Pretty Woman is one of the best films of the ’90s. Garry Marshall’s blockbuster rom-com has become iconic in American pop culture and helped launch Julia Roberts’ career. A lot of people have the lines and scenes memorized by heart, but what many don’t know is that it was originally a film called 3000, or how much it cost to hire Vivian, or how it was not romantic or funny at all. There are still a lot more facts that people don’t know about Pretty Woman – perhaps the most shocking of them all is what Richard Gere really thinks of the movie!
Pretty Woman Was Not Meant To Be Lighthearted
Pretty Woman lives on in the hearts and minds of America as an endearing tale about a woman of the night with a heart of gold. But before it was Pretty Woman, it was actually a much darker tale titled 3000.
Screenwriter J.F. Lawton’s original script was about two damaged souls who spend a week together. Vivian was originally written to have a drug addition and instead of the balcony reunion scene, the original script ended in tears.
Once you find out how the film was originally supposed to end, you’ll be glad the producers changed their mind!
Did You Spot This Photoshop Job?
If you’ve seen the promotional poster for Pretty Woman, you’ll notice that Roberts wears a very similar outfit in the movie. In the movie, Roberts’s outfit is blue and white, instead of pink and black like it is on the poster.
You might wonder why they just didn’t use the same outfit, but in fact, they didn’t even use the same body! Body double Shelley Michelle is the person who posed for the poster and Julia Roberts’s head was later superimposed onto Michelle’s body. Apparently, they did this since it’s harder to round up all the actors again for post-production stuff.
The Unhappy Ending At The Happiest Place On Earth
The movie wasn’t meant to have a happy ending – despite the fact that it was going to end at Disneyland. “At the end of the original script, Richard [Gere]’s character threw my character out of the car, threw the money on top of her and drove away and the credits rolled,” Julia Roberts told NBC.
After Edward abandons Vivian in the street, the final scene is of her and her friend Kit on a bus to Disneyland. There was no love at the end of the original script, only Vivian staring into the distance "with utterly blank and empty eyes."
Whether they went with the grittier Vivian or not, we can’t imagine anyone else but Julia Roberts for the role. Still, you won’t believe who they wanted to cast instead!
They Attended The OperaLa Traviata For A Reason
Edward takes Vivian to an opera that was so enthralling she nearly peed her pants! That opera was La Traviata and it actually hits closer to home than you might think. La Traviata is considered the original Pretty Woman because it also is about a prostitute who falls in love with a wealthy man.
It’s so fitting that they attended this opera and that’s probably what the writers intended anyway. Unfortunately in La Traviata, you don’t get the same happy ending as Pretty Woman. Spoiler alert! The main character Violetta contracts tuberculosis and after her final song, she dies in her lover’s arms.
Julia Roberts Would Have Played A Darker Version Of Vivian
Julia Roberts was sent a copy of the original screenplay and despite its dark nature she has said in a past interview that she "chased it down like a dog. I just loved it. My reaction to her was a balance of intrigue and fear – the same balance I felt toward Daisy in Mystic Pizza and Shelby in Steel Magnolias."
Roberts was on board from the get-go, but once Disney got involved they weren’t convinced that Roberts was the right leading lady. Sandra Bullock and Sarah Jessica Parker were also considered, but we can’t imagine Vivian played by anyone other than Julia Roberts.
Producers had Julia Roberts locked in pretty early on in production, but finding her leading man was not that easy!
Garry Marshall Made A Couple Of Cameos
Director Garry Marshall made a cameo appearance in his own film. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment happens towards the beginning of the film. Before Edward finds himself lost in Hollywood, he attempts to orient himself by asking a homeless man for directions.
That homeless man was played by Marshall himself! He’s the one who gives Richard Gere’s character the details on where Sylvester Stallone allegedly lives. That’s not his only cameo either. Marshall also appeared as a janitor outside of the Regent Beverly Wilshire later on in the film.
Finding The Leading Man Wasn’t That Easy
Finding the leading man wasn’t as easy as casting Julia Roberts. She screen tested against some of Hollywood’s finest leading men such as Sam Neill, Tom Conti, and Charles Grodin. No one was quite right as Roberts managed to hold her own against all of them.
Even Al Pacino read for the part. In an interview with Larry King, Pacino said, “I could tell Julia Roberts was a great actress… She had never done anything. I even said to Garry Marshall, this girl, where did you find her?” Pacino ultimately turned down the part because he didn’t feel right in the role.
Of course, Richard Gere got the part but he initially said no. Wait until you see what Julia Roberts did to get him to say yes!
The Big, Huge Mistake Porsche And Ferrari Made
Remember when Vivian first meets Edward at Hollywood Boulevard’s red light district? Edward is driving his lawyer’s Lotus Esprit but clearly has no idea what he’s doing and lets Vivian drive him in it to his hotel.
The producers initially wanted to use a Ferrari or a Porsche for the scene, but both car companies declined since they didn’t want to be associated with prostitution. Luckily, Lotus Cars UK jumped at the chance for their car to be used in a Hollywood film. Afterward, their sales tripled from 1990 to 1991. Looks like Ferrari and Porshe missed out!
Richard Gere Didn’t Even Want To Be In The Movie
Considering how many actors were considered for the role of Edward Lewis, it’s lucky that they landed Richard Gere. They had a hard time getting him to sign on to the movie because he reportedly turned down the role multiple times.
It wasn’t until Marshall brought Roberts to Gere’s apartment that he changed his mind. Gere was captivated by Roberts when he met her for the first time and Marshall could tell that they had instant chemistry. The deciding moment was when Roberts took a post-it and wrote: “please say yes.” After that, Gere finally agreed to do the role.
Richard Gere was probably the only one who could get the perfect reaction out of Roberts for one of the movie’s iconic scenes anyway, as you’ll soon see…
Richard Gere Played His Own Composition
Richard Gere is a talented musician in real life and he has often proved it on film. For Pretty Woman, he wanted to play the piano. Not only was he actually playing the piano in the film, but he was also playing a piece that he composed himself!
It’s pretty incredible that Gere got to inject his character Edward with a little personal flair. This isn’t the only time he’s accomplished this either. Gere later starred in Runaway Bride – also with Julia Roberts – but in that movie he decided to play the guitar.
Richard Gere Improvised This Whole Scene
The scene where Edward presents Vivian with the diamond necklace is one of the most memorable in the movie. We all remember the moment Vivian attempts to touch the necklace but Edward suddenly snaps the lid shut on her fingers, which causes her to laugh.
This scene was entirely improvised by Richard Gere. Roberts wasn’t expecting him to snap the lid, which is why her laugh is so genuine. Many critics believe that this is the moment America fell in love with Julia Roberts and her infamous laugh. We’re lucky that this moment made it on film.
Speaking of the necklace, wait until you see why it was a star of its own on set!
The Film Was Really Shot At The Beverly Wilshire
The Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel is where Edward is staying for the duration of the film. They didn’t fake the set either –Pretty Woman was shot on location at the Regent Beverly Wilshire! But this was only due to the fact that the Beverly Wilshire was the only hotel that would allow them to film outside and in the lobby.
Any other hotels that declined really missed out because Pretty Woman made that hotel famous! The Beverly Wilshire still stands today, although it is now a Four Seasons hotel. Die-hard fans can book a “Pretty Woman For A Day” resort package for the full experience!
The Necklace Really Was Worth A Quarter Of A Million Dollars
Speaking of that beautiful necklace, Edward says that a jewelry shop loaned it to him for the night. As it turns out, that’s exactly how the producers acquired the necklace for the film. A necklace of that value didn’t happen to just be available in wardrobe.
The necklace reportedly really did cost a quarter of a million dollars. Costume designer Marilyn Vance-Straker managed to borrow the necklace for the film, but it was so valuable that it required its own security guard while it was on set! The security guard stood next to Garry Marshall during filming.
Dealing with something so valuable might have caused a bit of pressure for the actors, but not as much as filming an intimate naked scene as you’ll soon see…
Vivian’s Jacket Was A Movie Usher’s Uniform
Vivian wears a lot of iconic outfits in Pretty Woman. But do you remember the red jacket that she wears throughout the film? The producers saw the jacket worn by a movie usher, who sold it to them for just $30.
No one could have predicted how huge this movie ended up being, but we’re sure that the movie usher is upset they only made $30 off the now-iconic piece of outerwear. There’s a pro-tip for anyone who is looking for some Pretty Woman style tips on a budget: inspiration can come from anywhere!
Julia Roberts Was Too Nervous To Film This Scene
Julia Roberts was quite young – 23, to be exact – when Pretty Woman was filmed. On top of that, she was relatively unknown so she didn’t have a lot of notable acting credits to her name yet. So it’s understandable that someone so new to the game would be nervous filming an intimate scene.
Remember the nearly-nude scene where Edward and Vivian sleep together? Rumor has it that Roberts was so nervous to film it that a visible vein popped out of her forehead. Marshall got into bed with her and Gere and the men had to massage her forehead to calm her nerves.
Gere obviously played an important role both on camera and behind the scenes, but you won’t believe what he really thinks of “Pretty Woman.”
She Was Meant To Be A Lady In Red
Roberts looks truly ravishing in the red dress that Vivian wears to the opera. The bright red dress is iconic, but there was a brief moment in time that it could have been a different color. Thankfully, costume designer Marilyn Vance-Straker knew that red was the way to go.
Vance-Straker told Elle in 2010, “The studio really wanted black, but I knew it needed to be red. Before the decision was made, we ended up having to create three different dresses… Finally, I was able to find the right shade and convince everyone to go [in] my direction.”
Richard Gere Doesn’t Even Remember Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman has had a place in the hearts of movie fans for all these years but don’t count Richard Gere among them. In fact, the whole movie, for him, is largely forgettable.
Gere told Woman’s Day in 2012 about his real feelings towards Pretty Woman: “It’s my least favorite thing. People ask me about [it], but I’ve forgotten it. That was a silly romantic comedy.” He went on to say, “[Pretty Woman] made [guys like Edward] seem dashing, which was so wrong. Thankfully, today, we are all more skeptical of those guys.”
Pretty Woman Was Nominated For Four Golden Globes
Pretty Woman was celebrated by movie audiences and critics alike, so it’s no surprise that it was nominated for four Golden Globe awards. Julia Roberts won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.
It was actually Roberts’ second consecutive Golden Globe win, which is pretty impressive for someone whose career was just starting out. She previously won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for 1989’s Steel Magnolias. Having also snagged an Oscar nod for Pretty Woman, it was clear that Roberts’s career was only headed up in the future.
Pretty Woman Is The Fourth Highest-Grossing Rom-Com Of All Time
Pretty Woman is one of the most iconic romantic-comedies in American cinema. As of 2018, Pretty Woman still dominates as the fourth highest-grossing romantic-comedy of all time with a total box office take of about $178.4 million.
It sits right behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding, What Women Want, and Hitch, so Pretty Woman is still the most successful rom-com of the ’90s. It’s only fitting since Pretty Woman is ubiquitous of that era! There’s Something About Mary, which came out in 1998, trails right behind it with a total gross of $176.5 million.
Roberts, Gere, Elizondo Teamed Up Again For A Marshall Movie
It seems that Julia Roberts and Richard Gere worked so well as a couple that they were brought together again for another Garry Marshall film. Nine years after Pretty Woman premiered in, they all teamed up again for 1999’s Runaway Bride.
Runaway Bride sees Gere chasing after Roberts once again, but this time as a journalist who is trying to get to the bottom of why Roberts’ character keeps leaving men at the altar. Héctor Elizondo returned for this film as well, but of course, he is a Garry Marshall movie icon and is always cast in the director’s projects.