“I can’t tell you what it means to me to see your faces,” Witherspoon, who played Elle Woods, said to her former costars in the virtual reunion on Tuesday, October 20. “This was my college. You guys, this is where I went to college. I didn’t finish college, but I finished Legally Blonde and we all got together and made this movie together that has inspired so many young people and it’s just such a gift.”
Witherspoon, 44, was joined by Selma Blair (Vivian Kensington), Luke Wilson (Emmett Richmond), Jennifer Coolidge (Paulette Bonafonté), Ali Larter (Brooke Taylor Windham), Matthew Davis (Warner Huntington III), Holland Taylor (Professor Stromwell), Alanna Ubach (Serena McGuire) and Jessica Cauffiel (Margot). Hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Chloe Fineman via Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine YouTube page, the gathering supported World Central Kitchen — an organization that aims to provide meals to families in need.
The Big Little Lies alum said that she believes that this role, in particular, “comes up more than any other” she’s done because of Elle Woods. “I think she just inspired people to believe in themselves. She just has a true sense of herself and she always wants to see the best in others,” she explained. “She’s inspired me to really keep an open mind and always be an advocate for myself and for other people in this world and I think her spirit is something that we could all use a little bit more of right now.”
Elsewhere in the special get-together, Witherspoon nearly choked up upon seeing Wilson, Elle’s eventual love interest. The Oscar winner also revealed that many people have asked her to do the iconic “bend and snap” sequence from the 2001 film and that most fans remember Elle’s “What? Like it’s hard?” line. Additionally, Davis joked about being told he’s “that a–hole from Legally Blonde” for his portrayal of Elle’s ex Warner and Coolidge made fun of the “mustard-colored hair” her character had that matched her outfits.
Legally Blonde, which was filmed in 2000 and released the following year, followed Elle Woods’ determination to win back her boyfriend Warner Huntington III by getting admitted into Harvard Law School alongside him. The comedy’s success spawned the sequel Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde in 2003, a direct-to-DVD spinoff in 2009 called Legally Blondes and the hit Broadway production Legally Blonde: The Musical, which launched in 2007.
Its staying power in pop culture has even been seen in recent years. Legally Blonde inspired aspects of Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” music video in 2018 and Kim Kardashian’s spot-on Halloween costume in 2019.
Though Elle Woods is one of Witherspoon’s most iconic roles to date, the Morning Show actress previously revealed that she nearly didn’t get the part. “They thought I was a shrew,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “My manager finally called and said, ‘You’ve got to go meet with the studio head because he will not approve you. He thinks you really are your character from Election and that you’re repellent.’ And then I was told to dress sexy.”
Witherspoon continued, “You’re 23, you have a baby at home, you need the money and you’re being told that by people who know what they’re doing. It’s funny to think of all the things we were told to do back then because now you’re thinking, ‘Oh, God. If somebody told my daughter to do that, she’d be like, I really hope you’re joking.’”
Earlier this month, Kaling gave an update on how Legally Blonde 3 is coming along. “I’d been working with [Reese] on a couple movies and we’ve been friends for a while. I have always quoted the movies to her — I was that annoying friend that would be like, ‘Bend and snap’ to her,” the Office alum, 41, said on Good Morning America on October 7. “She asked me, ‘You know, I’d really love to revisit this character.’”
Kaling admitted to having apprehension about Witherspoon’s request, adding: “I was nervous because the movie is so iconic. But then I thought, ‘It’d be really fun to see that character in her 40s. What is Elle Woods dealing with as a 41-year-old woman?’ And it’s been really funny to write. I’m working on it with my friend Dan [Goor], and I think it’s going to be a great movie for Reese and people are going to love to see her in this part.”