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"There was something icky about it": Not Just Jennifer Connelly, Julia Roberts Owes Her Breakout Performance to Molly Ringwald for Turning Down $463M Movie for Being Too Dark

The 1990 romcom Pretty Woman was indeed a breakout role for Julia Roberts, as the film not only won praises and accolades but also turned Roberts into the overnight American sweetheart. Appearing alongside the suave Richard Gere, the actress soon turned into a Hollywood icon and climbed the ladder to success. 

However, Julia Roberts certainly owes her breakout performance to two Hollywood A-listers. Because, before the role of the struggling prostitute Vivian Ward went to Roberts, it was offered to Molly Ringwald and Jennifer Connelly. But eventually as both the actress were ruled out, Roberts landed the $463M movie. 

Molly Ringwald Turned Down Julia Roberts’ Movie 

The actress who dominated the entertainment industry during the 80s, following her phenomenal performance in films like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club , Molly Ringwald doesn’t really regret her career decisions. And certainly not the decision to turn down the 1990 rom-com Pretty Woman , which turned into a breakout role for . 

During an interview with , Molly Ringwald spoke about the $463M movie that earned Roberts an Academy Award nomination in 1991. Discussing why exactly she turned down the movie, Ringwald began by stating, “ Julia Roberts was wonderful in it, but I didn’t really like the story


“Even then, I felt like there was something icky about it.” 

Finding the story of the struggling s*x worker Vivian Ward hired by a businessman to be his date, too dark for herself, Molly Ringwald mentioned turning it down. But she wasn’t the only actress who was being sought after for the role before Julia Roberts finally bagged it. Apparently, there were Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder as well. 

Jennifer Connelly Was Too Young To Play A Prostitute 

The original screenplay for 1990’s Pretty Woman , penned by J.F. Lawton was supposed to be extremely dark and gritty. However, eventually, the final version had to tone it down from being a pure adult-themed movie intended to portray a sinister allegory about corporate greed. And while the movie went through several phases of changes, it also went through myriads of auditions for the lead role. 

After seeking Molly Ringwald to play Vivian Ward, when the actress turned down the $463M offer, it went to who was 19 years old back then. However, considering her age, and the adult theme of the movie, director Garry Marshall mentioned rejecting Connelly. According to Collider , Marshall felt that Connelly was too young to portray a p*ostitute. 

The same happened to as she was 18 years old when she auditioned for the role of Vivian Ward. Thus, Garry Marshall refused to feature both, Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder, because of their extremely young age to play the role of a s*x worker. Therefore, with no one suitable to feature in the movie, the role eventually went to Julia Roberts. 

Pretty Woman streaming on Amazon Prime. 

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