Paul Bettany Was Originally Considered for Luke Wilson's Role in Legally Blonde

·2 min read
Paul Bettany, Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson
Paul Bettany, Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson

Michael Loccisano/Getty; Tracy Bennett/Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock; Amy Sussman/Getty Paul Bettany; Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde; Luke Wilson

Before there was Luke Wilson, there was almost Paul Bettany.

In an oral history of Legally Blonde published by The New York Times for the film's 20th anniversary, casting director Joseph Middleton said the role of Elle Wood's love interest, Emmett Richmond, almost went to Avengers: Infinity War star Bettany.

"I loved Paul Bettany for the Luke role, but he was British, and they felt like it needed to be a real American," Middleton said of why the role didn't go to Bettany.

Karen McCullah, who co-wrote the screenplay alongside Kirsten Smith, told the Times that throughout the writing process they "always called [Emmett] 'the Luke Wilson character.'"

"They saw some other actors, and finally Joseph was like, 'Maybe we should get Luke to play the Luke Wilson character,'" she recalled. "I was like, 'You think?'"

Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde

Tracy Bennett/Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock Luke Wilson in Legally Blonde

RELATED: Luke Wilson Says He'd Come Back for Legally Blonde 3: 'We'll Just Have to See What Happens'

Wilson, 49, went on to play Emmett in the film's 2003 sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, where his character is engaged to Witherspoon's Elle.

In June, Wilson told PEOPLE he would be open to potentially reprising his role in the upcoming Legally Blonde 3.

"I'm always up to work with Reese again," Wilson said. "We'll just have to see what happens."

The actor added he didn't shy away from revisiting Legally Blonde when the opportunity presented itself.

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"I'll watch it when I see it on cable, and it's on cable a lot," Wilson said. "But just because Reese is always so funny in the movie to me. So I always watch a few things just because I like her portrayal of Elle Woods so much."

Witherspoon is set to reprise her role of attorney Elle Woods in the upcoming Legally Blonde 3 which was co-written by Mindy Kaling.

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In January, Kaling told Access, "I love Elle Woods as a character and when Reese asked me to write it I was like, 'Absolutely!'"

"I can't wait to see what people will think of the way we wrote Elle Woods," she continued. "We wrote Elle Woods at 40, so how Elle is at 40 versus how she was at 21 has been really fun to imagine."