Mindy Kaling has provided some updates on Legally Blonde 3 (which she is co-writing) in recent interviews:
Kaling, who is co-writing the film’s script with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” co-creator Dan Goor, told Entertainment Tonight, “I love this project. I am so excited about it.”
“It is going, you know, a little more slowly than we like, but [it’s] just because we really want it to be good,” she added.
MORE: Mindy Kaling will co-write ‘Legally Blonde 3,’ and Elle Woods approves
The former “Office” star said of Reese Witherspoon’s film series, “I think of it like Reese’s ‘Avengers.’ Elle Woods is like her Captain America, and so you don’t want to be the person that messes up that story. So for me, we are just taking our time because we want it to be really good.”
“We don’t want to be responsible for ruining what’s basically Reese’s Avengers franchise,” Kaling says, speaking to TIME for The 100 Most Influential Companies of 2022. Witherspoon committed to a third entry in the franchise in 2018 and personally asked Kaling to write the screenplay. And while Kaling says the script is not yet complete, she did tease some of the questions she and Goor are exploring. “What is Elle Woods like at 42?” she asks. “Does she end up becoming all the things she wanted? How does that personality manifest in a grown woman? Has she become more cynical? Her brightness and her cheerfulness really worked when she was 22, but how has life changed her perspective on things?”
Updating an iconic 2000s-era character for the 2020s is no easy task. Recent attempts to revive old favorite franchises, like the Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That, have divided audiences and critics.
Kaling says she had to bow out of her And Just Like That binge after two episodes—in part because its challenges felt too close to her struggle with the Legally Blonde project. “I found it was too uncomfortable to watch,” she says. “I felt like I could commiserate with the producers and the writers of the show, trying to address all these issues from the past, and be funny and fabulous, but also sort of apologize for itself.”
The show has offered her some perspective on the potential pitfalls of updating Elle Woods. “The hardest thing about this project is trying to figure that out in an authentic way,” she says. “Honestly, watching And Just Like That, and how they took a character from 18 years ago, and how the character was now—we want to make sure that Elle Woods is not paying penance for existing in the year 2022.”
Kaling promises that while Legally Blonde 3 will acknowledge that the world has changed since the original film premiered in 2001, the new movie will still be a love letter to Elle Woods. “We’re not afraid of the character in this world, and we don’t feel we have to apologize for her. As a fan, I didn’t want to watch her be canceled or become a Karen. So the character is just fun,” she says. “That’s what’s been interesting and challenging—and why it’s taking us such a long time to write.”