PRETTY WOMAN was so nearly nothing like the optimistic romantic comedy audiences have fallen for since its release in 1990, and the female protagonist almost didn't survive, never mind live happily ever after.
“I can’t tell you how much time was spent debating,” former Disney studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg, during whose tenure the film was made, told Page Six. “As a script, Pretty Woman was an R-rated movie about a hooker on Hollywood Boulevard. By the way, in the original version - it’s pretty dark - I think she died of an overdose. So, convincing people that we should make that at the Walt Disney Company, and that it’s a fairy tale and a princess movie, a lot of people had a hard time seeing it. But, as they say, the rest is history.”
The film grossed almost $500 million worldwide, from a rumoured budget of less than $15 million, so it appears the gamble paid off – albeit with a few script tweaks.Pretty Woman's Enduring Appeal
Pretty Woman's Enduring Appeal
It’s not the first time that an alternative ending for the film has been revealed. The movie’s scriptwriter, JF Lawton, told last year of how the film he pitched to studios did not feature the happy ending we’ve come to know and love (where he "rescues her" and she "rescues him right back"). He shared that Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer were in the running for the lead roles, but that when Julia Roberts and Richard Gere were cast, their chemistry was so “palpable” that the characters just had to end up together.
“You can't really see how it could end any other way,” he said, “because they just light up with each other."