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“Please say yes”: Julia Roberts Had To Beg Co-star To Do $463.4M Film That Went On To Redefine Romantic Comedies in Hollywood

Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy has remained a fan favorite even after its release more than 30 years ago. The success of the movie is frequently attributed to the on-screen chemistry between the attractive Julia Roberts and the charming Richard Gere. But many people are unaware that the Academy Award-winning actress had to go to great lengths to persuade her co-star to accept the role in

Well, can you picture someone else in J. F. Lawton’s scripted movie instead of Gere and Roberts? Despite being relatively unknown at the time, the American Gigolo actor was still chosen for the role of Edward Lewis; in fact, Gere needed some persuasion to accept the part.

How Julia Roberts Got Richard Gere To Star With Her In Pretty Woman?

initially turned down the role before ultimately agreeing to deliver a legendary performance in the 1990 romantic comedy What, then, caused the  actor to reconsider? During the film’s 25th-anniversary celebration on in 2015, he claimed that slipped him the following note while he was on the phone with Garry Marshall one night:

“She turns [the note] around, and she pushes it to me. It said, ‘Please say yes.’ It was so sweet. And I was like ‘miming talking on the phone], I just said yes.’”

Roberts then related a similar story about how she wished Gere would take the role in . She recalled visiting the actor’s apartment with Garry Marshall, where the director had instructed the actors to discuss the role privately.

She confessed to pleading with Gere (via ):

“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!” 

Later, in 1999, the two collaborated to appear in

What Else You Need To Know About Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman

Garry Marshall was initially hesitant to cast Julia Roberts because she lacked experience when he started casting for the role of Vivian Ward in When she finally got a screen test, the director told in 2009, “She popped off the screen” and then he realized she was ideal for the movie.

A fun fact about is that it was originally intended to be a much darker art movie with a less-than-happy ending. Patricia Arquette and Julia Roberts talked about how they prepared for their roles in the original script, in a joint interview with

Arquette, who made her feature film debut in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors , recalled (via ): 

“Most people don’t know that ‘3,000’ was the original Pretty Woman script. And the ending was really heavy.”

Roberts went on to explain that in the original ending, the male protagonist,

“Threw her out of the car, threw the money on top of her, as memory serves, and just drove away, leaving her in some dirty alley.” 

Fortunately, the script was acquired by Disney, and a much lighter tone was pursued.

It is difficult to imagine that the two actors did not collaborate once again, but nearly ten years after Richard Gere discovered the ideal script for Roberts. The actor confessed to that he thought of his former co-star as soon as he read the script of

“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.”

 He remembered saying to Roberts:

“I don’t even know if I want this part but it’s perfect for you.”

Gere ultimately persuaded Roberts to join him in , and the two succeeded in hiring Garry Marshall to helm it. The former shared with

“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.”

Next up for Julia Roberts is the upcoming psychological thriller which Sam Esmail wrote, directed, and produced.  Meanwhile, Richard Gere will next be seen in a comedy-drama written and directed by Savi Gabizon. 

 Stream on DIRECTV. 

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