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Julia Roberts Took a Massive Risk With Her $463.4M Breakout Movie That Was Turned Down by Top Gun 2 Star Jennifer Connelly For Originally Being Too Dark
2023/09/17

Julia Roberts is the queen of romantic comedies, leaving millions of fans gushing over her characters like Elizabeth Gilbert in, Anna Scott in , and Maggie Carpenter in among others.

However, her most famous character to date remains Vivian Ward of . The 1990 movie about a businessman and an escort grossed a staggering $463.4 million at the box office – a figure that is unimaginable for traditional romantic comedies in this era.

Unimaginable is precisely also the word that can be used to describe the transformation the theme of

underwent from its initial version to the one that ended up transforming Roberts’ career.

Why Julia Roberts’ Decision to Star in Pretty Woman Was a Massive Risk

made her big screen debut in the rom-com , but the importance of her character, Daryle, was pretty limited in the Liam Neeson starrer movie. Rather, it was the movie that gave her the center stage and changed her fortunes.

The spirited and generous persona of Roberts that we all know and love was largely influenced by her character Vivian Ward, a prostitute who forms an unlikely pair with businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere).

After Edward hires Vivian to stay with him for the weekend, the two end up falling for each other. The feel-good movie is also seen as a modern version of Cinderella. But the vision of the original script was very different, and darker.

As per , J.F. Lawton’s script was far more adult and even included the death of Roberts’ character instead of the happy ending that we all know. However, as things developed and studio executives – who tend to love happy endings because that’s what usually sells the tickets – got to add their own takes, Lawton’s original story slowly transformed into a classic romantic comedy.

The initial darker theme also wasn’t received well by potential star faces of the movie, and multiple names turned down the project. The movie underwent some changes and Roberts was eventually cast.

For any young talent, it’s very important to wisely pick their roles, as many times their character’s persona or some scenes are so intense that they stick with them through their whole career – akin to Sharon Stone’ . The future Oscar-winning actress, who wasn’t even Disney’s first choice at the time, took the risk and accepted the role of an escort.

Why Molly Ringwald and Jennifer Connelly Turned Down Pretty Woman

star Molly Ringwald passed on a potential opportunity to lead the movie, as she was uncomfortable playing a prostitute.

, who recently graced the big screen in , was among the most sought-after young names at the time and also emerged on the radar of team. However, when she and her agents read the script, it was a lot darker than the final cut. Further, according to Cosmopolitan (via), star, dropped out of the race for the role as she wasn’t too keen on playing a prostitute in such a dark movie.

Regardless, things turned out pretty well for everyone involved, as Roberts was superb as Vivian. She became a household name and the movie absolutely rocked at the box office.

Source: and

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