How Legally Blonde's Bend And Snap Was Created

Paulette and Elle checking out the UPS guy

While Reese Witherspoon has had a long and impressive career, there is perhaps no role quite as iconic for her as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. The comedy became an instant classic when it hit theaters in 2001, and is still very much part of the pop culture lexicon today. One of the most quoted scenes from Legally Blonde is the Bend and Snap sequence, where Elle teaches her friend Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge) and everyone at the salon the one physical move guaranteed to get you a first date. It turns out that the Bend andSsnap wasn't always in the script, as writers Karen McCullah and Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith recently revealed in an interview. In fact, the move itself came from a drunken night at a bar, and Smith came up with the move on the spot.

Karen McCullah: What if Elle shows [Paulette] a move so she can get the UPS guy?Kirsten Smith: It was a spontaneous invention. It was a completely drunken moment in a bar.

As Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith told EW, it turns out that the Bend and Snap was the result of cocktails, and the need for Legally Blonde to properly feature Jennifer Coolidge. Considering how one of the most iconic sequences in the movie happened organically, it's no wonder the duo were able to craft something special with Elle Woods' journey in Harvard.

Paulette's path to independence and friendship with Elle was one of the main through lines of Legally Blonde, and Jennifer Coolidge's performance is equal parts heart warming and ludicrous. Elle helps her get her dog back from ex-husband Dewey, and also coaches her to eventually connect with the hot UPS guy. Her failed attempt at the bend and snap still lands her the date, and another chance to steal the show.

Legally Blonde's original script featured quite a different scene for Paulette. Instead of having a violent meet cute with the UPS guy, the salon that she worked at was being robbed. Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith also spoke to the writing process, saying:

Karen McCullah: [Producer] Marc [Platt] wanted a B plot for Paulette. At first we were like, 'Should the store be robbed?Kirsten Smith: I think we spent a week or two trying to figure out what the B plot and this big set piece should be. There were crime plots. We were pitching scene after scene and it all felt very tonally weird.

Ultimately the duo of writers landed on the right decision, and the Bend and Snap was born. The scene is so iconic that it was even given its own musical number in the musical adaptation of Legally Blonde. And every cinephile knows that the bend and snap works every time. Just look how it all turned out for Paulette.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.