Love Pretty Woman? It Would Be A Big Mistake To Miss These Facts
This is one of those movies that just never gets old. Happily-ever-after movie, astonishing Julia Roberts, and gentlemen-like Richard Gere – is there anything not to love?
Did you know that Richard Gere is actually playing the piano in the piano scene? Furthermore, did you know who else could have played Vivian? Read the facts about the cast and filming that will definitely blow your mind. Keep reading and discover why ….
1. A Different Script
Today, we see ‘Pretty Woman’ as a romantic comedy, but that wasn’t the case in the beginning. The original script was quite dark and heavy. Producers wanted a classic tale about drugs and prostitution.
Originally, Vivian was a drug addict and Edward paid her $3,000 to spend the week with him without doing any drugs. He also kills her by the end of the movie.
2. A Different Name?
The original title was so far from pretty. The original title for the movie was “3000”, a reference to the price Vivian charged.
During testing, it turned out that people didn’t respond well to this title as they found it confusing. Luckily, it was changed to Pretty Woman!
3. Almost Molly
Can you imagine anyone but Julia playing Vivian? Well, producers could. The role was offered to Molly Ringwald, but she refused.
Ringwald didn’t like the script and refused it. She still doesn’t regret it. The actress stated “Julia Roberts is what makes that movie. It was her part. Every actor hopes for a part that lets them shine like that.”
4. Other Possible Vivians
But apart from Molly Ringwald, other successful actresses were also considered for the role of Vivian. The actress that came very close to playing this character was Diane Lane. She also did the costume fittings, but she had to turn down the part due to scheduling issues.
Daryl Hannah was also offered the role but she refused it. She said that the early version of the script was “degrading to women”. Michelle Pfeiffer shared a similar opinion and said ‘no’.
5. A Disney Movie
What most people don’t know about Pretty Woman is that it is actually a Disney Movie. Yes, the owners and production company behind it is really Disney. They purchased the screenplay and produced the movie.
However, it’s hard to notice it because the film was produced under their film production banner “Touchstone Pictures”. Not so family friendly for a Disney movie, right?
6. Unemployed Julia
Julia Roberts was still a relatively unknown actress when she was the first cast to play the role in Pretty Woman. She was super excited
about the part, but her happiness only lasted for about a weekend.
Only a couple of days after getting the role, the rights to the movie were sold off to Disney. This decision made Julia jobless for a few days. Luckily, the new director decided to keep her and the rest is history.
7. Finding a Male Lead
As if finding a female actress for Vivian wasn’t stressful enough, finding a male lead turned out to be even more difficult. Actors were saying ‘no’ to the role, including Richard Gere.
Richard almost said ‘no’ to the role. He believed that the role of Edward was boring and that it could have been played by anyone in a suit. So, what made him say ‘yes’? Read on.
8. Finally Gere
Richard wanted a creative role and he believed that Edward was bland and with no personality. He joked in an interview that you could have put a suit on a goat and it would have turned out the same. So, Julia had to deal with it.
Roberts took a special trip to New York City to meet him and while he was on the phone with the director, Julia slides him a note with the words “please say yes”. And he did.
9. The Handkerchief Gag
You remember that scene where Julia blows her nose? It was completely improvised. Julia thought it would be funny. Now she regrets it.
Today, Julia talks about how that scene was gross and not funny. But that is what makes Vivian’s character so lovable. She’s rough around the edges, but sweet as a peach.
10. Unscripted Prank Turns Out To Be Classic
We all love that before-opera scene when Edward gives Vivian the diamond necklace, right? They are looking great, smiling and Edvard jokingly closes the box. That was an unscripted prank.
Director loved Julia Roberts’ natural reaction that he decided to leave it in the movie. We’re lucky he did because this scene is definitely one of the most memorable moments.
11. The Snails Scene
The scene where Vivian is attempting to eat escargot is one of the funniest ones. The snail slips out of her hands and the waiter catches it while saying that “it happens all the time.”
In another movie directed by Garry Marshall, called “The Princess Diaries” the same actor was cast as a waiter. The snails’ scene was somewhat duplicated for the other movie, and when character Mia Thermopolis breaks a champagne flute, the actor tells her “it happens all the time.” Both female characters proceed to eat a green dessert after the mishaps.
12. Nailing That Laugh
We all love Julia’s smile, but her laughter is something to fall in love with. That historic laughter on the hotel’s floor scene came with an off-camera help.
People were told that she was watching reruns of ‘I Love Lucy’, but in reality and off camera, crew members were tickling her feet.
13. Red Jacket
Julia became iconic for the dress, boots and red jacket that she wore. But who created that memorable outfit?
It turns out that famous red jacket was bought from a random girl passing by. Apparently, the girl asked for tickets to Disneyland but in the end, accepted $30 in cash.
14. Julia’s Favorite Scene
Julia Roberts was asked in an interview what her favorite scene of the film was and answered that it was the one where she drove the fancy car down Hollywood Boulevard. “I don’t know, driving around in the car in Hollywood was pretty hilarious.”
What made this scene even more fun for Roberts’ was that she didn’t know how to drive very well at that age. The director Gary Marshall agreed nonetheless and said that she drove so fast that it was hard for the cameramen to keep up.
15. Richard Gere’s Favorite Scene
Richard Gere admitted there wasn’t just one scene from the movie that he loved the most. He said his favorite scenes were anytime Julia Roberts had to walk.
Apparently, it was fun watching the actress walking in her thigh-high boots and hooker outfit. The outfits they chose for Roberts were “all about the legs”.
16. Almost Without The Red Dress
The most iconic red dress that Julia Roberts wore to the opera was almost replaced with a dress of a different color. The disagreement started between the producers and the costume designer. The studio wanted Julia to wear a black one, while the costume designer insisted on the red dress.
Luckily, the costume designer Marilyn Vance-Straker won the argument only after a lot of screen testing. Finally, the red opera dress won, and today it’s one of the most iconic movie dresses of all time.
17. The Real Diamonds
The diamond necklace Vivian wore to the opera wasn’t a fake one. It was an actual diamond necklace that the producers landed from a jewelry store. The worth of this necklace was a whopping $250,000 which is why a security guard was sent to the set.
The necklace never left the guard’s sight. Little did they know that the movie will become such a success that they will end up earning much more than the value of the expensive necklace.
18. The Final Title
After realizing the original title “3000” was confusing to the audiences, they started looking for inspiration outside of the script. The title Pretty Woman was taken from a famous song from Roy Orbison, but they couldn’t just use it right away.
It took the production some time to get the rights to use the song, but once they did it, the producers changed the title. We couldn’t think of a better title for a classic romantic comedy. Great job!
19. The Underwater Prank
Another classic scene from Pretty Woman is when Roberts sings in the bathtub to Prince’s song ‘Kiss’. In one moment of excitement, Julia goes underwater.
While filming this scene, Richard Gere and the rest of the crew decided to prank Julia. When she was underwater they ran away from her sight and disappeared. Roberts found it absolutely hilarious!
20. Color Fading Tub
In the same scene where Julia was taking a bubble bath, the tub was filled with laundry detergent in order to make all the bubbles. But it turned out to be a bad idea. The detergent was so strong that after a lot of underwater takes, the color of her hair started to fade.
Right after they shot this scene, Julia Roberts had to re-dye her hair red because the color almost faded. There is a good reason why people use bubble bath and regular shampoos rather than laundry detergents!
21. The Car Choice
Script with sex workers turned many actors and actresses. But, it turned also major car brands. No one wanted their brand linked with street-theme. But, as Vivian would say, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”
Ferrari and Porsche said no immediately. Luckily, the British automotive manufacturer, Lotus steeped in with a silver 1989 Espirit SE. It turned out to be the perfect car.
22. A Cameo
The director of Pretty Woman, Garry Marshall, actually appeared in the movie, but most of the fans missed it. He plays the part of a homeless man scouring a trash can outside a house.
In the scene where he appears, Edward stops to ask the homeless man for directions while trying to find his way back to his hotel. After this movie, Marshall worked with both Roberts and Gere on ‘Runaway Bride.’
23. The Transforming Croissant
Vivian is eating a croissant while she is asking Edward about his job.
This is a scene where the magic happened, as in the following moment croissant transformed.
When she asked about the job she was eating the croissant, and in the following second she was eating a pancake. It seemed that the producers missed the transforming croissant and haven’t realized that the food Vivian is eating just magically transformed.
24. Romantic Comedies Trend
Although the original script wasn’t meant to be a romantic comedy, the final movie surely was. Pretty Woman was such a success that along with ‘When Harry Met Sally’, led to a huge wave of romantic movies in the ’90s.
This movie made Julia the queen of rom-coms for quite a long period of time. She started in popular romantic comedies like Notting Hill. With time she went on to movies with more mature stories.
25. Preparation At The Clinic
Julia Roberts had to prepare herself for the role of Vivian, so she decided to spend some time at an LA free clinic in order to get closer to people that resemble her character in the movie. Garry Marshall’s wife was a nurse at that clinic at the time, so Julia got in there easily.
She spent days at the Los Angeles free clinic trying to meet some of the women there. She eventually did and spend some time with them engaging, until she felt that she was ready for the role.
26. The First Love Scene
It wasn’t very easy for Julia to do numerous love scenes that appeared in the movie. While filming each one of them she became very nervous. In very first love scene she did with Richard Gere, she was nervous to that extent that a vein popped out on her forehead.
It didn’t really look good on the camera, so they had to massage her forehead in order to make the vein disappear. But she got even more nervous that it even got worse and the scene had to be further delay.
27. The Poster Tweaks
The poster of the movie also hides a few things you probably didn’t know. The poster that’s so famous actually isn’t showing Julia Robert’s body. That’s actually the body of Shelly Michelle, the body double of Julia Roberts with the actress’ head photo-shopped on Michelle’s body.
Another thing that might have passed unnoticed is Richard Gere’s hair. On the poster, his hair is dyed black, while in the movie Gere has grey hair.
28. Music Talent
There is a scene in which Edward plays the piano in the hotel, and this time, doubles weren’t needed. Gere is a great piano player! He also composed the song that he played in the scene!
Apparently, Gere was interested in music since he was a kid and he also played trumpet in high school. In addition, he was so good at gymnastics that he received a gymnastics scholarship for the University of Massachusetts.
29. Rough Fake Fighting
During the scene where Edward fights with his lawyer Phillip Stuckey, the fake fighting apparently got so intense that a punch caused Gere’s tooth crown to get loose. He needed some dental assistance right after!
It might be that the scene where Philip slaps Vivian made him so angry. We have to admit that her beauty is so incredible that even a fake slap to that face might have caused the actor to rage. Fortunately, Julia’s smile is insured.
30. Highest Grossing
Pretty Woman was a big hit at the time and did fantastic at the box office. This success made a lot of people rich, including Julia. This movie still holds the place as the highest grossing, R-rated Disney movie ever!
But there’s another record Pretty Woman still holds. It also has the highest ticket sale for a romantic comedy in The States. An incredible number of 42.1 million tickets were sold for Pretty Woman. It was a smash hit among all ages.
31. La Traviata
When Vivian and Edward go to the opera they go to see an Italian opera called La Traviata. The story of the opera is actually about a man who falls in love with a young courtesan. However, the opera doesn’t have a bright ending.
Pretty Woman has a happy Cinderella ending, but La Traviata is very similar to the original movie’s plot. The man ends up being heartbroken and desperate because the young courtesan dies from tuberculosis.
32. The Multiple Hotel Locations
The Beverly Wilshire hotel scenes weren’t actually filmed there. Instead, they were shot at the Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel which was torn down in 2005. The large budget of the movie allowed the producers to organize filming in multiple locations.
Most of the scenes in Pretty Woman were filmed in Los Angeles. The restaurant where Vivian and Edward dined is real, and fans can still visit it in LA. Its name is Cicada, so if you want to take a Pretty Woman tour, you’ll know where to go!
33. The Chemistry
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere definitely had great chemistry. Whoever saw the movie could tell you the same, but that was also one of the biggest reasons that made Richard Gere accept the role in the movie.
When they met for the first time in New York, Gere was instantly struck with Roberts personality. When they felt that amazing chemistry between them they knew that the movie was going to be a success.
34. Hank Azaria’s Milestone
The actor Hank Azaria has the role of the detective in the movie and this small part actually meant a lot to him. This role was his very first speaking role in a film.
After it, Azaria continued to have a very successful career, becoming very popular for his voice-acting in The Simpsons. He gave voices to Moe, Wiggum, and Apu, and did dozens of other characters on the show.
35. Southern Accents
The director of Pretty Woman was a bit concerned about Julia Roberts’ slight Southern accent, which at times becomes pretty noticeable. If you were paying attention, at times, Vivian’s Southern accent comes out, especially in the elevator scene when Vivian exclaims, “ Well, color me happy.”
So, they decided to include the fact that Vivian was born in Georgia and moved later to Los Angeles.
36. The Earthquake
One of the most known scenes is the Opera scene. But it seems that the location choice for this scene was quite a complicated one. Originally, the location was supposed to be in San Francisco.
But, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the city in 1989, taking lives of 67 people and causing damages of over $5 billion in costs. So, they had to change the location and filmed the scene at the University of Southern California’s history museum.
37. Missed Chance
Another reason that might have convinced Richard Gere to agree to play the role of Edward is the missed chance he had three years before.
Richard Gere needed quite a bit of convincing before he finally agreed to play the role of corporate raider Edward Lewis. Possibly one of the factors that influenced his decision was the fact that he regretted that he had declined a huge role three years before.
Apparently, in 1986, Gere was offered to play another role of a corporate raider called Gordon Gekko for a movie Wall Street. He turned down the role and the actor that accepted it, Michael Douglas, won an academy award for Best Actor.
38. Seinfeld Star
Today, Jason Alexander is best known for playing the role of George Costanza in the sitcom Seinfeld. But at the time Pretty Woman was shot, he was a relatively unknown actor on the screen.
However, before taking the role of Phillip Stuckey in Pretty Woman, Alexander had a successful career in the Broadway which lead him to win a Tony Award in 1989.
39. Hit Soundtrack
The title of the movie was taken from the Roy Orbison song “Oh, Pretty Woman” that was released back in 1965. So, it’s no wonder why someone would expect the movie to have some good hits in the soundtrack.
In fact, the Pretty Woman’s soundtrack was a huge success too. It went platinum multiple times worldwide and ended up being sold in 3.6 million copies in Canada, UK, Switzerland, and Sweden only!
40. Predicting the Ending
There is one scene in the movie where Vivian talks about her deepest secrets and how in her childhood she liked to pretend to be a princess
“trapped in a tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly this knight… on a white horse with these colors flying would come charging up and draw his sword. And I would wave. And he would climb up the tower and rescue me.”
This quote wouldn’t be a big deal if it wasn’t alluding to the movies’ ending. However, the thing is that the ending of the movie wasn’t decided yet when this scene was filmed! In the end, everything just got where it had to be.
41. The Pretty Woman Experience
Of course, such a successful movie always has millions of fans over the globe that aren’t satisfied simply be re-watching the movie again and again. That’s why the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Los Angeles thought of a great idea.
They introduced a Pretty Woman Hotel Experience that included the two-night package at the hotel’s Presidential Suite, shopping on Rodeo Drive with a personal stylist, a couples massage, a private dinner with a special menu, and of course trip to the opera. If you want to experience this, make sure you prepare whooping $100,000!