If you think about the all-time greatest romantic comedies, chances are Pretty Woman is one of the first that comes to mind. The movie, about a blossoming relationship between wealthy businessman, Edward Lewis, and Hollywood prostitute, Vivian Ward, stars Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and has been a firm favourite since 1990.

Chances are you have watched Pretty Woman countless times – probably more times more than you care to admit. But what do you know about the film?

In this post, I am taking a look at Pretty Woman, to provide a few additional insights into this popular picture. Want to know more? Then read on!

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Calling the shots

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

Pretty Woman was directed by Garry Marshall – the same director behind movies such as Overboard (1988), Beaches (1988), and The Princess Diaries (2001).

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Age is but a number

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

Julia Roberts was 22 years old when Pretty Woman opened in cinemas back in March 1990. The film marked her sixth big screen appearance.

In comparison, Richard Gere was 40 years old. Pretty Woman was Gere’s 17th movie.

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Keeping up appearances

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

Actor Héctor Elizondo played the role of hotel manager, Barnard Thompson in Pretty Woman. Elizondo regularly appeared in movies directed by Garry Marshall, including the director’s final film, Mother’s Day – a picture which also featured Julia Roberts.

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The other women

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

Before Julia Roberts played Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman, Daryl Hannah, Meg Ryan, and Michelle Pfeiffer were all offered the role. Each actress declined the part, with Hannah believing it to be degrading.  

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Who’s that guy?

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

Early into Pretty Woman, actor Hank Azaria makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearance as an unnamed detective. Azaria is probably best known for his work on The Simpsons, where he has voiced multiple characters including Moe, Chief Wiggum, and Apu, amongst others.

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I Love Lucy

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

During a scene in the movie, where Vivian and Edward spend time in Edward’s hotel room, Vivian is watching an episode of classic US sitcom, I Love Lucy. The footage is taken from the fifth season episode, Lucy’s Italian Movie – a favourite amongst Lucy fans.

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It happens all the time

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

During the dinner scene, when Vivian accidentally flicks a snail across the dining room, a waiter catches the snail, then makes the comment, “It happens all the time.” The waiter is played by Allan Kent – the same actor who later appears in The Princess Diaries, and says the exact same line during another dining mishap.

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Caught on camera

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

Before attending a night at the opera, Edward presents Vivian with a case of jewellery. If you’re a fan of the movie, you will recall that Edward quickly closes the lid on the case, causing Vivian to laugh.

Julia Roberts’ reaction in this scene is completely real. During filming, Richard Gere unexpectedly closed the case, much to Roberts’ surprise, causing the actress to burst into laughter.

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Edit this

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures

Raja Gosnell worked as one of the editors on Pretty Woman. Gosnell is now best known for being a director, who has overseen pictures such as Scooby-Doo (2002), and The Smurfs (2011).

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Music man

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

James Newton Howard composed the score for Pretty Woman. Howard has an extensive catalogue of movie scores, including My Girl (1991), Falling Down (1993), Waterworld (1995), Treasure Planet (2002), and The Hunger Games (2012), amongst many others.

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The pop factor  

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

In addition to James Newton Howard’s score, Pretty Woman features a number of hit pop songs including Go West’s ‘King of Wishful Thinking’, Roxette’s ‘It Must Have Been Love’, and Roy Orbison’s ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’.

The inclusion of these pop songs proved so popular, that when the soundtrack was released on CD, it achieved gold, platinum, double platinum, triple platinum, quadruple platinum, and quintuple platinum status in various countries around the world.

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Spot the difference

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

Ever noticed a difference between the Pretty Woman movie poster and the movie itself? If not, look again.

In the movie, Richard Gere has a ‘salt-and-pepper’ look to his hair, in keeping with a man of his age. However, in the poster, Gere’s hair is much darker, with barely any sign of grey.

That’s also not Julia Roberts’ body – it is that of a stand-in. Roberts’ head was superimposed at a later date.

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Award

Image: ©Columbia Pictures

Julia Roberts was praised for her performance in Pretty Woman, leading to the actress picking up Best Actress at the 48th Golden Globe Awards. Roberts was also nominated for Best Actress at the 63rd Academy Awards, but lost out to Kathy Bates for her performance in Misery (1990).

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The show must go on

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

In 2018, due to the continued popularity of the movie, Pretty Woman was adapted into a stage musical. The production made its debut on Broadway during the summer, but closed a year later due to lacklustre reviews.

Despite the poor reviews from critics, the cast picked up three Broadway.com Audience Awards.

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The legacy

Image: ©Buena Vista Pictures

And finally, in 1999, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Héctor Elizondo, and director Garry Marshall, reteamed for another romantic comedy. The film was Runaway Bride, and while it didn’t connect with audiences in the same way as Pretty Woman, it was successful enough at the box office.  

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Pretty Woman. For more movie-related content be sure to check out the recommended reads below.

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