‘Legally Blonde’ Almost Ended With a Musical Number
Could you imagine Legally Blonde ending any other way than with Elle Woods' passionate graduation speech?
The 2001 movie concludes with Reese Witherspoon's character graduating from Harvard as valedictorian, but in honor of the 20th anniversary of the iconic film, the cast revealed the original intended endings that never made it to screen... though some early test audience participants did get to see them. (Lucky!)
In a piece for the New York Times, cast and crew revealed that test audiences weren't exactly wowed by the original ending. (The writers toyed with a few different endings before landing on Elle's law school graduation.)
"The first ending was Elle and Vivian in Hawaii in beach chairs, drinking margaritas and holding hands. The insinuation was either they were best friends or they had gotten together romantically," Jessica Cauffiel, who portrayed Elle's best friend Margot in the film, shared.
Cauffiel also recounted that another ending involved a musical number that takes place outside the courtroom. In the alternate ending, all the court participants break into song and dance. The crew actually filmed the musical ending, which Cauffiel has been "waiting for somebody to leak ... for 20 years."
Screenwriter Kirsten Smith shared that yet another version had Emmett (Luke Wilson) and Elle kissing. However, test audiences didn't like that as the story wasn't about Elle finding a replacement boyfriend, but rather her own academic journey. So, they went back to the drawing board, where the screenwriters came up with the ending that fans all know and love.
"In the theater lobby of the test audience, Kirsten and I were like, 'Why don’t we cut to graduation so we can do captions?'" McCullah recalled. "So we started writing that scene in the lobby with Marc."
At the time, Witherspoon was filming The Importance of Being Earnest in the U.K., where her re-shoot was completed. She even had to wear a wig!
But Witherspoon wasn't the only cast member who had to re-shoot while working on another project—or wear a wig, for that matter. Luke Wilson had shaved his head for his role in The Royal Tenenbaums, so he also had to wear a wig for the re-shoot.