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Pretty Woman Alternatives
Anyone who enjoys romantic comedies will know all about "Pretty Woman" the first of the two Julia Roberts & Richard Gere Movies. It's the story of Vivian a hooker who is picked up by Edward a business man and over the course of a week they fall in love. But did you know "Pretty Woman" nearly never happened, or at least not "Pretty Woman" with Julia Roberts & Richard Gere as there were other well known actors & actresses up for the roles and Julia Roberts was by no means the first choice. So who could we have seen taking on the roles of Edward and Vivian those roles which have now become so associated with Julia Roberts & Richard Gere?
First up there is Christopher Reeve, he of "Superman" fame. Can you imagine Christopher Reeve having that charm and chemistry with Julia Roberts which Richard Gere achieved. I admit I can't although Christopher Reeve was a far greater actor than many realised and most certainly would have been more convincing than Richard Gere when it came to being a millionaire business man. But as Christopher Reeve mentions in his biography Still Me, when he went to do a reading for director Gary Marshall, Julia Roberts was unavailable and so the casting director filled in for her. Basically reading from the script without interaction the casting director’s lack of professionalism incensed Reeve and he stormed out in disgust ripping up his script before throwing it to the floor.
Also going for the role of Edward was Al Pacino who when he went to do a reading was more fortunate to be sitting opposite Julia Roberts. But Pacino turned it down and in the end in 1990 when "Pretty Woman" was released had 3 of his own movies released "The Local Stigmatic", "Dick Tracy" and "The Godfather: Part III". Although I think Al Pacino is a great actor I just can't see him as Edward at all, he is far too powerful, to strong which the role didn't call for.
It's also rumoured that Albert Brooks and Sylvester Stallone were also considered for the role of Edward but turned it down whilst John Travolta is rumoured to have gone as far as auditioning. But in the end Richard Gere got the role and it helped to raise his star profile after a few less than spectacular movies.
As for the role of Vivian well there is a long list and I do mean a long list of actresses who were considered for the part, these include: Kim Basinger, Sharon Stone, Carrie Fisher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathleen Turner, Debra Winger, Geena Davis, Heather Locklear, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Joan Cusack, Kelly McGillis, Melanie Griffith, Emma Thompson, Rosanna Arquette, Phoebe Cates, Elisabeth Shue, Tatum O'Neal, Bridget Fonda, Diane Lane and even Madonna. Also Drew Barrymore, Winnona Ryder and Jennifer Connely are reported to have tried out for the role only to be turned down for being too young whilst Sandra Bullock also turned down the role which would undoubtedly have made her a star a few years before she finally achieved it.
But whilst there are many actresses who were considered for the role there were 3 who were most definitely ahead of Julia Roberts in the list these were Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan and Daryl Hannah. Whilst it's unclear why Meg Ryan turned down the role, Molly Ringwald reportedly turned it down because she was uncomfortable with the script and playing a prostitute whilst Daryl Hannah turned it down because she felt it was "degrading to women". In a strange way I could see Meg Ryan in the role as she has one of those expressive faces which can ooze romance but I most definitely couldn't see either Molly Ringwald or Daryl Hannah as Vivian. Anyway in the end it didn't matter as despite not originally wanted by Disney for the role, Julia Roberts was chosen and ended up being nominated for an Oscar as "Best Actress in a Leading Role" her second Oscar nomination following her performance in “Steel Magnolias”.
So "Pretty Woman" could most certainly have looked different with the various actors and actresses who were considered for either the roles of Vivian and Edward. But in fact it could have been a very different movie altogether. Originally "Pretty Woman" was written as a dark drama, one which focused on the seedy world of prostitution in LA at the back end of the 80s. It was also originally intended that Vivian was to be addicted to drugs and part of the deal between her and Edward was that she would stay clean for a week. Needless to say this darker drama was scrapped in favour of a more lightweight fairytale style story and as such we have now one of many people's perennial favourites "Pretty Woman" starring Julia Roberts & Richard Gere.