Love Pretty Woman? It Would Be A Big Mistake To Miss These Facts
Pretty Woman is among the most adored romantic comedies of all time. Julia Roberts’ character is Vivian, a prostitute that ends up falling in love with a wealthy businessman called Edward played by Richard Gere. We all know the story of this unlikely movie couple, and no matter how much time passes, Pretty Woman just never gets old!
But not only is it a classic movie almost everybody has seen, the story around this movie is quite particular. If you ever watched Pretty Woman, these facts about the plot, the cast and filming will definitely blow your mind. Keep reading and discover why ….
1. A Different Script
Although today Pretty Woman is probably the most known romantic comedy ever, it wasn’t originally meant to be that way. The original script was quite dark and heavy. It was supposed to be rather a tale about drugs and prostitution that would leave a strong cautionary message.
In the script, Vivian was an addict and Edward paid her $3,000 to spend the week with him without doing any drugs. In the end, he gets fed up with her and drops her on the side of the road. Vivian’s environment was also quite drug-related, her best friend Kit dies of a drug overdose in the original script.
2. A Different Name?
Not only did this romantic comedy have a completely different story at the beggining which would have made it into a completely different movie. The first title for the movie was also a different one.
It might be the romantic comedy we all know and love, but the movie Pretty Woman was almost called something else entirely and was almost a completely different movie. The original title for the movie was “3000”, a reference to the price Vivian charged.
It was first named ‘3000’, a number that Vivian charged Edward to spend the week with him. 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
Vivian Ward, the main female role of the movie, was almost not played by Julia Roberts. The role was offered to Molly Ringwald that was quite popular at the time and would be a big-name addition to the cast of Pretty Woman.
Ringwald wasn’t interested in accepting the role as she didn’t like the early version of the script. She ended up turning the offer down, but 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 as she believed the early version of the script was “degrading to women”. Another big name turned down the part of Vivian, and it’s Michelle Pfeiffer that didn’t like the script’s “tone”.
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” which is only a different name for the production of Disney’s more mature brand of movies. Not so family friendly for a Disney movie, right?
6. Unemployed Julia
Julia Roberts was still a relatively unknown actress when she was 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 stay without of a job for a few days. But as soon as they brought in a new director, Gary Marshall, he decided to keep her in the movie 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. Not only did the casting director need a very long time to find the perfect Edward, but a lot of actors also turned down the role too.
Even if now no one can imagine Edward played by anyone else but Richard Gere, he 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. But why did he eventually say yes? Read on.
8. Finally Gere
Richard Gere wasn’t really excited about the role and actually needed a lot of convincing to accept the main lead character in Pretty Woman. He was concerned because he thought the part was bland and had 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.
It was actually Julia Roberts that made Richard Gere to eventually agree. Roberts took a special trip to New York City to meet him and while he was on the phone with the director, Julia slid him a note with the words “please say yes”. And he did, he admitted he took the role mainly because of his chemistry with Roberts.
9. The Handkerchief Gag
The scene where Julia Roberts blows her nose in the room while the hotel concierge was on the phone was completely improvised. Julia thought it would be funny in the moment, but later she admitted that she regretted doing it.
Roberts hated the scene because she thought that the scene wasn’t funny on camera at all and that it was rather gross. But that it 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
Remember the scene where Edward presents Vivian with the diamond necklace for the opera? It is definitely one of the most classic scenes in the movie. But the part where he jokingly closes the box on Vivian that most fans adored was actually an unscripted prank.
The director, Garry Marshall, 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 and famous scenes in all of Pretty Woman.
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
The hysteric laugh of Julia Roberts in the scene where she is lying on the hotel floor of Edward’s hotel room and laughing at old reruns of I Love Lucy had something behind it. Do you know how Roberts was able to perfect that amazing laugh?
Apparently, it wasn’t just the amazing acting, but there was a trick that helped her achieve the perfect laugh. Off camera, crew members were tickling her feet. It turns out she wasn’t actually laughing at the reruns!
13. Red Jacket
Julia Roberts definitely had a big break-out with the role of Vivian. She became iconic for the dress, boots and red jacket that she wore. But who was the designer behind the jacket picked out for the character of Pretty woman?
It turned out that the jacket was actually in the script but they didn’t have one when they arrived to film the scene. Luckily, a girl was walking down the sidewalk wearing a red jacket they liked. They offered to buy it for the use in the movie. Apparently, the girl asked for tickets to Disneyland but in the end she accepted $30 cash in exchange for the jacket.
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,” Roberts said in a later interview.
What made this scene ever more fun for Roberts’ is that she didn’t know hot 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 and it was fun to watch for everyone. The outfits they chose for Roberts were “all about the legs” and sometimes, off camera, the actress would feel uncomfortable due to the clothes.
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 makes today 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. Good job!
19. The Underwater Prank
Another classic scene from Pretty Woman is when Roberts is singing in the bathtub to Prince’s song Kiss before having a discussion with Gere while still being in the tub. In one moment of excitement Julia goes underwater.
Her character is so happy about the money she was going to get from Edward that she 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 faded so much while filming the bathtub scene. There must be a good reason why people use bubble bath and regular shampoos rather than laundry detergents!
21. The Car Choice
Apparently the script that included sex workers did not only make a lot of actors and actresses turn down the role offers, but it also made choosing the car Edward drove quite difficult. Many car manufacturers didn’t want their names appearing in such a film, which turned out to be, as Vivian would say, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”
Ferrari and Porsche didn’t want their cars in the movie, but eventually the producers found a car brand that accepted the offer. It was the British automotive manufacturer Lotus that makes sports and racing cars. They offered a silver 1989 Espirit SE. and it turned out to be the right choice because movie was a big success.
22. A Cameo
The director of Pretty Woman, Garry Marshall, actually appeared in the movie, but most of 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. But this wasn’t the only time Marshall collaborated with both Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, they teamed up again for the movie Runaway Bride.
23. The Transforming Croissant
One of the flaws you might have missed was in the scene when Vivian asks Edward what he did for a living. At first, she was eating a croissant. Edward continues to explain what he’s doing and that he buys companies that are in financial trouble and sells them off.
One flaw you might of missed was when Vivian starts asking Richard Gere’s character Edward what he does for a living while nibbling on a croissant. Edward starts explaining that he buys companies that are in financial trouble and sells them off.
When the two start talking about “how far” they got in school, and Vivian appears again on the camera but only this time she is eating a pancake. It seemed that the producers missed the transforming croissant and haven’t realized that the food Vivian is eating just magically changes.
24. Romantic Comedies Trend
Even if 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, it caused a huge wave of romantic movies in the 90’s.
Thanks to her breakout role in Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts became known as the queen of Rom Coms for quite a long period of time. She also starred in hit romantic comedies as Notting Hill and Runaway Bride. But later Julia admitted that she was tired of playing in Rom Coms all the time, because the characters in those movies didn’t have profound, mature stories she was now seeking for.
25. Preparation At The Clinic
Julia Roberts had to prepare herself for the role of Vivian, so she decided to spend some time at a 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 Roberts felt that she was adequately prepared for her role. While we don’t know how much these women inspired her portrayal of a sex-worker, worldwide audiences were definitely in love with her acting.
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. The 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 delayed further
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, no body doubles were needed. It turned out that one of the actor’s hidden talents is actually the love of music and piano. Not only did he play the piano by himself, but 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. But these aren’t the only hidden talents of the actor, he was also good at gymnastics and he even received a gymnastics scholarship to attend 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 Roberts that wasn’t really a famous actress before the movie. 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 United 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. Quite ironic, right? However, the opera doesn’t have a bright ending.
Pretty Woman has an happy Cinderella ending, but La Traviata which is quite similar to the movie’s plot, ends in a sad way. 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. It’s 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 hit it off amazingly on set, chemistry wise. 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 a 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
Julia Roberts was born and raised in Smyrna, Georgia, which is why she had a slight Southern accent that the director Gerry Marshal was a bit concerned about. At times her accent would really become apparent, and they had to add some details into the story in order to make Vivian’s character 100% trustworthy.
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 but moved later to Los Angeles. If you pay attention, Vivian’s Southern accent is pretty noticeable in the elevator scene when she says, “Well, color me happy.”
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 corporate raider Edward Lewis, 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. It seems that Gere didn’t want to miss another chance of winning any awards.
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 such big a deal that a quote is alluding to the movies’ ending, but the thing here 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 and the story was wrapped up so nicely.
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!