‘Legally Blonde’ turns 20: Five Fascinating Facts

Eric Ford/Online USA

20 years ago today, the beloved comedy Legally Blonde hit theaters, with Reese Witherspoon winning over audiences as Elle Woods, a sorority girl seeking to overcome stereotypes while earning a law degree. In honor of the film’s big 2-0, here are five fascinating facts about the film:

  1. The film is based on a true story.
    Before Legally Blonde the movie, there was Legally Blonde the book, written by Amanda Brown, who drew from her real-life experiences at Stanford Law School.
  2. Reese Witherspoon almost didn’t get the lead role of Elle.
    Christina Applegate was also in the running but she turned it down, stating that she didn’t want to play another stereotypical blonde character. “What a stupid move that was, right?” she told ET before adding that Reese did a “much better job than I ever could.”
  3. The iconic “bend and snap” moment was created during a drunken night out.
    While at a bar in Los Angeles trying to come up with a scene for Jennifer Coolidge’s character, Paulette, lead writer Karen McCullah asked co-writer Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith, “What if Elle shows [Paulette] a move so she can get the UPS guy?” Smith then spontaneously came up with what we know now as the “bend and snap.”
  4. Legally Blonde made its way to the theatre.
    There were Broadway and West End musicals based on the film. Its London West end production won several awards, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical.
  5. The movie almost had a very different ending.
    The current version ends with Elle delivering a speech at her Harvard Law School graduation, but the first cut actually ended at the courthouse. After winning her case, she shares a kiss with Emmett (Luke Wilson) and then it cuts to Elle and a blonde Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair) opening their own blonde legal defense club in law school. It was changed because of test audiences.

As Legally Blonde celebrates turning 20, a third installment is currently in the works and slated for a May 2022 release —  plenty of time for fans to give the original movie another view. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.