Reese Witherspoon's "Sweet Home Alabama" may be hitting theaters next week, but it's a movie she hasn't even started shooting yet that seems to have everyone talking.
"Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde," featuring Witherspoon as star and co-producer, will be "based on the model of 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,' " she recently revealed.
Last year's surprise hit "Legally Blonde" ended with Witherspoon's ditzy-blonde-with-secret-smarts graduating from Harvard and getting ready to marry a fellow law graduate played by Luke Wilson, who also will be returning.
In the sequel, Witherspoon said, "She's a corporate lawyer who becomes very upset about something that is happening in her town and decides she's going to go to Washington to try to get this law passed.
"I don't want to give away too much of it," she said, smiling. "It is very funny."
Much of the humor in "Legally Blonde" centered around Elle — a perky, fashionable, well-manicured L.A. gal — and her difficulty fitting in at the stuffy Ivy League school. "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" looks to follow suit, albeit on a much grander scale.
"It's educational for younger people that don't know a lot about the government, but it's also very much fish out of water in the same scenario that she was also out of her element at Harvard," Reese explained. "She's really out of her element in Washington, D.C., with a lot of very conservative people who just don't even give her the time of day. It's fun to see. It's a really good script. I'm really excited about it because it's great to see a woman in that scenario. ... She's planning her wedding at the same time. She's very busy."
Witherspoon won't have to dig too deeply to play a busy girl on the go. In addition to her duties as a wife and mother, she's heading up her own production company, which has several projects on its plate.
"We're doing a lot of other films," she said, though she pointed out that the rights to the Melissa Bank novel "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing," at one time attached to her company, had now been picked up by someone else. "Like one based on women's professional tennis. The first film we're producing is 'Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde.' "
Being married to Ryan Phillippe, who's also an actor/producer, gives the young star an opportunity to bounce ideas off of someone with a critical but understanding ear, she said. "He has really good advice about the business, and we listen to each other's ideas because we've both been in the business for a long time."
And despite each actor's busy schedule (Phillippe's indie flick "Igby Goes Down" opened recently), the two make plenty of time for each other and their daughter.
"It's not so bad because [we] only work a few months a year," she said. "It's not like either one of us works constantly back-to-back. We sort of plan to have a lot of time off. We make decisions like that so that neither one of us is working at the same time."
Production on "Legally Blonde 2" is scheduled to start in November for a summer 2003 release.
For a feature interview with Reese Witherspoon, check out "Reese Witherspoon: America's Sweetheart."