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Paul Bettany Was First Considered For Luke Wilson's Role In Legally Blonde


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Paul Bettany was considered for Legally Blonde before Luke Wilson was cast. Wilson played Emmett Richmond in the 2001 movie, the love interest of atypical Harvard Law student Elle Woods, played by Reese Witherspoon. Bettany has recently starred in Solo: A Star Wars Story and as The Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Wilson reprised his role as Emmett for the film's sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde and has said that he would like to play the character again for the upcoming Legally Blonde 3. That movie has been co-written by Brooklyn Nine-Nine creator Dan Goor and comedy actress Mindy Kaling and will look at how Elle has changed over the last 20 years. Meanwhile, Wilson is perhaps best known for having worked with indie director Wes Anderson for films such as Bottle Rocket and The Royal Tenenbaums alongside his brother, Owen Wilson.

Talking to The New York Times, the casting director of Legally Blonde, Joseph Middleton, revealed that Wilson wasn't the filmmakers' first choice. He says that he loved the British actor Paul Bettany and thought he would make a great partner for Elle, but ultimately they decided they needed an American star. On the final decision, screenwriter Karen McCullah says they referred to Emmett as "the Luke Wilson character" during writing so Middleton eventually suggested "we should get Luke to play the Luke Wilson character."

Given Bettany's star turns in Star Wars and the MCU, it seems strange that he wasn't cast due to his British nationality. Not getting the part didn't exactly stymie Bettany's career either, and he has gone on to play more prominent roles than Wilson has since appearing in the first Legally Blonde movie. As with Elle, it will certainly be interesting to see how Emmett has changed since he last appeared in the series, and how the couple's relationship has developed over the last twenty years.

Since Legally Blonde 2 ended with Emmett and Elle getting married and, upon being asked where she wanted to live, she looked towards The White House which could be where the third movie picks up. It's currently due for a 2022 release, although the pandemic will have affected the movie's production schedule. While Wilson isn't confirmed to be returning, something will have had to have happened to Emmett since we last saw him in the Legally Blonde series - although it seems unlikely he will have transformed into Paul Bettany.

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