planning her hometown wedding. Co-writer Tennant already has a sequel script in the works set around the next generation of Melanie’s daughter.
“I wrote a treatment and a lot of it has to do with Reese’s character and Melanie Lynskey’s character taking their kids on a college tour,” Tennant said. “Melanie doesn’t know this. I haven’t seen her in years. I would do everything and anything to work with Melanie Lynskey again. She is a director’s dream. The stuff she does in every take is wonderful.”
Tennant added, “Josh [Lucas] and I continue to lobby Reese, but she’s busy. Even Reese’s lawyer loved the treatment. But that’s as close as I got.”
Meanwhile, producing mogul Witherspoon is leading “Legally Blonde 3,” which she compared to “Top Gun: Maverick” in terms of being a decades-long sequel in the making.