Amazingly, Pretty Woman nearly never happened. It was originally going to be called $3000, which alludes to the price in the movie that Vivian and Edward make a deal with. Ultimately, fans were happy with the title that was eventually agreed on.
We Want Moore
Believe it or not, it was the in-demand actress of the time, Demi Moore, who was the frontrunner to secure the role of Kit De Luca in Pretty Woman. They considered her for the role, but Moore ultimately turned down the role after being offered the part. In the end, Laura San Giacomo was the actress who got the part. However, many loved the original casting choice and wondered what it would have been like had Moore been Kit instead.
It was no surprise that Laura San Giacomo was cast in the role of Kit De Luca. This is mainly because the actress had previously worked under director Gary Marshall and the filmmaker was confident that she would nail the part, albeit a small one. “I remember him giving me room to fill moments, giving a direction and then shouting rolling,” she said. “No time to think too much, really demonstrating to me how much trust he had in what I would come up with on the spot.”
Pretty Dark Woman
Although Pretty Woman ended up being one of the most successful rom-coms of all time, the actual storyline that was originally intended was light years away from what ended up on the big screen. Producers were hell-bent on making the movie much darker than the light-hearted final cut, exposing the dark areas of L.A. life and bringing a realism to the story. Originally, Vivian was going to put a hold on her substance usage while being with Edward.
Fairy Tale Ending
One of the most charming things about Pretty Woman was that the actors got plenty of opportunities to improvise. In fact, the producers encouraged improv and were keen to make drastic changes to the story even after multiple takes. This was evident in the scene when Vivian discusses her aspirations to be a princess. At the time of filming that scene, the ending of the movie had not been shot. Nevertheless, producers acted upon it and changed the ending to fit that scene.
All Tied Up
One thing that Pretty Woman was unable to avoid was continuity issues, something that many movies have problems with. Even though Vivian unties Edward’s tie in one scene, she ends up leaving the room briefly only to return to Edward, who has his tie back in place. Amazingly, there were many other continuity errors in the movie; this was simply one of the most blatant. If you sit back and give this movie a couple of viewings, you’re bound to find them all.
Lady In Red
Vivian’s red dress in the movie is nothing short of iconic. However, there was a time when this dress could have been a completely different style and color. The originally intended color had been black. This was until Marilyn Vance, the movie’s costume designer decided to make some changes. The producers’ intentions were to make Vivian stand out from the crowd and Vance felt like black wouldn’t achieve that. After a variety of designs and shoots, Vance went with the red.
Familiar Story Line
One of the most iconic scenes in Pretty Woman is definitely the opera scene. It was perfectly fitting that the opera playing is a mirror image of what is going on in the story. La Traviata is an opera which focuses on a “woman of the night.” This woman ends up falling in love with a rich man. It is little “Easter eggs” like these that add another layer of depth to this already poignant story created by Garry Marshall.
Although Richard Gere ended up getting the role of Edward, there were a handful of actors who were also considered for the role. Ultimately, the character of Edward needed to be good looking and charming. Some of the other actors who were thought to qualify for the role included John Travolta, Christopher Reeve, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Denzel Washington. In the end, Gere beat all of those gifted actors to the role and it seems like the producers had no regrets.
It turns out that Richard Gere has many strings to his bow when it comes to the performing arts. Not only is he one of the most well-respected actors in the game, but he can also play some instruments, most notably, the piano. Amazingly, it was Gere himself who composed the music for the piano scene in Pretty Woman. It’s not clear whether all the actors who auditioned for the role of Edward needed to play the piano. At any rate, it was pretty convenient.
You’re So Vain
Sometimes, things can get a bit too real when one is trying to portray a character in the movies. It’s hard enough when you have all the cast and crew watching you and someone else performing what is meant to be an emotional or intimate scene. This certainly applied when Julia Roberts performed one of her scenes. She was so nervous that a vein in her forehead popped! Garry Marshall ended up intervening and massaging her head until the vein subsided.
In a sharp twist of irony, not everyone was happy out about Richard Gere being cast as Edward. One of the biggest critics of the casting was Richard Gere himself. The actor was actually intending on passing on the role, but his apprehension came to an end when someone persuaded him to change his mind. Julia Roberts was the one to talk him into doing it, sending him a note that simply said: “please say yes.” Guess what – he did.
There is a scene in Pretty Woman when Vivian is in Edward’s penthouse and is watching episodes of I Love Lucy. Garry Marshall wanted Roberts to provide a genuine laugh for the scene, but she wasn’t providing it off her own accord. As a result, Marshall stepped in and started tickling her feet. His risk paid off and the ticklish Roberts burst into laughter. It was the laugh that Marshall was looking for and with one take, the shot made the final cut.
There’s another scene when Vivian is enjoying her music while she sits in a big bubble bath. However, not many know that the aftermath of this scene was absolute chaos. Apparently, the crew used so much detergent to create bubbles that they ended up bleeding the dye in Robert’s hair by accident. As a result, all shooting was halted and Roberts was taken to get her hair recolored. We’re not sure who ended up paying for the recoloring!
Vivian was exposed to an entire wardrobe of stunning, flamboyant dresses and wore many throughout the movie. This is emphasized in the scene when Vivian goes shopping on Rodeo Drive. However, there is one notable dress that the crew obtained on the cheap. A red vintage blazer was purchased for $40 and was considered to be a complete and utter bargain in the context of the movie. They certainly didn’t need to go to the expensive road in Beverly Hills to get it.
Although it is the backdrop of many iconic movies, there are many laws in place when one wishes to film a movie in Beverly Hills. A sizable chunk of the movie was shot in this city and as a result. This meant that scenes that were meant to be on Rodeo Drive could only be shot on Sundays. Therefore, that the cast and crew were under serious pressure to get things right on the very first take.
There were many things that got in the way of the filming process, things that were completely out of the crew’s control. For example, the opera scene, which was originally intended to be shot in San Francisco, was eventually moved due to an unexpected earthquake that took place in the aforementioned city. At first, producers were worried that they wouldn’t be able to find a worthy alternative location. Eventually, they ended up shooting the scene at the history museum in USC.
In this day an age, product placement can be found everywhere, especially in the movies. There was a time when this wasn’t common practice, but nowadays, people take it for granted. However, there were early signs of it in Pretty Woman, when a Lotus car was pretty much on full display. It turns out that the car belonged to producer Nancy Gross. It was meant to highlight Edward’s ostentatious displays of wealth, and this was one way that the producers achieved this goal.
One of the biggest secrets about Pretty Woman can’t actually be found in the movie. Believe it or not, its poster tells a big lie. Although it appears that Vivian and Edward are posing on the poster together, that isn’t actually Julia Roberts. At least, most of it isn’t. It turns out that the actress’s face was actually superimposed onto the body of her double, Shelley Michelle. That’s not all. Although Richard Gere is playing a “silver-fox” in the movie, his hair is basically black on the poster.
When it comes to casting, Pretty Woman seemed to match every single character with the perfect actor. This was also true as far as Jason Alexander’s role was concerned. The actor played the role of the antagonist, Philip Stuckey, who was a really aggressive villain. Amazingly, the actor slammed the door so hard that it ended up smashing the windows. As a result, the cast and crew had to wait around to reshoot the scene while windows were refitted into the car.
Tongue In Cheek
What may have seemed a peculiar scene actually had a good reason behind it. When Edward catches Philip Stuckey trying to make his move on Vivian in the penthouse, he confronts him and fires him in an instant. During his rant, Gere’s actual crown molar went loose during filming. This explains why Gere was moving his tongue around so weirdly. In the end, it wasn’t cut and Gere was determined to carry on filming the scene with the utmost enthusiasm.
One radical change that Gere had to get used to in this movie revolved around his style of performance. He was obviously chosen because he was well-respected for his acting chops, but he was used to moving around in scenes. In this movie, Marshall told him to not move at all. Despite his confusion, Marshall explained to Gere, “No, no, no. Richard. In this movie, one of you moves. And one of you doesn’t. Guess which one you are?”
Drew Barrymore Was Too Young
It wasn’t just Kit De Luca’s role that had a lot of frontrunners. The main character of Vivian also had much competition in the audition process. One of the most notable candidates was Drew Barrymore, who was 15 years old when she developed an interest in the role. It is no secret that Barrymore had dealt with addiction in her early days and believed that she had the experience to fulfill the role. However, Marshall deemed her too young for the role.
These days, production companies are often signing deals to have huge brands appear in their movies. However, when the producers of Pretty Woman wanted to include massive car manufacturers like Porsche and Ferrari in the movie, they wholeheartedly refused. After being told the what the movie would be about, the companies didn’t want to be associated. Ultimately, the respective manufacturers may have seen this decline as a missed opportunity, especially seeing how well the movie did at the box office.
What made Garry Marshall such a perfect fit for this role was his hands-on approach with the actors. While filming the movie, if a problem arose, Marshall was the first person to attend to the issue. In fact, Marshall took matters into his own hands when the crew was struggling to find a character for one of the scenes. He ended up portraying a homeless man. He was unsatisfied with the extras he had at his disposal and decided to play it himself.
One Script, Five Writers
Believe it or not, Disney actually owned the rights to the movie. However, the producers were still charge of bringing on important figures such its director and the screenwriters. After Garry Marshall came on as director, producers realized they had brought someone on who truly cared about the story and wanted to make it as powerful as possible for the audience. There were five writers who had a part to play in perfecting the final script.
Al Pacino Was Too Busy
Another huge name who was on the verge of landing the role of Edward was Tony Montana himself, Al Pacino. The producers were determined to get Pacino in the movie. However, he turned down every offer, constantly explaining that he was too busy at the time. One person who was desperate to work with the incredible actor was Garry Marshall. Even though he was unable to secure his services for Pretty Woman, he did end up working with him on Frankie and Johnny.
Marshall’s Good Luck Charm
One of Garry Marshall’s most understandable casting decisions came when he hired Hector Elizondo to portray the hotel manager. The pair had worked on numerous occasions and Marshall considered Elizondo something of a lucky charm. Even though the studios were apprehensive about the actor’s wage demands, Marshall made sure that he had his man, paying him his salary from his own earnings. After becoming such a popular character, Disney paid Elizondo much more money than he had previously anticipated.
Head Under Water
Marshall knew how to have fun on set and wasn’t afraid to let go a little with his cast. Not only did he tickle Julia Roberts feet to get a natural laugh out of her, Marshall also pulled a funny prank during the bubble bath scene. After ducking her head in the bath, Marshall told everyone to get out of the room in an effort to unsettle her. The cameras were still rolling, but Roberts was so confused.
Underfed And Overworked
Like most Hollywood movies, the cast and crew were fully catered for. This didn’t stop people from getting hungry though. This is because the filming schedule was so tight and so people simply didn’t have time to eat anything. Julia Roberts is reported to have eaten just one avocado in two days. This proved to be extremely problematic and caused the actress to faint on set. Marshall rushed to her side and fed her tuna in an effort to give her energy.
The Final Scene Was Shot Nine Times!
Filming a movie can be a mixed bag when it comes to getting things right. In the end, the final product is hopefully what the director intended. However, there are many instances when a scene may need to be short more than once in order to get everything dead on. The final scene needed to be shot a staggering nine times. This is mainly because Richard Gere kept getting his suit dirty when he was trying to climb the ladder.
Pretty Woman Sequel
Pretty Woman wasn’t the only movie that starred Gere and Roberts. It was certainly a winning formula and after receiving critical and commercial praise for the movie, the duo was bound to end up back on set together. The studios didn’t get the sequel they were looking for. However, when Gere was in Tibet, a Monk asked him, “when are you going to make Pretty Woman 2?” So Gere went back to America and made 1999’s Runaway Bride with Roberts.
Massive Money Maker
Whatever people may have thought about the movie, the numbers could not be denied. Due to its genre, Pretty Woman wasn’t expected to do so well at the box office. Despite this, it took a staggering $178 million domestically. It was also an international hit, raking in $285 million. What made the success even more impressive was the fact that it had such a low budget ($14 million). You couldn’t put your finger on what it was that made Gere and Roberts such a dynamic duo.
Although Garry Marshall proved to be the best director to film the movie, it actually could have been somebody else who ended up helming the movie. Director Werner Herzog later claimed in 2009, nearly 20 years after the movie’s release, that he was approached to create the movie. In fact, it was Richard Gere that got in touch with him and asked him if he wanted to direct him in the movie. Ultimately, Herzog turned down the offer, and the rest was history.
The Pretty Woman Experience
Many great things came from the movie’s release. As it was shot in Beverly Hills, and the film made so much money, the hotel that many of the scenes were filmed in ended up making the most of its newfound fame and created a Pretty Woman experience. Some of the features attached to this experience included a special VIP tour of Rodeo Drive, as well as a couples spa retreat. At $100,000, the experience wasn’t cheap, but it made sense.
The Shopping Scene Wasn’t Cut
Although one particular scene suffered a series of rewrites, it did eventually end up in the movie. The scene depicts Vivian walking into a boutique in Beverly Hills. Despite the fact that Edward gave her money to do some shopping, the store assistants refused to provide service for her simply because of the way she is dressed. Based on her appearance alone, they assume that she can’t afford anything and tell her to leave the store.
Marshall and the producers were determined to make the scenes as authentic as possible, especially because the movie was set in Beverly Hills. As opposed to sets, the crew filmed as many of the scenes as they could in typical locations. For example, the restaurant scene was filmed in, yes, you guessed it: a restaurant. Referred to in the movie as Voltaire, the real restaurant was called Cicada, which has also been used in movies such as Bruce Almighty and Indecent Proposal.
Who can forget the moment that Vivian tried escargot in the restaurant? Bewildered by the French dish, she accidentally launches it across the room into the hands of one of the waiters. The waiter cheekily says, “it happens all the time.” As a result, Marshall ended up casting the same actor to play the same character and say the same line in 2001’s Princess Diaries. Princess Mia ends up doing exactly the same thing, paving way for the greatest deja vu in Hollywood history.
The Truth Behind Vivian’s Southern Drawl
There were some fantastic ways that characters covered up slip-ups in the movie. There’s one fine example of this when Vivian tells a hotel clerk that she is from Georgia. She backs this up by saying in a southern accent, “well, color me happy!” What made the line even funnier was the fact that Roberts is originally from Georgia. It was a funny little joke that worked on many levels and showed the close attention to detail that director Marshall had.
Ralph Bellamy’s Last Film
For those who are fans of the actor Ralph Bellamy, Pretty Woman was a special experience. The actor sadly passed away in November, 1991, at 87 years of age. It would prove to be his final movie appearance. However, it was the last in a career that spanned over 60 years. The actor was nominated for both an Academy Award and an Emmy and is held in high regard by Gere, Roberts and all the cast who got to work with him.
John Travolta Vs. Richard Gere
One of the most notable actors to have turned down the role of Edward is the one and only, John Travolta. The star of movies such as Grease and Pulp Fiction decided against playing the role as he didn’t think that it would end up being successful. However, this wasn’t the only role that he turned down that eventually went to Richard Gere instead. He also refused to be in the movie American Gigolo, which also did very well.
A Little Bit Of Shakespeare
One awesome thing about Pretty Woman is that it wasn’t afraid to make many cultural references in service of the story. One notable reference is when Edward and Vivian are sitting in a park, and he decides to read a sonnet by Shakespeare to her. It’s as if the movie wasn’t romantic enough. Then, Marshall decides to quote a piece of work by the most romantic writer of all time. It is certainly a beautiful scene.
The Spanish Love The Film
Another interesting detail about Pretty Woman‘s commercial success is about which countries it made the most money in. Surprisingly, it is the most commercially successful movie ever to be shown in Spain. One of the most amazing things about this is that it has had reruns in the Iberian country on nearly 20 separate occasions. It seems like the Spanish can’t get enough of this particular rom-com. Maybe it’s because of its mix of passion and comedy.
Famous Vivian Hopefulls
It wasn’t just Drew Barrymore who was originally considered to portray Vivian. Some of the other notable names to have been in the running for the role include Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Meg Ryan, Madonna, and even Sandra Bullock. These were just handful of the long list of actresses who may have been chosen. Ultimately though, it was Julia Roberts who won the producers over with her big smile, charm, and charisma. We couldn’t imagine anyone else portraying Vivian.
It comes with the territory, but due to the nature of the movie, as well as the premise, the film had to take some big risks. This included Julia Roberts getting into some questionable situations. Since she was playing an escort, it made perfect sense within the context of the movie. There are many scenes in the movie where Roberts has to show a fair amount of skin. Due to this, Gere tried to make her feel more comfortable by running around the set without any clothes on!
All Round Success
One of the other products attached to the movie that did so well was its soundtrack. The music behind the motion picture was released at the same time as the movie and eventually sold three million copies, going triple platinum. One of the hits that topped the Billboard charts was also on the soundtrack – “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette. Also, Roy Orbison’s 1964 song “Oh, Pretty Woman” was part of the soundtrack and was the inspiration behind the movie’s title.
In the scene when Edward gives Vivian her diamond and ruby necklace, decided to use real jewels as opposed to fakes. This was so that the scene would look as authentic as possible. It turns out that Marshall had borrowed the necklace, which was valued at $250,000, from a local jewelry store. However, the store did send a security guard to watch over the jewels at all times to make sure that they didn’t end up getting lost or stolen.
Made In Disney
One of the most ironic things about Pretty Women is that, despite its dark themes, it was produced by Buena Vista, which is now officially Disney. It seems like an odd pairing. However, company president at the time, Jeffrey Katzenberg believed that the producers could subvert the expectations of this movie and turn it into a movie that was more appealing to a wider audience. When you take this into consideration, Kit’s reference to Cinderella doesn’t seem that far-fetched.
Pretty Woman‘s legacy runs so deep that it has even been adapted into a Broadway musical. The production is expected to be released to the public at the end of 2018. In fact, it was Garry Marshall himself and originally screenwriter J.F. Lawton who wrote it together in order to be a natural progression from the original movie; a modern update. “Pretty Woman: The Musical will have the heart, humor, warmth and joy of the film,” producer Paula Wagner said.
Not only did it take multiple takes to film the ending of the movie, but there was also an alternative ending that was conceived by the creators. According to Jeffrey Katzenberg, it was much darker and suggested that Vivian would meet a tragic ending, instead of a happy one. “I can’t tell you how much time was spent debating,” he said. One thing is for sure, the use of such a dark ending may have had a completely different impact on a 1990 audience.
What made Pretty Woman‘s success even more surprising was how low the budget was to create the movie in the first place. “It wasn’t so polished up. It was a little seedier,” Garry Marshall said, in regards to filming the movie in Hollywood. “I had to shoot it fast. We didn’t have a big budget to shoot there.” Also, streetlights were used instead of studio lights in an attempt to keep the budget to a minimum. Turns out that it was worth it.
Steven Seagal Left Production
Believe it or not, Pretty Woman was supposed to have much more action in it. As a result, one of the earliest considerations for the role of Edward went to action star Steven Seagal. The script went through numerous changes and the tone of the movie, as a result, changed considerably. The character of Edward was no longer a good fit based on the previous work that Segal had done. So Segal quit and Gere swooped in.
Although the movie is adored by many, not even the diehard fans can ignore its huge continuity issues. For example, there is one scene where Vivian is enjoying croissants for breakfast at Edward’s penthouse. However, when the camera cuts away and back, the croissant seems to have transformed into a pancake. The movie is full of continuity problems like this. Nevertheless, people have forgiven these over the years and it only adds to the sheer comedy of this charming flick.
Playing With Diamonds
It is arguably one of the most iconic moments in cinema history. Edward presents the stunning diamond and ruby necklace to Vivian. However, it was the moment that Julia Roberts reaches for the necklace and Richard Gere decides to slam the box shut, startling her into hysterics. What many don’t realize is that this was actually a classic example of improvisation. It wasn’t in the script! Marshall knew that it was cinematic gold and left it in the final cut.