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Jennifer Connelly Committed Career Suicide By Saying No to a More Adult and Darker Version of 'Pretty Woman' That Made Julia Roberts a Superstar
2023/09/22

Jennifer Connelly has several career career-defining roles under her belt, making her a Hollywood megastar. She has collaborated with many wonderful directors, after making her debut in Sergio Leone's 1984 crime drama Once Upon a Time in America, which helped her gain much recognition for her future roles.

Connelly has a long list of movies and shows to her name in her decade-spanning career. The Oscar-winning actor, however, rejected some movies that later came out as classics which could be a wonderful addition to her resume. One of those movies is the earlier version of Pretty Woman.

The Earlier Version of Pretty Woman Was Pretty Dark

There is no denying that Pretty Woman launched Julia Roberts' career in the direction that she is now. The beloved movie made her famous and Roberts was also quite fitting to the role. However, the earlier version of the movie was pretty intense and dark, for which the makers had to let go of their early choices for the role, which includes Molly Ringwald, Winona Ryder, and Jennifer Connelly.

The Garry Marshall-directed movie had a whole different version earlier. However, executive producer Laura Ziskin, insisting on a change in the tone of the film, demanded a feel-good ending for the movie. Ziskin said in a 1991 People magazine article,

"I didn't want a movie whose message would be that some nice guy will come along and give you nice clothes and lots of money and make you happy."

Of course, the original idea was yet to take several turns. Originally called 3,000, the movie was written by screenwriter J.F. Lawton, drawing inspiration from films like Wall Street and The Last Detail. Lawton was fond of the darker tone of the movie as he was trying to get a new gig in his struggling period. 

For Disney to pick up the script, Lawton had to change the tone of the film, which was later named Pretty Woman. But then again, the script was too light and had to undergo more changes. Lawton said,

"I was told by the executives that I had lightened it too much. I think they probably would have replaced me anyway, but the reason they claimed to fire me is that I lightened it too much and they were concerned."

Lawton also said that the tone would have been different if Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, who also auditioned for the movie, were finalized.

Pretty Woman was a Big No for Jennifer Connelly

Probably, Connelly would have a whole new career direction if she went for the role of Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman. Still, she has enjoyed her fame and is still active in the industry, and reached tremendous heights of success. Initially, Ringwald,  who was first approached for the role, was uncomfortable playing a prostitute in the film. Connelly was the next go-to choice for the role, but when her agents read the script, they felt it was too dark.

At the time of the development of the movie, Connelly was a rising star. Her remarkable debut movie had set her career path already, but later she made her fame in Seven Minutes In Heaven and Labyrinth. Perhaps, she was careful in choosing her roles. Similar to Ringwald, Connelly also withdrew her name from the movie. As per reports, the Labyrinth actor felt that she was too young to play the role of a prostitute in a movie with such an intensely dark undertone.

Of course, Julia Roberts' version went through a tonal change, otherwise, it could have been Connelly playing Vivian Ward. Something we have seen Connelly embrace fully, in fact, as she polished her career with some dark and intense movie roles. She appeared in Dark City, Waking the Dead, Dark Water, Blood Diamond, and Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller Requiem for a Dream. Further, her Oscar-winning role in A Beautiful Mind as John Nash's wife Alicia Nash was also not a simple dramatic portrayal in the psychologically intense biographical drama. 

Jennifer Connelly last appeared in Top Gun: Maverick as Penny Benjamin and Alice Englert's comedy Bad Behaviour. 

Source: The Things

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