‘Legally Blonde’ Director Criticized Reese Witherspoon For Taking Moviemaking Too Seriously

Reese Witherspoon was an image of perky happiness in 2001’s Legally Blonde. It was a breakthrough role that shattered stereotypes about women and began discussions about sexual harassment and other gender issues. But director Robert Luketic once complained about the actor’s demeanor. Here’s what he said about working with Reese Witherspoon on the comedy. 

‘Legally Blonde’ was based on a book 

Reese Witherspoon in a bright pink dress in a scene from 'Legally Blonde'
Reese Witherspoon | Tracy Bennett/MGM Pictures

Reese Witherspoon’s breakthrough role took the actor to a new level. She appeared in Alexander Payne’s dark comedy Election in 1999. Likewise, she appeared in Cruel Intentions in 1999. But it is in the role of aspiring law student and fashionista Elle Woods, Witherspoon proves herself as an A-list star with box office draw.  

Legally Blonde, the film drew from Amanda Brown’s novel of the same name. Brown wrote about her own experiences going to Stanford University and reading Elle magazine for fashion tips. Brown felt she didn’t fit in at Stanford with her love of beauty and fashion and felt the story was worth telling in a book. 

It was also worth telling in a film. Witherspoon starred in the lead. Moreover, Luke Wilson, Jennifer Coolidge, and Selma Blair appeared in supporting roles. 

The movie was a runaway success because it touched a nerve with women. However, director Robert Luketic complained about working with Reese Witherspoon, whom he claimed was difficult on set. 

The director said Reese Witherspoon was ‘impenetrable’ 

In a 2005 Today story, Robert Luketic said Reese Witherspoon was humorless, in contrast to her bubbly character’s personality. 

At the time, Luketic was looking at directing a big-screen version of Dallas. When asked if he’d like to work with Witherspoon again, Luketic didn’t hold back. “Er, no. Moviemaking is supposed to be fun,” he reportedly told the London Express. 

Luketic continued, comparing the actor to Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda, with whom he worked on the 2005 romantic comedy Monster-in-Law. “I did not bond with her like I bonded with J.Lo and J-Fo,” Luketic reportedly told the London Express. “There is something impenetrable about that woman.”

The director backed up his comments with a story about how she reacted to the crew during filming. 

“She would come out of her trailer and ask: ‘Why are you all laughing?’” Luketic said. “She would want to know why we all had smiles on our faces. Moviemaking to her is a deadly serious business.”

Reese Witherspoon is a wildly successful actor and businesswoman 

Moviemaking is a deadly serious business, and Witherspoon’s massive success since her experience with Luketic is a testament to that fact. 

No official report on Robert Luketic’s net worth exists. But Reese Witherspoon currently holds a net worth of $400 million, according to Forbes

Naysayer Luketic wasn’t the only person to discourage Witherspoon’s drive. “I’ll never forget, I had a financial advisor tell me, ‘You need to start saving,’ I was like 37, and he said, ‘You need to start saving right now, because you’re going to be making drastically less money in your 40s,” Witherspoon told the Los Angeles Times in a June 2020 article. “Basically, you’re not going to have much of a career.’”

Witherspoon promptly fired the adviser and is now worth hundreds of millions. Her company Hello Sunshine creates shows that showcase women-led stories. Additionally, shows like Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere have kept her in the spotlight. 

To sum up, not everyone can take movie making quite so seriously. But despite Luketic’s criticism, it certainly has paid off for Reese Witherspoon. 

RELATED: Reese Witherspoon Once ‘Burst Into Tears’ After Being ‘Lampooned’ by a Cruel Magazine Caricature

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. 

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