From Secret Crushes to Deleted Scenes: 29+ Untold Secrets From Legally Blonde
| LAST UPDATE 10/26/2021
From mascara-tears to bunny costumes, we watched Elle as she struggled to take on Harvard - the good, the bad, and, the boneheads. But did we really? From secret crushes to deleted scenes, prepare to be amazed.
Meet the 'Real' Elle Woods
Not all heroes wear capes, folks. In fact, ours wears pink - a whole lot of it! Meet Amanda Brown, otherwise known as the real-life inspiration behind the one and only Elle Woods. Are you also starstruck?
Back in '93, the law student was busy writing letters home - with a furry, pink pen and pink paper, no less - when it caught the eyes of an agent and eager studios, who soon brought her adventures to our screen.
Stanford Rejected Elle Woods
Long before Warner Huntington III lured an ambitious Elle Woods out East, the blonde beauty actually had her sights set elsewhere. As a matter of fact, the only reason we watched her end up in Massachusetts was thanks to a brutal rejection from Stanford University, back in sunny California.
That's right: Elle Woods, or should we say, Amanda Brown, never made it to Harvard. The reality? We were supposed to watch the Beverly Hills beauty find her way into Stanford Law, just like Amanda did; Only they weren't as amused as we were about a blonde barbie prancing around their campus lawn in a sparkling bikini.
Harvard, Too, Rejected Elle Woods
Well, not really. While Harvard might have finally agreed to be the backdrop to our favorite adventure, they still wanted nothing to do with it. Yep, sorry to break the news to you, but that sunny campus lawn, where we saw Elle catch some rays in her favorite 2-piece? Not Harvard.
I mean, it makes sense if you think about it. Did you really think Cambridge, Massachusetts would be looking so, well, vibrant during the dead of Fall? So, where was Elle really prancing around, exactly? At both USC and UCLA in, you guessed it, sunny California.
Fights During Filming
Sure, she totally looked the part, but that doesn't mean it was easy. In fact, did you know that when the cameras stopped rolling, Elle Woods was actually busy arguing with her costume designer - and no, it wasn't because she said orange was the new pink, that'd be seriously disturbed.
"It was burning hot outside, I was sweating buckets," Reese revealed during the reunion of her meltdown while exploring 'Harvard''s halls. Then again, can you blame her? Imagine dressing for Cambridge, all while baking in the California heat? "She was like, 'You are wearing this sweater!'" her costume designer demanded.
The Casting Conspiracy
"[Do] you guys know what Alanna and I did to get her cast?" Jessica Cauffiel, a.k.a Margot, revealed this on the 20-year reunion special. While we came to know her and her sidekick, Alanna Ubach - 'Serena' - as Elle Woods' BFFs, did you know about the conspiracy that helped prop them on our screens - and into that courtroom?
"I went to the bathroom, and there was this… petite spitfire putting on lipgloss," an already-cast Cauffiel shared of the moment she met her bestie. "She looks at me [& says]… 'I don't have any money… help me make rent?'" So, what'd she do? "I told [staff] I needed 5… went in the bathroom… and we planned… every line."
Paulette's Character Was Stolen
Well, sort of. Sure, her manicure skills and ability to bend & snap clearly went unmatched, but if you ask the face behind Paulette Bonafonté, herself? "I just sort of hear someone in real life, [or] meet someone, and then I just kind of steal from them," actress Jennifer Coolidge revealed to IGN. What does she mean, exactly?
While we were busy admiring Coolidge's ability to win us over on our screens, the star was busy channeling someone she'd met as her on-screen inspiration. But don't worry, "They never know it's them," she joked. "I do shows, stage shows all the time, and I'm so afraid that people are going to recognize themselves."
The Lie That Landed Reese's Role
Elle Woods might be looked up to by the likes of Cameron Diaz (remember that truly heinous angora sweater?) and Delta Nu, but it wasn't always that way. In fact, off-screen, Reese Witherspoon actually had to trick unimpressed executives into landing her role - using fake accents and a fake backstory.
"They thought I was a shrew," the actress told The Hollywood Reporter. "My manager finally called and said, 'You've got to go meet with the studio head... I was told to dress sexy." So, what'd she do? Sporting a fake Cali accent, the college dropout sat and answered questions about her life in a sorority - which never happened, btw.
Reese Didn't Even Want the Role
As the story goes, after convincing accents and tales about her 'wild youth' - you know, mixers, formals, clambakes, trips to the Cape - the blonde beauty finally landed that million-dollar offer to play Elle Woods. But did you know that the actress didn't even want it, at first?
That's right, "She was afraid it was too similar to Clueless, which had recently come out," producer Marc Platt revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. Luckily, he had a way with words: "I literally said to her, 'I want Elle to be a role model....' [For] my daughters to watch her and think... they can do anything."
The Unapproved Alternate Ending
"Congratulations, class of 2004 - We did it!" We all know how Elle Wood's journey ends. Only do we really? Did you know there was once a time where our Harvard graduate faced an entirely different reality? Eventually, writers had to scrap and refilm the entire thing - and we've got a slew of angry fans to thank for that.
You see, we were supposed to say bye to the courtroom superstar "At the courthouse," as co-writer Karen McCullah told EW. What happened? The test audience; Yep, thanks to their disapproval, we never got to catch Elle "And Vivian, who was now blond, [form] the 'Blonde Legal Defense Fund'" a year later, like we would've. *Sigh.*
Do you know what else almost never made it to our screens? The moment Elle's bonehead of a boyfriend learned exactly what karma tasted like. But while justice may have been served on those courthouse steps, did you know that last-minute scene also called for a last-minute flight around the globe?
"'She still needs to be able to tell Warner off,'" McCullah told EW of the moment production flew all the way to England to rewrite history. Sure enough, several impromptu scenes - shot at Dulwich College in London - later, we finally saw Reese, who was already filming her next movie - grant Elle the closure she deserved.
Reese's Sleepless Nights on Set
I kept thinking, "I'm going to kill myself! I'm never going to make it!" Witherspoon revealed to Cinema about the sleepless nights she endured on set. You see, she may have been a pro at hiding it, but when the cameras stopped rolling? Elle Woods had bigger problems to worry about than how her manicure was holding up.
"Some nights Ava would wake up screaming," the actress explained of her then-6-month old baby girl. What went wrong? "Ava was sick quite often during the shoot," which left her loyal mother spending "Most of the night trying to rock her back to sleep" - despite "Having to be on the set at 7 in the morning for make-up!"
What Happened to Elle's Wardrobe?
Sure, they may have been last season's Prada shoes, but what exactly happened to Elle's clunky heels once the court let out for the day? While Enrique Salvatore probably wouldn't agree with us, we sure wouldn't mind taking 'em home. Well, folks, prepare to be very, very jealous.
"I got all my wardrobe - all of it," Reese gushed to Graham Norton about Elle's designer closet. But don't worry: The actress was referring to Legally Blonde 2 - and the 77 pairs of Jimmy Choos that came with it. In other words? Those Prada pumps might just be up for grabs, after all. Don't quote us on that one, though.
The Origin of the 'Bend & Snap'
You already know that Bend & Snap has an "83% return on a dinner invitation." But what if we told you that Elle's foolproof move could actually be traced back to one drunken night out at a bar? Well, that's exactly what happened, and we've never been more amazed.
"It was a spontaneous invention... a completely drunken moment in a bar," co-writer Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith revealed to EW of the very moment the bend & snap was born; An impromptu dance move, demonstrated by "Kiwi" to co-writer McCullah, that'd soon morph into the phenomenon we know and love today. Cheers to that one, guys.
Reese Struggled With Her Role
"It's definitely been a jump for me," Witherspoon revealed to ScreenSlam of her struggles on-screen. You see, while the Harvard graduate might have been a pro at acing her LSATs or silencing the courtroom, that didn't mean it was easy. In fact, it was actually far from it.
How does she explain it? "I'm not necessarily like 'jump around and perky and bubbly all the time,'" Witherspoon continued. Which meant that while Elle might have had no problem pulling all-nighters, for Reese, "The amount of care and energy [Elle] puts into a lot of things... that's been really a challenge for me."
The Secret Late-Night Hangouts
On-screen, two famous faces might have vyed for Warner's heart, but off-screen? Things were far from what they seemed. As a matter of fact, not only were the co-stars not actually scheming against one another, but they were much closer than you ever imagined - literally.
"We lived across the street from each other," Witherspoon told ET of her co-star. Any guess who she was referring to? Of course, our favorite turtle-neck wearing, "Frigid b****:" Vivian Kensington. "She'd come over. When I'd get locked out of the house, she'd have my key... we're really close, and it's been great."
The Secret Sisters
Believe it or not, folks, but Elle Woods actually has some blonde sisters to thank for her time on our screen. You know, the ones whose lives she "Infiltrated," as she herself put it to EW? And no, we're not talking about Delta Nu. How did the actress explain it? "It was sort of like an anthropological study."
"I went to the University of Southern California, and I studied with the sorority girls there," Reese revealed to ScreenSlam of her time as a 'sister.' Yep, anything from fancy dinners to late-night meetings was what the 24-year-old's new reality called for - and it helped morph Elle into the fearless diva we know and love.
The Strict Mealplan
"There are a lot of strange pressures involved in being actors and dealing with the celebrity thing," Witherspoon revealed to Cinema. Safe to say, she couldn't have been more right. At just 24-years-old, the newfound mother had to struggle between stardom and motherhood - and the 42 pounds that came with it.
Yep, with a 6-month old baby by her side, the devoted actress was also met with a stubborn baby weight that she was forced to ditch; And so, it was only a matter of time before MGM hailed in help: A personal trainer, with strict meal plans and workout routines determined to squeeze Elle Woods into that bunny costume at all costs.
The Dirty Truth
Remember when it came to our attention - and Elle's, of course - that the maintenance staff had the nerve to switch Delta Nu's toilet paper from Charmin to generic? Well, did you know that it was based on an all-too-real, off-screen toilet paper tragedy?
"We were denied our toilet paper," co-writer Karen McCullah revealed to Montpelier. That's right, please tell Elle that while her access to 3 ply rolls may have been axed, Karen's poor sisters couldn't even get, well, any rolls. "I offered my sorority sisters... points for stealing replacement rolls from the administration."
This Actress Turned Down This Role
Imagine being offered to play Elle Woods, only to turn it down because of the negativity you thought might come with it? Not exactly, um, the best decision in hindsight, huh? Unfortunately for this Hollywood actress, though, that's exactly what happened.
"The story's been out there," Christina Applegate revealed to Andy Cohen; But make no mistake: "I wasn't like actually offered it!" she explained of the wild rumors. How did she put it? "The script came to me, but... I'd just gotten off of Married... with Children, and I felt like it was too close to what I'd just been doing."
Vivian Was Almost an Entirely Different Person
Literally: While we may have grown to love Vivian Kensington and her bony little fingers by the end of the movie, we almost never met her. Yep, did you know that actress Selma Blair was actually the last choice to take on our favorite villain? And she's got a different actress to thank for that.
Chloë Stevens Sevigny; Yep, if she hadn't been filming a different movie, Demonlover, at the time, we would've had a different villain prancing around with a Harry Winston. But maybe it's better this way, after all. "Her fingers are much too elegant," Blair joked to EW.
Warner's Forbidden Crush
“Is it safe to say that Elle is the one that got away?” SNL star Chloe Fineman asked Matt Davis, a.k.a Warner, during their 20-year reunion special. His response? “How could she not be?” Little did we know, there was actually a much darker truth behind those forbidden feelings.
You see, back in 2000, the 22-year-old was "So out of his league," as he found himself starring alongside his crush; Only Reese's secret admirer "Was such a bumbling idiot... producers pulled me aside one day to see if I was OK," he told Movieline. How'd Reese reacted when he came clean? "That's so sweet! OK, let's work on the scene."
Vivian's Secret Admirer
Wait for a second, hold that thought; We may have gotten everything wrong, after all. You see, while a starstruck Matt Davis might have once professed his love to a then-married Reese, there was also a different law student he soon came to have his eyes on - and yes, she was also off-limits.
"I absolutely loved and adored Selma," Davis revealed to News.com.au of the face behind Vivian Kensington. "I developed a crush on her at the time, but she was with someone else, [actor Jason Schwartzman]." That must have been one, um, awkward set. "He was coming around, and I was kind of like 'Who is this guy?!'"
The Kraft-Service Confrontation
"It never occurred to me that when we're not shooting, that some people actually stay in character," Jennifer Coolidge, who you already know as our favorite manicurist, revealed during the 20-year reunion. Who was she referring to that confronted her while she was "Stuffing her face" with donuts?
Reese Witherspoon - or should we say, Elle Woods? "I'm at Kraft services… stuffing my face with these donuts… and I turn to [Reese], and I go, 'Oh my god... I can't stop eating these donuts!'" How did she reply? "'Then just don't. Don't eat them…' I was like, 'Oh my god, she's her character at the Kraft service table.'"
The Hate that Haunts this Actor
Sure, he was the stuck-up playboy who broke up with Elle because "She was too blonde," but what about when the cameras stopped rolling? How did Warner, or should we say, Matt Davis, hold up when he wasn't busy getting called a bonehead on our screens? For starters, the actor's reality was far more brutal than we ever imagined.
"For years and years, I'd have people assault me like, 'You're that a****** from Legally Blonde,'" Davis revealed during the reunion special. Well, it's officially time to put the vicious rumors to rest: "I'm here to tell people that Matthew Davis is the nicest person! He was just playing a character," Reese assured.
The Forgotten Musical Sequence
"We filmed that for a month," an agitated Jennifer Coolidge, or Paulette, revealed during the reunion. You see, we already know all about the moment a drunken night out led to a foolproof move - you know, the one with a 98% success rate of getting a man's attention. But did you know there were much bigger plans for it?
"That was a full musical sequence that we ended up cutting out of the movie," Reese Witherspoon revealed on the reunion of the 'bend & snap.' "We had all these dancers behind us, including Ryan Heffington… it was just so fun." But don't worry, guys, she'll still "Be doing the bend and snap 'til she's 95," as she joked to ET.
The "Serious" Set
From secret admirers to sleepless nights, life on set was nothing short of eventful, to, um, say the least. Perhaps that's why this cast member was so taken back when it came to the set's "serious" environment. We don't know if we should be more amused or surprised here.
What happened? "I remember the first day Jennifer Coolidge showed up on set, looking for her trailer," Jessica Cauffiel revealed. "She looked at me, and she goes, 'Am I in the right place?'" Why was she so confused? "'This is like a WW2 movie," Coolidge joked. "I thought we were shooting a comedy - it's so serious around here!'"
'Chutney''s Harsh Critics
From the moment Linda Cardellini got a call from her agent about a "Small role" in an up-and-coming chick-flick, her life would never be the same. "This is so different. How fun to go from playing somebody like Lindsay to a murderer?" the Freaks &Geeks star thought. Little did she know what her role as Chutney would call for.
"I missed the premiere because I was working, and so I went to go see it with a friend," she revealed to Rolling Stone. What went wrong? "When I came on the screen, somebody audibly gasped and yelled, 'Ew!'" the unrecognized actress continued. "My stomach sank... that was the first time I'd ever truly been criticized in public."
Professor Stromwell Was Miserable During Filming
"I remember thinking, 'I can't believe I have this wonderful role, and I'm going to perform it under these circumstances,'" Holland Taylor revealed to Vulture. Sure, Professor Stromwell may have spent her days getting pampered at the salon, when she wasn't busy quoting Aristotle, but off-screen?
"I was actually sick when I did it," the actress revealed of her sleepless nights on set. "I had a pretty serious bug, like the flu, with body aches, and you just want to die." Yep, while we were busy judging her for challenging Elle on the very first day, Taylor was busy fighting a runny nose and raging fever.
David Kidney's Disturbing Reality
Remember when our favorite gentle giant stood up Elle, after spending a beautiful night together? But while we can all forget about the time the geeky biochemist broke Ms. Woods' heart - you know, considering it never actually happened - you won't be able to forget about David's disturbing endeavors off-screen.
"As simple as it sounds, I just wanted to write what I wanted to see," actor Oz Perkins revealed to Fast Company of life after Harvard Law: Writing and directing horror movies. Yep. Are you as speechless as we are? From twisted thrillers like The Blackcoat's Daughter to Gretel and Hansel, 'dorky David' has officially gone dark.
Elle's Personal Revenge
From New Orleans "Shrew" to the queen of Harvard Law, Reese Witherspoon and her alter-ego have had one whirlwind of a ride. But once you get past that million-dollar payday, there's a different - more deep-rooted - reason why Legally Blonde means as much as it does to the blonde beauty: revenge.
"Oh, I've heard it all.... that I'm not sexy enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, and even that I'm not tall enough," Reese told Cinema. But that's exactly why she did what she did: "Making Legally Blonde was my own private campaign... that you can be the way you are, look the way you want, and still achieve your goals."