Julia Roberts says the original ending for “Pretty Woman” had her character thrown out of a car and left in a “dirty alley.”
The actress sat down with Patricia Arquette for Variety’s Actors on Actors series. The two exchanged questions with one another about their respective careers.
During the talk, Roberts revealed that the 1990 romantic comedy that skyrocketed her to stardom had a much different ending than the one fans remember.
“Pretty Woman” had Roberts playing a prostitute with a heart of gold named Vivian Ward. Ricard Gere played her rich businessman suitor, Edward Lewis, who meets her and falls in love.
Her occupation wasn’t issue with the ending having Gere’s character climbing a fire escape to proclaim his love.
In the interview, Arquette spoke about how she had auditioned for Roberts’ role as Vivian. The script written by J.F. Lawton was first called “3,000” before being renamed “Pretty Woman.”
They talked about how the original script was very dark and not a romantic comedy. The ending was “really heavy” and “really like a dark gritty art movie.”
The ending of the script had Roberts character thrown out of a car with money thrown at her, with her left in some “dirty alley.” It was a far cry from the romantic ending audiences ended up with.
Roberts locked down the role in the gritty version but the movie company behind it folded. She briefly lost the role after the project fell apart.
A sole producer decided to stay on the project and it somehow ended at Disney. Disney hired director Gary Marshall for the role, and he decided to be kind and bring in Roberts (thinking it was the right thing to do since she originally had the role.)
The two hit it off at the meeting and the script was completely reworked. The rest is film history.
Interesting to note, the screenwriter, J.F. Lawton, would go on to write the 1992 film “Under Siege” starring Steven Seagal and Tommy Lee Jones.
In a 2015 Vanity Fair interview, Lawton said the original ending was different than what Roberts recalled with Arquette. He said Richards and Gere didn’t end up together but the end was her on a bus with her best friend.