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Reese Witherspoon has had a successful acting career overall, but one of her most iconic roles is Elle Woods in 'Legally Blonde.' Despite how much female power is packed into that movie, the casting process wasn't necessarily discrimination-free. Casting told Reese Witherspoon that she needed to be sexier in order to get the part.
Even though the crux of Elle Woods's character and the way she evolves throughout the film is centered around her beauty, the method of casting seems cringeworthy.
She explained to THR on December 10th that she almost didn't get the role because of her character Tracy Flick in 'Election' despite playing several different characters before and since then.
“They thought I was a shrew," she said about the execs. "My manager finally called and said, ‘You’ve got to go meet with the studio head because he will not approve you. He thinks you really are your character from Election and that you’re repellent.’ And then I was told to dress sexy."
Witherspoon really had to fight for her spot in 'Legally Blonde.' She even showed up to one audition in character. At another audition, she was asked about her experience in college despite having dropped out early on.
"I remember a room full of men who were asking me questions about being a coed and being in a sorority," she said. "Even though I had dropped out of college four years earlier and I have never been inside a sorority house."
Witherspoon had her own comments about the audition process that she had to endure for 'Legally Blonde.'
"It’s funny to think of all the things we were told to do back then," she continued. "Now you’re thinking, ‘Oh God, if somebody told my daughter to do that, she’d be like, I really hope you’re joking.'"
Since the #MeToo movement, people with positions of power have been held accountable for using sexuality as a means of casting and getting what they want from performers.
Luckily, 'Legally Blonde' itself turned out to be a feminist hit preaching the message that women can be feminine and powerful at the same time. 'Legally Blonde's sequal 'Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde' came out in 2003 just two years later.
According to Bustle, 'Legally Blonde 3' is currently in the works. “I mean it's sort of about women being underestimated," she hinted of the upcoming movie on 'The Ellen Show.' "Things have changed, but not that much has changed.”