The Real Story Behind the Legendary Final Graduation Scene in Legally Blonde

Updated 03/31/18
Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde
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If there's one movie we could watch over and over again and still be entertained, it's Legally Blonde. Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods, a woman proving her intelligence and wit while remaining true to her personal style, is a beautiful and timeless story. And who could forget the touching graduation speech in the final scene? While Elle's final "We did it!" moment is unforgettable, the movie wasn't supposed to end that way, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Co-writer Karen McCullah explains to EW that the iconic film was actually supposed to end with a kiss between Elle and Emmett (played by Luke Wilson) on the courthouse steps after Elle wins the big trial. This was to be followed by a scene featuring Elle and Vivian (Selma Blair) handing out pamphlets for a Blonde Legal Defense Fund. Oh, and Vivian would be shown as a blonde herself—can you imagine?

After a test-screening audience didn't love this ending, McCullah and the other writers made some last-minute changes. "The test-screening audience didn't feel like it was an exciting enough ending for her, success-wise. The kiss made it seem like it was a rom-com," says McCullah. The writers worked with director Robert Luketic and producer Marc Platt to quickly come up with the graduation speech that ended up concluding the film.

If you ever noticed that Elle and Emmett's hair look slightly different in this scene than in the rest of the movie, it's because of this switch-up. Witherspoon had already gone off to England to shoot The Importance of Being Earnest and cut her hair off, while Wilson had shaved his head for his role in The Royal Tenenbaums. Both actors ended up filming the scene in wigs. Witherspoon filmed her part in London and the rest of the reaction shots were filmed in a soundstage in Burbank, California. "If you look really closely, you'll notice the lighting's a little bit different.

But the new ending was way more satisfying," says McCullah.

If you haven't indulged in a little early-2000s nostalgia lately, put on this classic feel-good movie and see if you can notice the subtle clues that the final scene was shot much later (and in a different country) than the rest of the film.

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