Pretty Woman: Movie Secrets We Didn't Know About

Oct 17, 2021James Montalvo

On March 23, 2020, "Pretty Woman" turned thirty years old. The romantic comedy about a lady of the night and a wealthy, white-collar man falling in love is one of the most beloved rom-coms ever. And in true thirty-but-flirty fashion, we've uncovered some enjoyable facts about the movie that would shock even the film's biggest fans.

Image Source: Getty Images/Buena Vista

IT'S A PRODUCT OF THE MOUSE HOUSE

When you think Disney, you probably imagine glitter, cartoons, and family-friendly programs. So it might be hard to believe that "Pretty Woman," a movie about a streetwalker is a Disney movie. Believe it or not, it is. A lot of the shooting took place inside Walt Disney Studios. That's not all Disney had to do with it, though.

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Image Source: Getty Images/Buena Vista

THE DISNEY EFFECT

Moreover, Walt Disney Studios head honcho, Jeffrey Katzenberg, had the film re-written as a modern-day fairy tale and love story instead of its darker tone when they bought the rights of the movie. They also wanted to make another change to the film that would've changed the entire film altogether.

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NO JULIA? NO WAY!

Can you imagine someone else as the lead actress of the film? Julia Roberts was perfect, right? Disney had other ideas, though. Luckily, the film's director was adamant about having Roberts as the lead. "Pretty Woman" is still Disney's highest-grossing R-rated release. It almost had a different title too!

Image Source: Getty Images/Jon Kopaloff

OTHER ACTRESSES CONSIDERED

It's normal for filmmakers to consider several actors for a role before really deciding on one. Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Drew Barrymore were all part of the shortlist of actresses who were considered to play Vivian before they settled with Julia Roberts. 

Image Source: Getty Images/Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for GLSEN

$3000

The film's original title was $3000, after the amount of money Edward and Vivian agree on for the "week-long" job. Would you have watched a movie with this title? I don't think I would have. Thankfully, they settled on a better title in "Pretty Woman." The production also had some interruptions while filming.

Image Source: Touchstone Pictures/Pretty Woman

JULIE'S DOG

Julia Roberts is a big dog lover. She brought her dog along with her during the filming days of the movie. The pup was on the set so often that it was also around during the shooting of the intimate scenes and interrupted filming quite often. Talking about intimate scenes, they're quite awkward.

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GOTTA HAVE COMPOSURE

One can imagine that lovemaking scenes are awkward to shoot. Surprisingly, even the best actors get awkward too. Julia Roberts reportedly got so nervous, that she broke out in hives, popped a vein on her forehead. Richard Gere had to give her a massage to calm her down. Though, who wouldn't calm down from a massage from him? Gere almost didn't get on board either, here's how he was convinced.

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IT WAS A CASTING MATTER

A bunch of actors was considered for the role of Edward. Richard Gere's Edward was almost John Travolta, Christopher Reeve, and Denzel Washington for a time. Filmmakers were ultimately convinced that Gere was the man for the job. The only problem was that the actor wasn't 100% convinced that the role was for him.

Image Source: Getty Images/Elisabetta A. Villa

IT WAS ALL THANKS TO JULIA

In fact, Gere turned the role of Edward down more than once. Finally, Garry Marshall sent Roberts to the actor’s apartment to convince him to change his mind. Gere was stunned by the then-young and rising Roberts, who pushed him a note saying, “please say yes." The actor said the gesture "was so sweet.” This lead to a lot of fun times during filming.

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FUN ON SET

One of the most talked-about scenes in the movie is the one where Edward gives Vivian, who is wearing a stunning red dress, a diamond necklace to wear. In the scene, Edward plays a little trick on Vivian while showing her the piece of jewelry. As it turns out, Roberts had no idea the trick was coming.

Image Source: Touchstone Pictures/Pretty Woman

A SNAPPY BOX

In the scene, Gere closed the box suddenly to make it look like it was snapping at her. Vivan or Roberts suddenly bursts into laughter. That was actually an unscripted prank the actor planned with the director, Gary Marshall. The director also did a lot to get genuine reactions from his actors.

Image Source: Touchstone Pictures/Pretty Woman

FAIR PLAY TO YOU MR. MARSHALL

Getting the right kind of emotions or genuine reactions from actors is crucial for a director. In the scene where Vivian is watching "I Love Lucy", Marshall found it difficult to get Roberts to laugh genuinely. The director decided to position himself off-camera and proceeded to tickle the actress's feet. The whole crew also got into messing with the then-young Julia Roberts.

Image Source: Getty Images/A.M.P.A.S./Matt Petit - Handout

MORE FUN ON SET

The film crew also got in the spirit of playing pranks on each other on set. In the scene where Vivian dunks herself in the bathtub out of pure excitement at the recently made deal with Edward, the crew decided to play a trick on the actress. When she went under the water they all got out of sight! When the actress went up for air, the whole set was empty. Good one, guys! There were also a few blunders on set.

Image Source: Touchstone Pictures/Pretty Woman

THE VIVIAN ALMOST DIDN'T HAPPEN

One of the characters' outfits has gone on to be a pop-culture symbol. "The Vivian" as it's called by Bustle, Robert's character's iconic look, almost never happened. The red jacket slung over Vivian's mini dress and thigh boots was a last-minute addition to the ensemble. The costume crew literally paid a bystander $50 for the jacket. In one instance, an actor also got his tooth knocked out.

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YOU GUYS ARE SUPPOSED TO PRETEND

In the film's climax, Richard Gere and Jason Alexander's characters get into a big fight. The actors were so into the scene that they went a little overboard during the scene. Gere took a big hit and lost a crown on his tooth. He still managed to finish the scene with the crown in his mouth. There were also things that happened that were totally out of their control.

Image Source: Getty Images/Hand in Hand/Theo Wargo

IT WAS AN ACT OF GOD

The scene in the film where Vivian and Edward arrive at the opera was meant to be in San Francisco. However, in a true act of god, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the city. In the interest of safety, the filmmakers decided to use the University of Southern California’s history museum for exterior shots instead. In other ways, they just took whatever they could get.

Image Source: Touchstone Pictures/Pretty Woman

WHICH CAR SHOULD IT HAVE BEEN

With a white collar, wall street type guy like Edward, it's almost expected for him to have a sports car. A Ferrari or a Porsche, right? Unfortunately, neither of those two brands wanted their cars to be used for picking up a streetwalker. Lotus took the opportunity instead and used their Esprit model. Orders for the car tripled after the film's release. This was just one side effect of the movie's success.

Image Source: Getty Images/Buena Vista

TALK ABOUT BOX OFFICE BLOWOUTS

The film's production only cost $14 million. When it was released the film got a mixed reception from critics. Despite this, "Pretty Woman" grossed $463 million worldwide. The film went on to be one of the highest-grossing films of that year and is now the fourth most successful romantic comedy of all time. Here's what critics thought.

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A GREAT DEAL IF YOU ASK ME

The first few things critics slammed the film for was the glorification of streetwalking. On these early reviews, Roberts told The Guardian, "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." Though the film originally did have a darker tone that would've made it a totally different movie.

Image Source: Getty Images/Buena Vista

THE MOVIE'S DARK PAST

As we mentioned earlier Disney had the film's original and darker tone re-written to suit their image for it. The story of $3000, written by J.F. Lawton, saw Vivian as a substance-addicted streetwalker who is rescued for a week by Edward and then returned to the streets. Of course, this was Disney, so we got a totally different experience.

Image Source: Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown

THERE'S A PRETTY WOMAN EXPERIENCE

No, it's not what you're thinking. No picking up of streetwalkers in this deal. However, for the movie's 25th anniversary, The Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which was one of the settings in the film, launched a Pretty Woman experience package. Die-hard fans of the film could live like Vivian and Edward for a short bit if they could afford its price tag.

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DO YOU THINK IT'S WORTH IT?

The experience included accommodations at the Presidential, aka Pretty Woman Suite, a Rolls-Royce ferried trip to a picnic, a shopping consultation on Rodeo Drive, and an evening at the LA Opera. Sounds exactly like the romantic weekend that Vivian and Edward spent right? If only $100,000 could be picked up anywhere.

Image Source: Getty Images/Buena Vista

Be honest, how many times have you seen "Pretty Woman"? Did you already know any of these facts about the movie before reading the article? Let us know in the comment section. Make sure to share this article with someone you know who really loves Julia Roberts or Richard Gere or "Pretty Woman". 

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