Josh Lucas regrets not embracing his rom-com leading-man status after “Sweet Home Alabama.”

The actor told Vanity Fair that following the success of the 2002 film starring Reese Witherspoon, he opted to star in indies instead of more romantic comedies. Lucas didn’t want to be known for his looks or the rom-com genre itself, despite the success he found in it.

“I was thoroughly dismissed for it, frankly,” Lucas said. “It was like, ‘Oh, you’re an L.A. TV guy. You’re a pretty boy L.A. TV guy.’ I couldn’t break through that door. And then it’s frankly always been a bit of a, ‘Oh, you’re a “Sweet Home Alabama” guy.’ I consciously — and probably did very difficult damage to my career — was trying so hard to fight against that.”

Lucas continued, “I did a thousand independent movies that nobody saw. I tried to be Sean Penn in all of them.”

Now, Lucas stars in the Apple TV+ “Palm Royale” series, which he credits for letting him flex a different muscle onscreen.

“It’s funny to now go to [‘Palm Royale’] and have people be like, ‘Oh, you’re funny!’ I can’t tell you how much I yearned for years to go back and do that,” Lucas said. “It’s actually the place I think is the most interesting and rewarding and difficult from an acting standpoint. And to be with all of these women, some of whom are true comedy legends. I know people get angry with the sports metaphor, but I truly always saw acting as tennis, and I felt like when someone’s hitting the ball well at you, it is so much fun to play. When they’re hitting the ball badly at you, it’s pretty easy to look like you don’t know what you’re doing with them. In this case, this experience with these women hitting so hard at you — it’s so, so much fun.”

“Sweet Home Alabama” starred Witherspoon as Melanie, a career woman engaged to the perfect man (Patrick Dempsey) — but she has second thoughts after running into her ex (Lucas) while planning her hometown wedding.

Lucas said in 2022 that he is pushing for a possible sequel — as long as Witherspoon is onboard.

“I keep hearing that others from the movie would absolutely love to do it,” Lucas told Insider. “I would love to do a ‘Sweet Home Alabama 2.’”

Co-writer Andy Tennant has ideas.

“Andy told me there would be an honesty to it, that Jake would have mid-life issues and that there are differences where Jake and Melanie landed,” Lucas said. “Hell, maybe Jake now lives in a trailer park while Melanie had built this perfect life.”

Tennant’s sequel idea is set around the next generation, with Witherspoon and Lucas’ on-screen daughter as the lead.

“Josh [Lucas] and I continue to lobby Reese, but she’s busy,” Tennant said. “Even Reese’s lawyer loved the treatment. But that’s as close as I got.”

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