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"Boy did she pop off": Disney Producers Did Not Want Julia Roberts as the 'Pretty Woman’, Rejected Winona Ryder Because of Her Age!

From Pretty Woman to Ticket to Paradise, Julia Roberts has starred in many memorable movies. She's earned her title as the queen of romantic comedies for a reason: her career has been defined by her roles in some of the genre's most iconic films.

One may call Pretty Woman the watershed moment of her career, as the movie had the potential to make or break her career. And the star was very well aware of the importance of this movie. However, the makers of the movie didn't want Roberts in the lead role, so she took matters into her own hands and got it back just in time.

Julia Roberts was not the first choice for Pretty Woman

Drew Barrymore, Brooke Shields, Meg Ryan, Uma Thurman, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder were among the actresses who auditioned for the character of Vivian. In fact, Animal House star Karen Allen was the first choice, but she turned it down. And Ryder was not chosen because the producers thought she looked too young for the role.

Following that, Julia Roberts auditioned for the role, but the director was hesitant to cast her because of her inexperience. Mystic Pizza (1988) was the only film in which she had appeared at that time, and Steel Magnolias (1989) was yet-to-be-released.

But her great performance changed the minds of the makers, and she was cast in the movie. While talking about her screen test to she knows, Director Garry Marshall said, "After meeting her – in those days we screen tested and she popped off the screen. Not so much in person. She seemed like a nice, smart, pretty girl. Once she got a camera on her, boy did she pop off".   

Julia Roberts convinced Richard Gere to take the role

It was just as challenging to cast the film's male lead as it had been to cast the film's female lead. Many actors, including Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Daniel Day-Lewis, Kevin Kline, and Denzel Washington, were considered for the role, but they were not interested.

Garry Marshall approached Richard Gere for the role of Edward, but he declined the role. However, Garry's inclusion became possible after Julia Roberts was cast in the lead.

Marshall and Roberts flew down to New York to convince Gere. Marshall gave them some alone time, and during that time, Roberts pretty much begged Gere to take the part.

When Marshall asked Roberts, "How's it going?" through the phone, she slipped a note to Gere that read, "Please say yes." The actor thought it was sweet and accepted the role.

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