Almost 30 years after its release, Pretty Woman is already a movie classic, where the beautiful Julia Roberts and the super heartthrob Richard Gere form a dream couple. The iconic film, however, did not seem to have so many pretensions: with a small budget and roles rejected by several stars, it broke all the schemes and was a resounding economic success and the definitive accolade for its protagonists.
These are some curiosities of this movie, released on March 23, 1990, that perhaps you did not know.
it wasn’t Julia
Although it is difficult to think of another person who embodies Vivian Ward better, it was not easy for Roberts to obtain it.
Actually, she was originally considered for a supporting role and dozens of actresses walked the catwalk for the lead: Karen Allen, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Mary Steenburgen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daryl Hannah, Valeria Golino, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Helen Slater, Bridget Fonda, Robin Wright Penn, Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane, Kyra Sedgwick and Brooke Shields, some of whom rejected the role as humiliating for women. Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore also auditioned for the role, but were turned down for being too young.
Superman, Rocky or Tony Manero
It was also not easy for Gere to achieve the role of Edward Lewis and more than a selection, it was a discard: the director Garry Marshall wanted Christopher Reeve for the main role, but not having the Superman actor, Al Pacino was his second choice. . He even read parts of the script with Roberts, but eventually quit.
The director then thought of Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington or John Travolta, while the studio considered offering the role to Sylvester Stallone. None of this prospered.
Burt Reynolds also turned down the role of Edward Lewis and in a 2012 interview, he joked that after seeing the sex scenes with Julia Roberts, he had regretted not accepting the role.
Fortunately (and to Marshall’s dismay) Gere eventually landed the lead role.
big big business
If we talk about money, Pretty Woman more than returned the capital invested in its realization. Its premiere was explosive, since it went directly to number one in the US box office, collecting 178 million dollars in the United States. If international collection is added, the figure climbs to 463 million. Not bad if we consider that its budget was just 14 million dollars.
Pretty Woman is the name of the film’s soundtrack and was marketed by the EMI record company, staying in the first place of sales and the charts for several weeks in its year of publication.
It is one of the most successful in sales and advertising in the history of film and music, for representing a sector of American youth of a particular era.
Truths and lies
Cinema shows us things that sometimes aren’t true… but we love them. On the other hand, others that we think are false, if they are true.
For example, we could think that Gere pretends to play the piano, but in reality he does, since he is an excellent musician and the theme that is heard was composed by him.
Instead, stunt doubles were used for Julia in some shots. She was very skinny at the time, so a curvier actress shot the intimate scenes where she couldn’t see her face. The legs of the film poster are not hers either, but rather those of the model Shelley Michelle.
A great truth of the film is the price of the necklace given by Edward to Vivian: it is said to cost a quarter of a million dollars, which is absolutely true. A security guard constantly protected him throughout the shoot.
What would movies be without the little mistakes, those that moviegoers find here and there?
On the movie poster, Richard Gere has brown hair, but throughout the film he sports his trademark (and oh-so-seductive) gray hair. And what about the croissant that turns into a pancake in the breakfast scene? The magic of cinema, undoubtedly. And a delicious pearl: in one of the first scenes, while Gere is talking to his girlfriend on the phone, a member of the filming is seen reflected in the glass.
changes and more changes
When we see a successful movie, we do not imagine that at some point it was thought to be different, but it often happens and Pretty Woman is no exception.
Originally, the movie was going to be called “3,000”, alluding to the amount that Edward would pay Vivian for her week of services. Then it changed to Pretty Woman, because of the Roy Orbison song that’s on the soundtrack.
The script was rewritten six times, which gives an idea of the modifications it underwent in the process.
In fact, it was intended as a totally different movie: it was going to be a dark and dramatic story, warning about the dangers of prostitution. Then the change to a romantic comedy was decided.
For example, in the first version, Edward and Vivian were kissing on the mouth from the beginning. Plus she was addicted to cocaine and part of her deal with Edward was that she couldn’t use that week. Later, Vivian would arrive at her apartment and find out that her friend Kit had had an overdose. Fortunately, everything was eliminated looking for a lighter, more cheerful and romantic movie.
In the scene with the necklace, Richard Gere improvised the sudden closure of the case when Julia Roberts was going to put her hand in, and her laughter was totally natural. The director liked the scene, so he left it in the movie.
And something that we cannot directly conceive: in the original script, in the end the two left the hotel together in a limousine, but it stopped in Beverly Hills. Vivian stayed homeless and Edward went back to New York with his girlfriend.
– When Julia Roberts laughed while watching television on the floor, her laughter had a good reason: at that moment, the director of the film was tickling her foot.
– In the scene where Edward kicks his friend Stuckey out of the room, Richard Gere knocked out a tooth cap during the struggle.
– When Vivian is in the bathtub listening to Prince’s Kiss on her walkman, she sings the same phrase twice, which is not the case in the original song.
– Ferrari and Porsche did not want their vehicles to appear in “a prostitute movie”. The car Gere drives is a 1989 Lotus Espirit SE.
– The opera they are going to see in San Francisco is La Traviata, which is about a prostitute who falls in love with a rich man.