Reese Witherspoon Actually Helped Write Cruel Intentions

Reese as Annette

Teen movies are a very unique genre, and can vary greatly in quality from movie to movie. While some are over the top comedies and rom-coms, others take on decidedly more adult content. Just take 1999's Cruel Intentions, which saw its young cast manipulating and seducing each other. That movie became an instant classic, with dialogue still quotable today, fantastic cast, and a killer soundtrack to boot.

The Cruel Intentions cast and crew are currently celebrating the whopping 20th anniversary of the beloved cult classic. As such, some new information is coming out about the teen drama, and the behind-the-scenes scoops that moviegoers haven't been privy to. Just take the role of Annette Hargrove, played masterfully by Reese Witherspoon. As it turns out, she helped to craft the character, and even re-write the dialogue. As director/writer Roger Kumble recently revealed:

It’s true, she came and sat with me for a week, and we worked on the dialogue together. Annette was the character most removed from me. There’s no way the movie would have its success if it weren’t for [Reese’s] talent as a writer.

Well, this is impressive. Reese Witherspoon may have only been 22 years old at the time of filming, but that didn't stop the young actress from contributing greatly to the Cruel Intentions. This includes adjusting Annette's dialogue to ensure both the audience and Witherspoon herself identified with the character.

Roger Kumble's comment to EW show what a talent Reese Witherspoon has always been, and seems to tease her eventual role as a producer. The Oscar winner knows storytelling, and her point of view has been brought to the forefront with the various project she's produced-- in addition to her work on camera. She was a producer on movies like Gone Girl and Hot Pursuit, although her influence is perhaps best seen through the highly successful HBO series Big Little Lies.

Playing the movie's ingenue isn't always easy. It's easy for an innocent and virtuous character to fade into the background, or be overshadowed by the bigger characters. Reese Witherspoon combatted this by working on the script, and giving Annette Hargrove her own agency in Cruel Intentions. Annette is sharp, funny, and empathetic. And she wasn't going to take any of Sebastian's typical crap.

Ultimately Annette changes arguably as much as Sebastian throughout the course of the movie. Her naivety is destroyed by Sebastian's sudden death, and she honors her late lover's memory by exposing Sarah Michelle Gellar's Kathryn for who she really was. Cue "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve. Also cue my tears as a teenager watching Cruel Intentions for the first time.

Cruel Intentions is celebrating its 20th anniversary. You can join the festivities yourself, and stream Cruel Intentions when it arrives on Netflix April 1st. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. 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.