Entertainment

Jennifer Coolidge had the last laugh after being asked to re-audition for a Legally Blonde musical

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Christobel Hastings
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Jennifer Coolidge

Beloved actor Jennifer Coolidge is riding high after her Emmy-nominated performance in The White Lotus – but she was once hugely insulted after being asked to audition for a musical based upon Legally Blonde

Jennifer Coolidge is definitely the actor of the moment right now. After scooping an Emmy nomination for her lauded role as childlike heiress Tanya McQuoid in HBO’s black comedy The White Lotus, the beloved actor, who shot to fame with scene-stealing performances in American Pie and Legally Blonde, is finally getting the recognition she deserves.

It wasn’t an easy road to success. Having recently spoken about nearly turning down her critically acclaimed role in The White Lotus because she was self-conscious about her appearance, and enduring years of being typecast as a one-note comedy actor, the star has spoken out one jaw-dropping indignity she suffered in her long-running career.

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In a new Variety profile to promote the upcoming season of The White Lotus, Coolidge recalled how her agent came to her with a proposition in 2011. A theatre in London was putting on a production of Legally Blonde, based on the 2001 movie in which Coolidge plays ditzy manicurist Paulette, and they wanted her to audition for the very same role.

That’s right: Coolidge, who had already garnered a dedicated fanbase and was firmly in the pop culture canon for her now-iconic “bend-and-snap” move which she uses as an act of seduction in the movie, was being asked to essentially reapply for the role.

The White Lotus
Jennifer Coolidge in HBO's black comedy The White Lotus

Naturally, Coolidge was perplexed by the request.

“I said to my agent, what do you mean, audition?” she recalled. “It’s not a straight offer?”

Coolidge’s agent then repeated the request, clarifying that the theatre wanted her to fly to London to audition for a part she had already played. 

“My agent said, ‘I think they just want to see if you can sing and dance,’” she explained. 

Coolidge remained unimpressed by the audacious request and promptly shut it down.

“Look, if I got up onstage and farted, and that’s all I did, it would still be the lady from the movie!”

Jennifer Coolidge
Jennifer Coolidge recently received an Emmy nomination for her performance in The White Lotus

Coolidge, who is the only series regular to be returning in the Sicily-set second season of The White Lotus, went on to explain how the agent that entertained the proposition no longer represents her. Nevertheless, the insulting episode left a lasting impression.

“I’m still angry about this,” she continued. “That’s why I brought it up!”

Despite being continually overlooked by Hollywood and struggling to find employment for the best part of a decade, the years of hardship emboldened Coolidge to take more risks.

“Ten years of my life of auditioning,” she says, “none of it added up to a job. The fear is gone when you’re so used to losing. There’s some freedom in that.”

Happily, Coolidge’s years of obscurity are now fully behind her. Not only did she sail into the second season of The White Lotus without having to audition, but she’s proven that she’s always had the range to rival the major players in Hollywood. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

Images: Getty; HBO