It’s regally ‘Blonde’ for Witherspoon

Thesp nabs biggest paycheck yet for sequel

Reese Witherspoon will receive $15 million from MGM to reprise her role as a bubbly blonde sorority girl turned legal eagle in “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.”

MGM has spent the past several months racing to put the comedy on the fast track for a July 2003 bow. With Witherspoon on board — pocketing her biggest paycheck to date — the Lion is hoping to begin lensing the laffer in November. The project is now out to directors.

First pic’s helmer Robert Luketic has already passed on the sequel. Having helmed “Legally Blonde” in his first directing gig, Luketic is now currently busy tackling two projects at DreamWorks — the romantic comedy “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton” and an adaptation of Donald Hamilton’s novels featuring debonair spy Matt Helm.

“Legally Blonde,” a comedy about a seemingly dimwitted Beverly Hills-bred girl named Elle Woods who enrolls in Harvard law school to win back her boyfriend, became a surprise sleeper hit in summer 2001, generating $96.5 million at the domestic B.O. and a major player on homevid.

Upon its success, MGM immediately began planning a sequel around the pink-obsessed character, who in the next installment finds herself running for political office.

Witherspoon will produce “Legally Blonde 2” through her Intermedia-based production shingle Type A Films. Marc Platt will also return to produce, with Elizabeth Ingold overseeing the production for MGM.

MGM, Platt and Touchstone are currently trying to adapt the film’s character and exploits into a half hour midseason comedy for ABC.

Witherspoon, repped by the William Morris Agency, most recently wrapped the romantic comedy “Sweet Home Alabama,” which hits theaters Sept. 27. “Legally Blonde 2” will be her next project. She is also is attached to Jersey Films and Universal’s action comedy “OGB,” as well as an untitled tennis movie at Intermedia, which she is developing through Type A.

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