The hit 1990 romantic comedy “Pretty Woman” was originally written as a tragedy, according to the film’s stars and director, who reunited for an interview to celebrate its 25th anniversary on Tuesday.
Julia Roberts (Vivian), Richard Gere (Edward), Laura San Giacomo (Kit), Hector Elizondo (Barney) and director Garry Marshall appeared on “The Today Show” on which Matt Lauer asked them for their favorite memories regarding the film.
They revealed that the film originally was a cautionary tale with a much darker tone, in which Vivian was a drug addict who was eventually discarded by Edward.
“Richard’s character threw my character out of the car, threw the money on top of her and drove away and the credits rolled,” Roberts said.
After the film was picked up by Disney and Marshall came on board, however, it was re-worked into the modern day Cinderella story that made it famous.
Roberts was cast first, but Gere revealed he was hesitant to take the part of Edward, fearing that the character lacked depth.
“Well, there wasn’t a part. There was just nothing,” Gere said. “The joke was it was a suit. You could put a suit on a goat and put it out there, and it would work.”
Gere changed his mind after meeting Roberts, with whom everyone agreed he had instant chemistry. The two met in Marshall’s office. When Marshall called to see how things were going, Gere picked up the phone. While talking to Marshall, Roberts slid a post-it across the desk that read “Please do it!” Gere said yes on the spot.
The film is responsible for launching 21-year-old Julia Roberts to super stardom, and its popularity hasn’t waned, even after a quarter century. Gere, with whom Roberts reunited nearly 10 years later for “Runaway Bride,” said that he gets recognized for the film to this day, even in some of the most remote corners of the world.
“It was in Borneo. They’ve got bones in their ears. I’d taken a missionary flight. I’m in the middle of nowhere, and they put me in this boat and they take me down to the longhouse. We pull up on shore and they start going ‘Pretty Woman’, man! ‘Pretty Woman’, man!'”
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