When Pretty Woman first hit theaters in 1990 it was an instant success. It was hard not to fall in love with the sweet Cinderella story about Edward Lewis, the wealthy and serious businessman played by Richard Gere, falling in love with Vivian Ward, a lower-class and good-spirited woman played by Julia Roberts. Despite getting mixed reviews about its slightly controversial subject, the film went on to win several awards and made a total of $463 million at the box office. The movie also served as a big break for both leading actors, who still to this day are remembered for their remarkable performances.
This was the role that set Julia Roberts apart from other leading ladies in Hollywood, not to mention the fact that playing opposite Richard Gere was a boost to his and her career to say the least. This was one of the only films of the time that dealt with women on the streets and what they went through to make money when falling on hard times. Abuse was another topic in the film thanks to the best friend role, but at the end of the day the film was a love story and one that spoke to the hearts of millions of people who went to see the film in the theater, as well as those who ended up buying the movie for their home. However, with the success, there are many unknown events that took place that producers decided was not for the public to know, until now.
That is some impressive Photoshop skills for the 90’s. The world had no idea that the woman on the famous cover of the movie was perhaps Julia’s face but not at all her body. In the film, however, it is 100% Julia in every scene so do not worry about feeling wronged in any way.
It is still surprising to many people that Julia’s face was placed atop a body double in the poster since she has such a great figure and the whole film is about her and the love interest which all started as a physical thing, go figure!
Another film poster difference is that Richard Gere’s hair in the poster is brown and in the film it is actually grey. We are not sure why they did this, perhaps to make him look younger and more in sync with Julia on the poster, but we happen to like the grey hair more.
The grey look makes him appear more authoritative and in line with the job he has in the film that is that of an executive in charge of company mergers, acquisitions, and liquidations. We can’t imagine a brown-haired Richard Gere doing that!
In many films, you will find the director in the film itself in a much smaller role that most people will not notice. This was just the case in Pretty Woman, when director Gary Marshall was in the film itself as a homeless man that gives Edward (Richard Gere) directions when he is asked of them.
Most of the people who saw the film did not notice this little tidbit and we are happy to have been told since it is just a sneak peak into the smaller world of director tricks that we did not know about until now.
Talk about a man with many talents! Richard Gere did not fake his hands over the ivories in the piano playing scene, but was actually playing the piano with all of his own skills. In addition, he composed the very piece he was playing, making it that much more impressive.
Is there anything Richard Gere cannot do? His role in the film was such a monumental one for his career, it is what essentially put him on the map in Hollywood and on track to being the mega star that he is today and the Hollywood heartthrob status he became.
This film was not shot in a studio like most films these days. In the movie, Edward was staying at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, and while many films would have just created a set for the room and possibly shot some scenes in the lobby, Pretty Woman actually shot the entire hotel scenes in the hotel itself and in all of its glory.
The reason many films do not do that has more to do with money as they need to rent out the spaces and also make sure that the hotel is not hurt by the filming on the premises.
When Edward takes Vivian to the opera he takes her to see La Traviata. What makes this a sort of inside joke for the producers and directors is that the opera is about a woman, who just so happens to be a woman who sells her body, falls in love with a rich man.
This seems like the case of art imitating life in the film itself which is all too ironic for this film if you ask the viewers. Vivian’s reaction to the opera is priceless too, go back and watch if you do not remember.
There is something about this film and the love story between Edward and Vivian that spoke to the American public. Pretty Woman is still the highest grossing romantic comedy in the country’s history. It would not have been the same if these two actors did not land the roles of the main stars, so it is really thanks to good writing and good acting that made this film the mega success that it is.
The chemistry between Julia and Richard was undeniable and you could see it through the screen, which made it all the more believable.
There are a lot of little things that we did not know that only producers do. One of them was that the iconic red coat that Vivian wears in the film’s beginning was actually a jacket that the director took from an usher the night before they filmed this scene because he realized just how perfect it was for Julia/Vivian.
She wore that coat to perfection and rocked that scene with Edward that turned their unlikely friendship and business transaction to something much more, and essentially making this plot work and film a success.
The issue of substance abuse is common among women on the streets. This topic was going to be in the film, with Vivian having her own issue with substance abuse, but producers and the director decided to make the film a little more light hearted than originally intended and steered clear from the topic altogether.
We are happy this was the case as we cannot imagine the character any other way than what ended up being, it was such a beautiful love story that there was no room for another angle, Vivian being a call girl was tough enough.
The scene where Edward gives Vivian a diamond necklace and shuts the case on her hand was actually completely improvised by Richard. The reaction we got from Vivian, and Julia playing her, was a real honest to goodness surprised reaction and giant laugh that only Julia knows how to provide.
Richard decided it would be a funny thing to do and it was so good that the director decided to keep it in the film as it was so organic and funny to watch. Julia is a good actress, but this was over the top with how real it was.
Another thing that was real and not fake at all in the film is the necklace the Vivian was wearing around her neck! The necklace itself was worth an astounding $250,000 and came with the jewelers very own body guard to make sure no one took it off Julia and that it did not go anywhere with her that was not a part of the film.
The diamond and ruby necklace was a heavy piece of hardware for Julia to wear during filming and she said she was happy to have it off when the scenes were over.
It is hard to imagine the film with anyone else starring other than Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. However, there was a time when Richard was not the only candidate for the role of Edward. Christopher Reeve, Denzel Washington and Daniel Day-Lewis were all in line for possibly landing the role of Edward and it would have changed the shape of the film entirely.
The calm and smooth nature that Richard Gere gave the role of Edward was unlike any other actor around and would have surely changed the way the film would have been perceived, and how Edward would have been with Vivian.
Thankfully, Richard Gere did indeed get the role as it was also offered to Al Pacino, Albert Brooks and Sylvester Stallone who thankfully turned it down. They had no idea what they were about to miss out on but we are happy that they did turn it down because like we said before, it would have made the movie very different had Richard not been the one to play Edward.
Can you imagine Sylvester Stallone as Edward? We cannot possibly place him in that role. What was meant to be ended up happening as casting was done as it should have been.
Now that we covered who could have played Edward, there were two other names that could have played Vivian yet turned it down – Sandra Bullock and Sarah Jessica Parker. As much as we respect and love both Sandra and Sarah Jessica, this role was meant for someone as lesser known at the time as Julia as she epitomized the role of Vivian.
Sandra and Sarah Jessica would have been wonderful too but they perhaps would not have had the same connection with the leading man and would have held Vivian to a different degree than Julia did.
The team of Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Hector Elizondo and Kathleen Marshall was such a hit that it was not the only time they were in a film together. Nine years after Pretty Woman, these actors appeared together on screen again in Runaway Bride.
The on-screen connection between Gere and Roberts was incredible then too, there is just something about these two working together that was made in movie heaven. Runaway Bride was just another example of how these two are together and what a good actor combo can do in the box office.
Poor Julia was so nervous during the scene where she needed to be naked with Richard that her forehead vein got so big it could not be ignored. The director needed to call “cut” and help her relax as well as rub the vein into relaxation as well.
It is not easy for an actor to be that vulnerable on screen, that is for sure, even if it is a well known and seasoned actress – being naked in front of cast and crew is nerve wrecking to say the least. The scene ended up being a success, though.
This very scene that you are seeing here was a hard one for Julia who was not in the mood to laugh. As dedicated a director as ever, Garry Marshall started tickling Julia to make sure she laughed hard enough at the scene so he could get his perfect shot.
A good director would do anything to make sure his actors are happy but that he also gets what he needs from them to make the scene the perfection that he had in his mind for it. Garry did just that and got all that he needed from Julia.
This is more of a prank than anything else. In the scene where Julia puts her head under the bath water and then comes up to see Edward looking at her, there was one time when she did that and everyone on set left when she brought her head back up, making her all too confused at what had happened.
She took it all in stride and laughed it off, but even the cameraman left her there by herself making her first very confused and then realizing what they were doing to her. All in good spirits, Julia!
For some reason, the song “Kiss” by Prince was not in the films soundtrack despite it being playing in the film. The reason behind this is unknown but there are those who think that it has something to do with the rights to the song and an issue between the film production and the musician’s people.
There is no official remark as to the reason but the song is there and it is perfect in the scene it is in so we can only hope that an updated soundtrack will be released at some point in the future.
Richard is the type of guy who likes to walk and fidget a bit. During filming, however, his character, Edward, was not the type of man who would do such a thing so Garry the director had to instruct Richard not to move about so much and teach him how to stay still so as to make the scene more believable.
Clearly, the instruction all worked out for the best as Richard was the greatest Edward there could have been and there is no qualms about it. Can you tell how passionate we are about Richard as Edward?
Could you imagine Pretty Woman being called $3,000 instead of the title it ended up getting? Well, that was almost what had happened as the original name of the film was indeed $3,000 and only after they got the rights to the film did they change it to Pretty Woman.
The name of the film was a simple one but it made a lot of sense as it was initially about a woman who was all about her looks and later on shown as a deeper character thanks to the love story that changed her life. Pretty Woman indeed!
The red dress that Julia wore, or Vivian wore that is, was one of the most iconic outfits in the whole film as it was such a huge difference from the original outfit that she wore in the beginning of the film.
The red gown, designed by Marilyn Vance-Straker, was custom fitted for Julia’s figure and was a dress of total perfection for Vivian in that moment in the film and the huge step of her going to the opera and wearing a giant diamond and ruby necklace as well. The dress is now synonymous with the glam of the film.
For some reason, Porsche and Ferrari did not want either one of their cars in the film. It seems that at the time they did not think the film was going to do as well as it did. In addition, they also did not like the fact that the film was about a lower class call girl and a rich businessman falling in love.
Little did they know that this was going to be one of the top romantic comedies in the country’s history, they could have made serious advertising spaces for their respective companies.
Speaking of how good the film did, it was nominated for no less than four Golden Globe Awards. The film was taboo in its topics but it all paid off in how it was received by audiences.
The cast and crew were happy to see how it was loved by the public so much and how it became essentially a classic film, with a classic soundtrack, and actors who made this film the base for their careers and a jumping space to an even bigger and better career. Pretty Woman sent everyone to the stratosphere.
It is hard to believe that Disney is the financial backing of this film! This film is indeed a Disney film even though the character being on the streets selling herself of all things. This was a whim for Disney who definitely had to have it pay off and it certainly did considering how incredibly successful the film was and still is.
Wild haired Vivian, and suit wearing Edward were not meant to fall in love but they did and it became the inspirational story for loved ones everywhere that were not always thought to be a match.
There are a few scene discrepancies throughout films everywhere. In Pretty Woman, there is a scene where Edward and Vivian eat breakfast together. In the first part of the scene, Vivian is eating a croissant, where at the second part of the scene she is seen eating pancakes.
While this is not a big deal, it is a difference and it does not make sense but we will forgive the film and the actors for this considering it did not make a difference much and we did not notice much to begin with.
There are so many deleted scenes that you can find online and in the DVD. There is one where Vivian was squeezing ketchup packets when she was eating a super fancy steak dinner, another scene where Edward was about to fight a gang that was trying to take money from Vivian for drugs.
The list goes on and on and we recommend finding them to see them yourself. It shows a whole new light of the behind the scenes of the film and the longer version of what the film was like in its total complete format.
Just like the hotel in the film, the Regent Beverly Wilshire, was truly filmed there, Vivian’s apartment was also the real deal. Her apartment was a part of the Las Palmas Hotel in Los Angeles and it is still there standing. The director and producers wanted it to be a true and authentic Los Angeles experience.
If you want to, there is a whole Pretty Woman tour in Los Angeles that will take you to all of the famous locations where the scenes were shot so you could see it all for yourself.
In addition to Garry being in the film as the director and the homeless man, he also had his daughter, Kathleen in the film. She played the role of the hotel clerk. She also may look familiar as she has been in other films like The Princess Diaries, Valentines Day, and New Years Eve, to name a few.
She always has supporting roles but does so with such class and professionalism that it is perfect on her. This is nepotism as we like it, not too much and not too little.
“What are you going to do? You can’t please everybody. That movie was a fairytale. We did everything but put a glass slipper on. And I’ll tell you something else: for $3,000 a weekend, Richard Gere got a bargain.”
The subject of women selling themselves on the streets of Los Angeles has been a sore spot for many about the film, but Julia said it best when she said that there is nothing you can do about pleasing everybody. She also added her own humor to it, as she does to make it a little bit more relaxed and not such a sore subject.
Many people do not know this but Julia Roberts was a mere 22 years old when the film was released, which is far younger than most thought of her.
She has always been a beauty, that is for sure, but the film made her look a little older and so it was surprising for the public to learn how young she really was especially since she was acting opposite Richard who was far older than her. Here you can see how young she is, this scene is as pure Julia as you can get as she is without the wig and getup.
We already mentioned how the film was supposed to have Vivian battling a substance abuse addiction. Now we also learned that the ending of the film was actually far darker than it ended up being, with Vivian passing away from substance abuse of all things.
In the end, Vivian did not have an issue and she did not pass away. Producers and the director decided to make the film much more light hearted than originally thought it needed to be. The decision was a wise one considering how it was received by audiences.
The film itself did not cost all that much in Hollywood standards, a mere $14 million. While that does sound like a lot of money, take into consideration that the film made $178,406,268 total! That is one seriously incredible profit for a film! The gross profit is huge and the careers of the two leading stars was at an all time high thanks to the film that catapulted them to the stratosphere in Hollywood.
Pretty Woman is an iconic romantic comedy that has yet to see another surpass it in chemistry, quality, and storyline.