EXCLUSIVE: MGM is near a deal with Reese Witherspoon to reprise her role as the precocious, idealistic Elle Woods in Legally Blonde 3, and they’ve brought back most of the creative team from the first film.
The pic is coming together quickly. Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith and Karen McCullah, who adapted the Amanda Brown novel for the 2001 first film, are in final talks to write the script. Original producer Marc Platt and his Platt Productions president Adam Siegel are producing, and they will be joined this time by Witherspoon, through her Hello Sunshine banner.
The scribes will begin writing immediately and the next step is to secure a director. Robert Luketic helmed the original pic.
It has been 17 years since the original, and the sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde came out in 2003. But the film has been a staple for young-female audiences who’ve rediscovered it on DVD or through the hit stage musical that continues to tour. The original grossed $141 million worldwide on an $18 million budget, and the sequel brought in $124 million on a $45 million budget.
The deal gives MGM another branded title, alongside Creed and the James Bond films. Creed 2 is in production with Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren and Florian Munteanu, and Bond 25 was just firmed with Daniel Craig returning and Danny Boyle directing the script by John Hodges, and Universal releasing overseas.
They are keeping the plot under wraps, but I’m told it will be much in the spirit of the first film, in which Woods’ idealism and pink-dominant wardrobe prevailed over the cynicism and snootiness all around her after the freshly dumped former sorority sister heads to law school. The sequel brought her to D.C. to join the staff of a congresswoman to pass a bill to ban animal testing. The intention here is to make this more about female empowerment, a message that hits at a fortuitous time in the culture. The feeling is to draw back in the audience that grew up with the original film and find a new global audience.
The project reunites Smith and McCullah, who as a team generated such comedies as Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You and House Bunny, and with credits on She’s the Man and The Ugly Truth. Witherspoon is repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment; Smith is with Verve, Kaplan/Perrone and attorney Karl Austen; McCullah is with Jaret Entertainment.