We’d love to see Elle Woods take the White House. What, like it’s hard?
It’s time to break out your best pink bouclé skirt suit, this season’s Prada shoes, and bend and snap back into action — Legally Blonde 3 is officially in the works. According to Deadline, Reese Witherspoon is nearing a deal with MGM to reprise her role as Elle Woods in this follow-up to the hit 2001 film.
Legally Blonde, itself based on a novel of the same name by Amanda Brown, traced Woods’ transformation from a freshly dumped SoCal sorority girl into a sharp, confident, but no less idealistic star student at Harvard Law School. Its sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde followed Woods to Washington, D.C. as she worked under a congresswoman (played by Sally Field!) and passed a bill banning animal testing in honor of her beloved Chihuahua Bruiser.
While Red, White, and Blonde didn’t fare well with critics, there’s reason to believe that Legally Blonde 3 will be able to recapture the original’s wit and warmth. For starters, the film will be bringing back Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith and Karen McCullah — the same duo who adapted Brown’s novel for the first Legally Blonde — to pen the script. The production team will also include original producer Marc Platt (along with his Platt Productions president Adam Siegel) and Witherspoon herself through her company Hello Sunshine — where Legally Blonde 3 will join the slate of similarly high-profile projects she’s taken on recently.
While details regarding Legally Blonde 3’s storyline are still under wraps, it will reportedly be “will be much in the spirit of the first film.” It’s worth noting that while the original was an unmistakably cheerful, feel-good comedy, it also touched on issues of gender and power that still feel salient today — for instance, there’s a scene in which Woods’ Professor Callahan (Victor Garber), who’s also overseeing her prestigious legal internship, makes a pass at her while offering to “discuss the future of her career.”
Legally Blonde also revolves around the idea that femininity and intellectual seriousness aren’t mutually exclusive. Woods never has to sacrifice her pink outfits and peppy attitude in order to become a great legal mind — in fact, her comprehensive knowledge of perm treatments is ultimately the key to exonerating her client. Amidst a political climate that seems mostly characterized by mind-numbing bigotry, cynicism, and incompetence, the return of a heroine like Woods feels like a breath of fresh air.
We’re also excited to see Witherspoon tackle the role of a more mature Woods, given her acclaimed performances in Wild and Big Little Lies — which both showcased newfound levels of emotional depth and vulnerability from an actress previously best known for her roles as perky, energetic, and unambiguously self-possessed young women in films like Election and the first Legally Blonde (her Oscar-winning turn in Walk the Line arguably fit this mold as well).
Since it’s been well over a decade since audiences have last seen Woods onscreen, it’s anyone’s guess as to where she ends up in Legally Blonde 3. But the closing scene of Red, White, and Blonde hinted that Woods might end up in Washington, D.C., as she winked while driving past the White House — and seeing her as the nation’s first female president would be a much-needed dose of feminist wish fulfillment.
In an interview last year on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Witherspoon also put forth multiple possibilities as to where Woods might end up in a sequel. Aside from being the president, she suggested that Woods could be a Supreme Court justice, a high-powered attorney, or even in prison (presumably at the hands of some nefarious legal conspiracy that she’d expose by the film’s end).
If Legally Blonde 3 is aiming for relevant storytelling, it’d be incredibly satisfying to see Woods becoming a firebrand Gloria Allred-esque lawyer, fiercely advocating for women’s rights — or triumphing on the campaign trail (and expertly shutting down all the ugly, sexist criticism that gets thrown her way). All hail our new commander in chic.