It's been over 30 years since "Pretty Woman" came out and the film still continues to be a fan favorite. While the movie's premise was a bit eyebrow-raising, Julia Roberts' portrayal of the lovable Vivian Ward had fans falling in love with her. Of course, her co-star Richard Gere's character did fall in love with Ward and the two supposedly lived happily ever after.
"Pretty Woman" almost didn't turn out to be the beloved rom-com we all know. In a joint interview with Roberts, Patricia Arquette told Variety that she had auditioned for the part of Ward. She revealed that the movie was originally called "3,000" and didn't have a happy ending. Roberts got the part but lost the role just days later. "I had no business being in a movie like that. This small movie company folded over the weekend, and by Monday, I didn't have a job," she shared. Thankfully, Disney bought the script and revamped it into a more upbeat film. While Roberts was set as the female lead, there was a need for her male counterpart and the "Steel Magnolias" star had her sights set on Richard Gere — but he needed a push from her to agree to star in "Pretty Woman."
It's hard to imagine anyone other than Richard Gere playing the stoic Edward Lewis in "Pretty Woman," but casting that part took some work. According to Julia Roberts, she and the director, Garry Marshall, couldn't find an actor that would suit the role, per Entertainment Weekly. "Comedians just wanted to play the part ... and it didn't kind of work," she recalled. Roberts and Marshall ended up flying to New York to see Gere and upon arriving at his apartment, the late director left the two actors to talk alone. Roberts shared that she begged Gere, "You have to do this movie. If you don't do this movie, it falls apart and I lose this job. It'd just be terrible!"
In a previous appearance on "Today," Gere revealed the moment Roberts was able to convince him to star in "Pretty Woman" (per the New York Daily News). "She takes a piece of paper, a Post-it. She's writing something and turns it around and pushes it toward me and it said, 'Please say yes.' It was so sweet and I said, 'I just said yes,'" the "Primal Fear" actor shared. Gere initially didn't want the role because he felt like his character was "just a suit." However, he and Roberts ended up making magic on the big screen, and years later, he convinced her to reunite with him for another movie.
"Pretty Woman" became an iconic movie not just for the plot, but because of the undeniable chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. It's hard to believe that the two actors didn't star in another film together but almost ten years after "Pretty Woman," Gere found the perfect script for Roberts. In an interview with Charlie Rose, the "First Knight" star shared how he had read the script for "Runaway Bride" and immediately thought of his former co-star. "It was submitted to me and it made me laugh — read straight through, which is rare. It did make me laugh out loud and [thought], this is Julia," Gere stated. He recalled telling Roberts, "I don't even know if I want this part but it's perfect for you."
Gere ended up convincing Roberts to do the movie with him and together, they enlisted Garry Marshall to direct. "I don't know if I would have done it without Garry. My own safety level and security level with him is so high, along with Julia. That was the way to do it," he shared with E! News. On her movie magic with Gere, Roberts stated, "You can feel it. You feel the banter and the rapport and the timing kind of works. I don't know the reason or the reasons ... I wouldn't want to know because that would mess it up."