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Christina Applegate on Why She Passed on Playing Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

People logo People 5/8/2019 Dave Quinn
Christina Applegate standing in front of a television: Christina Applegate | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images © Provided by TIME Inc. Christina Applegate | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Oh my god, you guys — Legally Blonde nearly starred Christina Applegate!

The 47-year-old actress opened up on Tuesday’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen about being sent the script to the 2001 comedy to play Elle Woods, the lead role made famous by Reese Witherspoon.

“The story’s been out there but I wasn’t actually offered it, the script came to me,” said Applegate. “But at that time, I had just gotten off of Married with Children and I felt like it was too close to what I had just been doing and I was very interested in removing myself from that.”

“I don’t regret it because Reese Witherspoon did a much better job than I ever could and she now has way more money and way more success, and so why would I even regret that?” Applegate joked.

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Of course, Applegate has had a long and successful career since, with roles in The Sweetest Thing, AnchormanBad MomsSurviving Christmas, and more.

She’s now starring in the Netflix series Dead to Me opposite Linda Cardellini, who was actually in Legally Blonde playing Chutney Windham, the daughter of the deceased Hayworth Windham with a penchant for perms.

Cardellini, 43, was also on WWHL with Applegate. “You could have worked with me,” she teased her costar, after learning she had passed on Legally Blonde. 

“S—!” Applegate teased.

Legally Blonde follows sorority girl Elle, who decides to trail her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law school after he breaks her heart. In addition to Woods, the comedy starred Luke Wilson, Jennifer Coolidge, Selma Blair, Victor Garber and Ali Larter.

The film was followed up by a 2003 sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, which centers on Elle’s life post-Harvard as she made her move to Washington, D.C. to start a career in politics. Sally Field and Regina King were among its stars.

Fans of the film won’t have to wait long to see Elle back on the big screen.

Last June, Witherspoon confirmed that she was reprising her iconic Legally Blonde character for a third installment of the beloved film franchise — slipping back into the pink sequin bikini Elle wore for her Harvard Law application in the original 2001 film.

“It’s true,” Witherspoon wrote on social media of Legally Blonde 3, captioning a video of herself in the two-piece as she drifted on a blue pool float.

a woman wearing a red shirt walking down the street: Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde | Tracy Bennett/MGM/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock © Provided by TIME Inc. Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde | Tracy Bennett/MGM/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock Plot points or returning cast members haven’t been announced yet for Legally Blonde 3, but MGM announced the third installment will hit theaters on Valentine’s Day, 2020.

Legally Blonde 3 will have a special producer, too: Witherspoon, herself.

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