In the 1990 romantic comedy Julia played prostitute Vivian Ward, who falls in love with businessman Edward Lewis, played by Richard Gere, after being hired as his escort for a week. At the end, Edward realizes he’s also in love with her and switches his travel plans to make a detour to her apartment.
But according to former Disney executiveJeffrey Katzenberg, the movie originally had a much darker ending.
“I can’t tell you how much time was spent debating,” he said during a Q&A in New York, reports New York Post gossip column Page Six. “As a script, Pretty Woman was an R-rated movie about a hooker on Hollywood Boulevard. By the way, in the original version – it’s pretty dark – I think she died of an overdose.
“So convincing (executives) that we should make that at the Walt Disney Co., and that it’s a fairy tale and a princess movie, a lot of people had a hard time seeing it. But, as they say, the rest is history.”
Julia, then 21, had already had some movie success, but the romantic comedy launched her to superstardom and landed her a Best Actress Oscar nomination.
Richard turned down the part several times but it wasn’t until he met Julia, after a number of actress had declined the role, that he decided to sign on.
During their 25th anniversary celebration interview on Today in 2015, Richard recalled Julia giving him a Post-it note asking him to say yes during their first meeting.
During the interview the actress also revealed how it was supposed to end when she first read the script, saying, “Richard’s character threw my character out of the car, threw the money on top of her and drove away and the credits rolled.”