It’s been 30 years since Pretty Woman hit theaters, but it turns out, it was almost a very different film!
“The original script had gone to Sundance, it was prestigious, it was viewed as serious art, so it was allowed to touch into this area of sexuality and money and prostitution and all of that,” screenwriter J.F. Lawton told Vanity Fair in 2015. “It gave Hollywood permission to do it, and then [director] Garry [Marshall] was smart enough, because he’s got incredible pop instincts, to say, ‘OK, this is what people want to see — they want to see the fairy tale.'”
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere starred in the movie, which was released on March 23, 1990, but several other actors were up for the parts of Vivian and Edward, including Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino.
“They had auditioned Al Pacino, they had auditioned Michelle Pfeiffer, and it would definitely have been a different movie if had it been Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer,” Lawton explained. “It might have been closer to the original script and maybe not have had a happy ending. But the chemistry between Julia and Gere, it is palpable on the screen, it was palpable in auditions. You can’t really see how it could end any other way, because they just light up with each other.”
The film ultimately followed Edward, a wealthy businessman, hiring (and subsequently falling for) Vivian, a prostitute.
Director Marshall, for his part, wanted to be sure the film kept some edge, but told a love story.
“My vision was a combination of fairytales. Julia was Rapunzel, Richard was Prince Charming and Hector [Elizondo] was the fairy godmother,” Marshall told VF. “It didn’t seem like a vision everybody would have, but I did.”
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