Christina Applegate on turning down Legally Blonde: Reese did a much better job

Dead To Me on Netflix is such a good, highly bingeable show. I binged it in about three (ok two) days after reading Kristy at Pajiba’s spoiler-free review. She wrote that “It’s as easy to burn through season one in a single sitting as it is to knock back a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one go” and that you become invested in the lead characters, played by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. That’s definitely the case, and both women give incredible performances. Christina especially is so convincing as an angry, alcoholic 40-something real estate agent coping with her husband’s loss. Linda plays her hippy codependant friend with a secret.

I got to know Christina as dim blonde Kelly on Married With Children, which aired from 1987-1997. Apparently she was sent the script for Legally Blonde, but she passed before auditioning because she didn’t want to be typecast. She told Andy Cohen on WWHL that she has no regrets, that Reese did a great job and that Reese is also much more successful than she is. Linda Cardellini was there too and reminded Christina that she had been in Legally Blonde! You can see that clip here and I’ve transcribed part of it below.

Is it true that you turned down Elle Woods in Legally Blonde?
Christina: I wasn’t actually offered it the script came to me. I felt like I had just done Married With Children and I felt like it was too close to what I had been doing. I [wanted] to remove myself from that.

I don’t regret it because Reese Witherspoon did a much better job than I ever could and she has way more money than I do and way more success. Why would I even regret that?

Linda: You could have worked with me!

[From WWHL Video]

After that Andy reminded her that she reinvented herself as an actor post-Married. That was weird what she said about Reese, because by my yardstick Christina Applegate is wildly successful. I guess it’s all relative, especially in that society where people are wealthy beyond the rest of the planet’s dreams. Sometimes I look at other people’s success and get a tinge of something, but I try to remember that I work from home, don’t have a boss and get to write about celebrities for a living. I forgot that Linda Cardellini was in Legally Blonde! Spoilers for an 18 year-old movie, she played the young woman whom Elle cross examined and caught in a lie for claiming she’d showered right after getting a perm. Here’s the link to that clip.

I so recommend Dead to Me on Netflix. It’s only three hours of programming and I want a second season already.

You can tell that Christina and Linda became good friends making this show.



photos credit: Netflix Press and

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29 Responses to “Christina Applegate on turning down Legally Blonde: Reese did a much better job”

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  1. Lucy says:

    The LB scene in which Elle realizes Linda’s character is guilty is amazing.

  2. My3cents says:

    I also binged. Initially I wasn’t expecting much but I was really surprised by the layers of the story and the superb performances of these ladies. Kudos, definitely ready for season 2!

  3. Gaby says:

    I don’t think her answer was weird. I think she was being sarcastic with the “more money and success” comment. Like, she might have a little bit of regret because that movie catapulted, even more, Reese’s career and it’s not like she is pining over it because she also has a great career, but is not an Oscar-winning, millions of dollars-a-movie kind of success,

    • Celebitchy says:

      I hear you on that but sometimes even when people say it sarcastically there’s a grain of truth to it or else it wouldn’t occur to them.

    • lucy2 says:

      I find it a little odd reading it, can’t watch the video right now, but who knows.

      Christina is very successful, but I agree Reese is a different level – Oscar winner, and now a powerhouse producer too.

  4. Eva says:

    Christina is so great in this show. I was surprised by her acting chops.

    Also happy to see Linda back on screen, I was a huge fan of Freaks&Geeks.

    Shows like this make me so happy, great female characters in their 40s and the plot is not about them chasing men.

    The world is changing!

  5. Lala11_7 says:

    I’ve never watched an episode of “Married with Children”…but Christina stole my heart with “Don’t tell Mom The Babysitter Is Dead”….and her biting wit is irresistible to me!

    Here’s the thing…

    The INTIMACY and CHEMISTRY that Christina ALWAYS establishes with her female co-workers…is AMAZING…she did it with Joanna Cassidy in “Don’t tell Mom”…She did with Cameron Diaz in “The Sweetest Thing”…HONESTLY I want to see a sequel of that movie JUST BECAUSE OF THEM TWO…and she’s done the same thing with Linda with “Dead To Me”…THAT is her secret weapon!!!

    • Biting Panda says:

      So spot on. She seems like a woman you very much want to know in real life, based off her amazing vibes with other women. Love her.

    • Cay says:

      I always wondered about how she got along with the other women in the Bad Moms movie. It seemed like the 3 stars spent a lot of time promoting that movie, but they rarely mentioned Applegate. When CA was asked about Bad Moms 3 on WWHL, she said she wouldn’t be in it. Anyone have any gossip about any of this?

      (I didn’t see Bad Moms 2 because I thought Bad Moms original was so awful. Was she in it much or did they cut her way out?)

      • holly hobby says:

        She had a cameo on 2. That was too bad. 2 wasn’t bad but it could have been better.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Did you see her in Samantha Who? That’s a mostly female cast as I recall, and a fun show. Christina was great in it.

  6. Evil Owl says:

    Jen Harding is an alcoholic? I binge watched the show over the weekend and didn’t notice that detail about her character. She did seem like she was self medicating with white wine after a long day of single parenting, holding down a stressful job, grieving for recently deceased husband and trying to bring him justice; but alcoholic seems like a stretch? What did I miss?

    • Veronica S. says:

      She sounds like a very clever and thoughtful example of what “functional alcoholism” looks like, honestly. It’s quite common for women to be “private alcoholics,” not necessarily a total mess but still relying on it as a medical numbing agent. My mother came from a family of several alcoholics, and her relationship with alcohol has always been complicated for that reason. She admitted to me once that she always has to be on guard with how much she drinks because she’s caught herself at plenty of points in her life where she’s coming home every day to a glass of wine because she’s stressed. It’s a very careful line between an indulgence and a dependency, and for those who grew up watching parents use it as a coping mechanism, it can be easy to fall into the same trap.

      • Celebitchy says:

        I really think she’s an alcoholic and that it’s shown clearly in that show. She drinks constantly to excess.

      • Veronica S. says:

        I suspect I’ll agree when I watch it given my experience with a family of addicts (I’m literally the only one who hasn’t struggled with substance abuse at some point in their life in my immediate family). Part of the problem is that Hollywood tends to be very loose with the portrayal of how people drink, while relegating “alcoholism” to those who are completely non-functional. And that’s a problem because it creates a conceptualization of dependency as an absolute extreme, rather than a series of steps and struggles that ultimately get to that point. For women, I think the problem is more significant because our chemical dependencies tend to get less serious attention to terms of how they relate to home/family situations versus social settings.

    • Snowslow says:

      I think it’s become a trope for films and it annoys me to hell and back. Women are always portrayed with a glass of red or white at the end of the day. In. Every. Single. Film.
      I don’t think she’s an alcoholic – she has a few scenes where she is drunk but the rest of the drinking is a character building filmic tool constantly used like the women all having the same hair (twisting backward. I don’t know what it’s called).

  7. EviesMom says:

    I agree with Evil Owl…. I didn’t see an alcoholic portrayed in Dead to Me. Jen is grieving in a really raw way. But she’s not an alcoholic. Her drinking isn’t impacting her parenting, her relationships or her career. She is however a bit of a rage monster which is affecting all the above. I really enjoyed Dead to Me!

  8. Veronica S. says:

    That is a remarkably kind thing to say about Reese in a movie I find horrifically overrated as a feminist piece lol.

    I was thinking about watching this, so after I finish trash-binging that new season of Lucifer (my taste in television is terrible, as you can tell), it may be up next. I’m very fond of Christina Applegate and was always impressed by how well she managed a steady career after MWC. She’s arguably the most successful person from that cast, even including Ed O’Neill’s fairly strong TV streak after.

  9. Jess says:

    I miss Samantha Who so much! Finally started watching Fosse/Verdon, which is incredible (thanks to Michelle Williams), and once I’m done w that I’ll watch this.

  10. BANANIE says:

    Oh my god I didn’t realize that was Linda in Legally Blonde! She looked so so so different with permed hair.

    I liked Christina’s comment about fame because she seems honest and realistic and not jealous, which could be tough for a lot of people.

    Also, is it wrong one of my favorite roles she’s been in was her turn in “The Sweetest Thing”? That movie was ten kinds of absurd but I still love it to this day. Even if I could do without that song and the glory hole.

  11. Dina says:

    Binged in a day. Such a great show

  12. Harryg says:

    This was a fun show! The only minus is it doesn’t really look like Laguna.
    Applegate is closer to Aniston than Witherspoon, in my opinion, it wouldn’t occur to me offer Applegate and Witherspoon the same roles.

  13. Hope says:

    I’m a huge Applegate fan and will watch basically anything she’s in. She seems super normal & down to earth considering her level of celebrity. Other than her movies, I liked Samantha Who and LOVED Up All Night, I was sad to see it go. I’ve seen a few eps of DtM and I’ve got to hand it to them – they’re great on the cliffhangers. Fingers crossed for S2!

  14. Kelly says:

    I love Christina in basically anything she is in!! I also love Reese and that role in Legally Blonde was made for her. Dead to Me was fantastic and love to see Christina do well, totally watch it if you can!

  15. Betsy says:

    Dead to Me was so great – I managed to space it out over a few days, but it’s just so watchable. No one’s completely nuts. It seems like a series of things that could happen to anyone (sorry I’m really trying not to spoil anything and my writing is getting clunky). Applegate and Cardellini are so watchable and James Marsden is not like I’ve ever seen him.