Easily one of the best actors of her generation, Jennifer Jason Leigh is the kind of star who is willing to sacrifice for a role. On top of being an extremely talented actor, Leigh's personal life also is fascinating including her journey to motherhood and how outspoken she can be.
One perfect example of Leigh's willingness to say things that most movie stars wouldn't is what she once stated about the movie Pretty Woman. After it was revealed that she turned down the chance to star in one of the early-'90s most beloved rom-coms, Leigh made it clear she is proud that she didn't star in Pretty Woman.
Between her roles in Mystic Pizza and Steel Magnolias, Julia Roberts' career was starting to take off in the late-'80s. Still, when the year 1990 dawned, it was entirely possible that Roberts could soon disappear from Hollywood and only be remembered as a footnote.
Once Pretty Woman was released in the year 1990, however, Roberts became a superstar overnight. The reason for that is millions of people were so charmed by Roberts' performance that she became America's Sweetheart virtually overnight.
Since fans loved Roberts in Pretty Woman so much, she went on to star in a slew of other popular rom-coms in the years that followed. That is all the more remarkable now that it seems like Roberts has no interest in headlining rom-coms anytime soon.
On top of making Roberts incredibly famous, Pretty Woman has gone on to be considered one of the best rom-coms of all time. Incredibly successful both commercially and critically, Pretty Woman remains popular decades after it was released.
Considering the incredible legacy that Pretty Woman has, it is amazing to know how different the movie could have been. As it turns out, several other actors were in the running including Diane Lane who once recalled how different the movie's plot almost was.
"It was a very different show. It kind of got Disney-fied. And what happened was, it turned out to be a feel-good movie. Originally, this crazy b**ch was kicked out of a rolling limo at the end because she thought that this guy was really in love with her. She was only hired for the weekend. And I had such compassion for her. I think this movie needs to get made."
In 2016, another actor spoke to The National Post about how close they came to starring in Pretty Woman. According to The National Post, Jennifer Jason Leigh was offered the chance to star in Pretty Woman and turned it down.
Given what Pretty Woman did for Roberts' career, it would be very understandable if Leigh was full of regret that she passed on it. However, according to what Leigh told The National Post, she is extremely happy that she didn't star in Pretty Woman.
More than that, based on what Leigh said about Pretty Woman, it is very clear that she has big problems with the film.
While she was talking about Pretty Woman, Leigh started out by bringing up a scene that was originally featured in the script. To say that the scene would have completely changed the movie's tone is a huge understatement.
According to what Leigh told The National Post, the script for Pretty Woman originally included a scene the main character shared with an old client. When Leigh auditioned for the film, she was asked to perform that scene, and she says the movie's director said something very problematic to her.
"The director was like, 'Let's do it again with a little more twinkle, it's still fun for her.' I said, 'Really, fun for her?' " Leigh then went on to say that she told the director that people who make money the way Pretty Woman's main character does don't find their job "fun".
Clearly, that audition understandably stuck with Leigh for years since she spoke about it so many years later. Leigh also went on express her opinion that Pretty Woman is a "recruitment film" for a dangerous profession before remarking that the movie is like "a Cinderella story." Based on those comments, it is very clear that Leigh finds Pretty Woman to be distasteful at the very least.
Now that it has been years since Pretty Woman became a huge hit, it is hard to imagine anyone other than Julia Roberts in the main role. As it turns out, however, many of the most famous actresses from during the late-'80s were in the running to star in the film.
Even knowing that so many actors auditioned for Pretty Woman, it is amazing to learn about the other stars who were in the running. On top of Jennifer Jason Leigh and Diane Lane, two other huge stars at the time auditioned for Julia Roberts' role.
Amazingly enough, Drew Barrymore was one of the actors who auditioned to star in Pretty Woman. While Barrymore has become an entertainment industry mainstay, she was only fourteen years old when she was considered for Roberts' Pretty Woman role.
One of the other actors who auditioned for Pretty Woman but didn't get it was Winona Ryder. While Ryder wasn't as young as Barrymore was, she was almost exactly four years younger than Roberts, and she starred as a teen in Edward Scissorhands which was released in 1990.
Ultimately, director Garry Marshall decided that neither Barrymore nor Ryder was a good fit for Pretty Woman. Unsurprisingly, it has been reported that Marshall concluded that they both were too young for the movie.
In April 2023, Molly Ringwald was interviewed by The Guardian. During that conversation, the former Brat Packer spoke about the fact that she too was in the running to star in Pretty Woman. After praising Julia Roberts' Pretty Woman performance, Ringwald went on to express why she found Pretty Woman's script creepy.
"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."