“What's your name?” “What do you want it to be?”
"I probably would have brought the movie down. When I saw the movie, which I thought was terrific, I couldn't see myself in that part. Richard Gere really did it well. I didn't feel I could have done that. "
"It's strange to talk about vulnerability and innocence with a guy who's played the foremost killers on the American screen," said the director. "But he's so pure and honest and artistic, it's a little like Don Quixote walking through Hollywood."
The original script was called 3,000 and the Wall Street corporate raider hiring a hooker for a week at $3,000 was... Al Fuckin' Pacino...!
“You and I are both such similar people,” he says.
“We both screw people for money.”
That film, therefore, would have been rather different, darker, bleaker, than the runaway, light, glossy hit it became.
"The early draft I saw didn't work on the page," said the very literate Meg Ryan, an ex-journalism student at NYU. "The film turned out well because of Julia, not because of the script. She elevated it. But listen, I have to look at things the way they read. We all do."
Once Pacino pulled out (“I would have ruined it”), Warren Beatty was mentioned. But his movie income still allowed him to be choosey. He had amassed $30m - doubled by pal Nicholson with just one movie, Batman.
Next, Christopher Reeve had talks. But shocked to find his reading was he split, complaining of unprofessionalism. And he would not have been happy with director Garry Marshall’s instructions to Richard Gere: “In this movie, one of you moves. And one of you doesn't. Guess which one you are?”
It was Disney's Jeff Katzenberg who phoned Gere: "I got this script - a cross between My Fair Lady and Wall Street." He passed - until his agent, the legendary Ed Limato begged him to change his decision. Gere gave in because Limato was ‘the best of the best... the most respected agent of our time.”
During four years of gestation, Julia Roberts remained the hooker in question - once almost opposite Sean Connery. (They were later due for a (cancelled) re-make of The Ghost and Mrs Muir. Shame.) Roberts or not, various other girls were seen and, usually, shouted their way out of the role. “I owe my career to Garry Marshall,” said Julia. “There was no known reason for him to hire me.. and even he was puzzled by his decision.” Roberts or not, various other girls were seen and, usually, shouted their way out of the role. For Jennifer Jason Leigh:
“The script was so dark, I couldn’t believe
Disney was making it. And, of course, they didn’t.
Instead, they turned it into a recruiting film...
the Top Gun of prostitution.”
Garry Marshall got another earful when he contacted the eyeful. "The script infuriated me," Darryl Hannah told him. "On a very specific level, this was a love story. But it's not. It's not! It's a kick in the teeth to the whole idea of moving along the women's movement... [Unlike her stripper in Dancing At The Blue Iguana, 2000. Or her Whore, 2004].
"What the film had to say was incredibly, subliminally irresponsible and destructive. I told Garry that telling girls that being a prostitute while deciding on a career is OK because you might meet your Prince Charming was just unbelievable. It was so, so disturbing."
Lori Petty rejected the sanitized hooker tale to make... Cadillac Man. Hah!
An amazed Garry Marshall said: “I always thought Pretty Woman was Pygmalion.”
He had lost Jennifer Jason Leigh by making another asinine, macho mistake. He believed the hooker "had been doing this for so long, she's having fun!"
"Fun?" yelled Leigh. "What can be fun about getting in a car with some 60-year-old and giving him a blow job?"