It's the 25th anniversary of Pretty Woman and as a result, we're looking back at the romantic comedy responsible for launching the amazingly successful career of its leading lady Julia Roberts. Among the many interesting details surrounding the Gary Marshall-directed film is the fact that it was initially supposed to be much, much grittier.
In remembering the 1990 film Pretty Woman, fans probably likely recall it as a delightful romance story following the wealthy businessman and silver fox Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), who falls for his incredibly lovable escort with a heart of gold, Vivian Ward (Roberts). While that's essentially what the movie became, it wasn't always so glossy and romantic. In fact the film wasn't even originally supposed to be a romantic comedy, but rather a dark drama. According to Yahoo Movies, the original script written by J.F. Lawton was actually titled $3,000, in reference to the amount of money the characters agree upon for their spending the week together. Doesn't have the same ring to it as Pretty Woman, does it?
Not only did the title of Pretty Woman go through changes, the lead character Vivian made quite a transformation from script to screen as well. Turns out on the page she was initially a coke addict—which may have had something to do with why Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald and Meg Ryan all passed on the role. The character was so offensive, actress Daryl Hannah reportedly called the it degrading to women.
Remnants of the original film's grit can be seen through Vivian's cocaine-addicted twitchy behavior, which Edward repeatedly comments on in numerous scenes. The darker side of the film is also revealed through some of the scenes that hit the cutting room floor, one of which involved a group of drug dealers who attempt to collect their debt by confronting Edward and Vivian—one of them threatening the pair with a skateboard equipped with a pop-out knife. Crafty and dangerous!
Pretty Woman may have been intended to be a darker, more cautionary tale about prostitution and class in Los Angeles but the truth is it benefited greatly from its ultimate transformation into the iconic romantic comedy we know today. Grossing over $450 million dollars, it's difficult to argue it could have come even close to generating that kind of money had it held tightly to its original state. Had Denzel Washington, Daniel Day Lewis, or Al Pacino been cast in the role of Edward (the former two considered, the lattermost turned it down), the film would have, again, likely had a much different tone. Thanks to Marshall, Roberts and Gere we can look back fondly on the now-iconic 90s rom-com... and potentially look forward to it becoming a Broadway musical.