Cult movie Legally Blonde was hailed for its progressive plotline when it was first released in 2001 – but it turns out the Reese Witherspoon-led flick could have pushed the boundaries even further, by ending with two of its lead characters in a same-sex relationship.
According to actress Jessica Cauffiel – who played Margot, best friend and sorority sister of Reese’s character Elle Woods – one of the earliest versions of the script came to a close with the leading lady enjoying a romantic vacation with her arch nemesis-turned-best friend Vivian, played by Selma Blair.
Speaking to the New York Times alongside several of the movie’s cast and crew, Jessica, 45, revealed that the ‘first ending’ of the movie featured a suggestive shot of bubbly blonde Elle and wealthy bookworm Vivian holding hands on a beach in Hawaii while sipping margaritas.
‘The first ending was Elle and Vivian in Hawaii in beach chairs, drinking margaritas and holding hands,’ she revealed in an interview to mark the 20th anniversary of the hit film.
‘The insinuation was either they were best friends or they had gotten together romantically.’
Plot twist! A Legally Blonde star has revealed that one of the first versions of the movie ended with Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods and Selma Blair’s Vivian in a romantic relationship
Surprise! Actress Jessica Cauffiel (right), who played Elle’s sorority sister Margot, said Reese and Selma’s characters were initially going to end up holding hands on a beach in Hawaii
During the movie, Elle and Vivian’s characters go through something of a rollercoaster as far as their relationship is concerned – beginning the flick as arch rivals who are arguing over a shared love interest and competing in their classes at Harvard Law School, and then ending the film as close and supportive friends.
Now it seem that the movie’s creators had been angling for the two women to end up in an even closer relationship, at least during the earliest days of production.
Firm friends: The movie’s creators noted that Reese, 45, and Selma, 49, worked so well in the roles because they were such good friends in real life – having already starred in Cruel Intentions together two years prior
However, while Jessica’s co-star Alanna Ubach – who played fellow sorority sister Serena – remembered a similar idea being thrown around, the movie’s screenwriters, Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith, insisted that they never actually wrote a script with that ending.
‘We originally cut to a year later, Elle and Vivian were good friends, and Vivian’s now blond,’ Karen recalled. ‘They had started the Blond Legal Defense Club and were handing out fliers in the quad because that was the ending in [the original] manuscript [that the movie was based on].’
Either way, a romantic relationship between Elle and Vivian was just the first of many alternative endings that were proposed before the screenwriters settled on the final version – which saw the leading lady graduating from Harvard Law School as her class’s elected speaker and with ‘an invitation to join one of Boston’s most prestigious law firms’.
Jessica added that the ‘second or third’ version of the movie concluded with a ‘musical number’ that took place on the steps of the courtroom where Elle had her first legal success in proving the innocence of a suspected murderess, played by actress Ali Larter.
Romance: In Cruel Intentions, Selma’s character actually shared a now-infamous kiss with on-screen villain Kathryn, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar
All singing, all dancing: Another version of the movie ended with a musical number of the steps of the courtroom where Elle helped to prove the innocence of a suspected murderess
‘As Elle came out, the judge, jury and everybody in the courtroom broke into song and dance. I’ve been waiting for somebody to leak that for 20 years,’ Jessica joked.
Screenwriter Kirsten added that another script had a more simple ending – with Elle and her boyfriend Emmett, played by Luke Wilson, sharing a kiss, however that version didn’t test well with audiences when it was first screened.
‘People didn’t want to end it with a kiss,’ she recalled. ‘They thought it wasn’t a story about [Elle] getting a boyfriend, which was really cool to have people say that.’
One thing everyone agreed on was the natural chemistry between Reese, 45, and Selma, 49, who had already formed a close relationship while starring in Cruel Intentions together – during which, incidentally, Selma’s character, Cecile, shares a now-infamous kiss with on-screen villain Kathryn, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Kirsten revealed that Chloe Sevigny had originally been suggested for the role of Vivian, however ‘that didn’t work out’ and Selma ended up with the part – which, in her mind, was the perfect casting choice.
‘Selma and Reese were close, because they had done Cruel Intentions together. So their friendship is a great anchor for everything,’ she said.
The role of Vivian was not the only one that the movie’s creators had considered giving to other actors; before she was cast in the role of fitness trainer-turned-murder suspect, Ali was originally asked to read for one of Elle’s sorority sisters, and British star Paul Bettany was initially considered for the role of Emmett.