Buena Vista Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

20 Things You Might Not Know About Pretty Woman

Buena Vista Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

“What’s your dream?” Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman was all about big dreams—Hollywood-sized dreams, in fact—so it seems especially fitting that the 1990 romantic comedy became a smash hit, launching the career of starlet Julia Roberts and forever injecting the idea of the “hooker with a heart of gold” into the pop culture vernacular. Marshall’s movie turns 25 years old today, and to celebrate, we’ve got a giant birthday cake-sized trove of trivia you might not know about this new classic.

1. THE FILM WAS ORIGINALLY MUCH DARKER.

Screenwriter J.F. Lawton’s original script, which was titled 3000, wasn’t a love story—and it didn’t have a happy ending. Instead of a rom-com about two very different people finding love, it was a grittier tale about two damaged individuals who spent a week together that ends in tears and zero hope for a balcony-set reunion scene.

2. THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE FILM ENDED AT DISNEYLAND.

As dark as 3000 was, it ended with Vivian and her best pal Kit headed to The Happiest Place on Earth: Disneyland. That scene was ultimately cut after the film was restyled as a rom-com, but it proved to be weirdly prescient about the feature’s future—the movie was eventually produced by Disney.

3. THE FINAL SCRIPT FOR PRETTY WOMAN WAS WRITTEN BY AT LEAST FOUR SCREENWRITERS.

Although Lawton is the only credited screenwriter on the project—which means he contributed more than half of its content—other scribes took a pass at it in order to turn it into the beloved gem it is today, including Stephen Metcalfe (Cousins), Robert Garland (No Way Out), and Barbara Benedek (The Big Chill).

4. Julia Roberts was interested in the film from the very beginning.

No, really! Lawton’s first version of the story—the darker 3000—was a well-regarded script that was set to be made as it was, before its production company went belly up. Even in its grittier incarnation, the up-and-coming Roberts was interested in the role of Vivian. She was always going to be the pretty woman.

5. Roberts tested against a variety of Hollywood leading men.

They included Sam Neill, Tom Conti, and Charles Grodin. Of course it was Richard Gere who eventually snagged the part of Edward Lewis.

6. The film really was shot at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

It was mostly a matter of convenience; it was the only hotel in Beverly Hills that would allow Marshall to film both inside and outside. (Fans of the movie can book a "Pretty Woman for a Day" stay at the hotel.) Additional scenes were filmed at the nearby Ambassador Hotel—the same Ambassador Hotel where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968—which was demolished in 2005.

7. It's the fourth highest grossing romantic comedy in American history.

With a box office total take of just over $178.4 million, Pretty Woman trails only My Big Fat Greek Wedding, What Women Want, and Hitch, which means it’s still the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the nineties (There’s Something About Mary, which opened in 1998, is just behind it with $176,484,651).

8. Pretty Woman is classified as a “Cinderella Complex” film.

Online box office resource Box Office Mojo places the film within the "Cinderella Complex" category, a genre that also includes Ever After, She’s All That, and The Devil Wears Prada. Pretty Woman is considered the second highest grossing film within the category, right behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

9. Even the original screenplay includes that infamous shopping scene.

One element of the film that remained intact over the course of its many script changes is the scene in which some rude saleswomen at a Beverly Hills boutique refuse to sell to Vivian because they don't think she can afford anything. In 3000, Vivian also goes back to the shop to show off her wares after a more successful shopping excursion, but she doesn’t use that seminal “Big mistake!” line.

10. A woman added in one of the film’s most important final lines.

Producer Laura Ziskin is often credited with turning the film into a fairytale, and while that’s exactly not true (again, there were at least four writers on this feature alone), she did contribute one of the film’s final lines: “She saves him right back,” delivered by an emboldened Vivian on a scuzzy fire escape, after Edward comes to, well, rescue her.

11. That’s not Julia Roberts on the film’s poster.

Although Roberts sports a very familiar outfit on the film’s classic poster, you may notice that the colors of her dress are all wrong (pink and black, instead of white and blue). But there’s something else that’s not quite right: that body does not belong to Roberts! Body double Shelley Michelle posed for the pic, and Roberts’ head was later superimposed onto Michelle's body.

12. The opera that Vivian and Edward attend is La Traviata.

It’s the opera that made Vivian almost pee her pants, it was so good! But it’s also an opera that’s oddly reflective of the story at hand, because La Traviata is also about a prostitute who falls in love with a rich gentleman. That tale ends tragically, however, with courtesan Violetta falling ill with tuberculosis, singing one last song, and dying in her lover’s arms.

13. A lot of would-be stars turned down the film.

They included Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daryl Hannah, Al Pacino, Albert Brooks, Burt Reynolds, and Jeff Bridges. Big mistake. Big! Huge!

14. Director Garry Marshall appears in a cameo. Sort of.

Remember that homeless man that Edward asks for directions early on in the film, before getting hopelessly lost in Hollywood? That’s not Marshall, but it is his voice!

15. The red dress Vivian wears to the opera was designed by Marilyn Vance-Straker.

Vance-Straker also designed costumes for films like Fast Times At Ridgemont High, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

16. Prince’s “Kiss” does not appear on the film’s soundtrack.

Even though Vivian memorably sings along to the song in the hotel’s massive bathtub—complete with kissing sounds—Prince’s “Kiss” doesn’t actually appear on the film’s soundtrack.

17. But the song from which the film takes its title does.

That would be “Oh, Pretty Woman,” by Roy Orbison.

18. The film was nominated for four Golden Globes.

And Roberts actually won for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, beating out Mia Farrow, Andie MacDowell, Demi Moore, and even Meryl Streep! Though Roberts was still a relative newcomer at the time, the award marked her second consecutive Golden Globe; she took home the Best Supporting Actress award one year earlier for Steel Magnolias. Roberts also scored an Oscar nod for her role in Pretty Woman.

19. Vivian’s borrowed necklace was worth a quarter of a million dollars.

The necklace was loaned to the production for filming purposes, and it came complete with its very own security guard, who reportedly stood directly behind Marshall the entire time it was being used on screen.

20. The film’s fancy restaurant scene was shot at a real restaurant.

Back then, the downtown Los Angeles restaurant was called Rex II Ristorante, though it’s now known as Cicada (in the film, it was called The Voltaire). The restaurant has appeared in a number of movies, including Indecent Proposal and Bruce Almighty. Patrons can actually request "The Pretty Woman Table."

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Warner Bros.
19 Shadowy Facts About Tim Burton's Batman
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Superhero movies are bigger than they’ve ever been before, but we arguably wouldn’t be here at all without 1989’s Batman. Produced at a time before comic book movies were considered big business, Tim Burton’s dark look at a superhero then best known for a goofy TV show is a pop culture landmark, and the story of how it was made is almost as interesting as the film itself. So, to celebrate Batman—which was released on this day in 1989—here are 19 facts about how it came to the screen.

1. AN EARLY MOVIE IDEA RELIED ON THE CAMPINESS OF THE CHARACTER.

As development of a Batman movie began, studio executives were still very tied to the campiness embodied by the Batman television series of the 1960s. According to executive producer Michael Uslan, when he first began attempting to get the rights to make a film, he was told that the only studio who’d expressed interest was CBS, and only if they could do a Batman In Outer Space film.

2. IT TOOK 10 YEARS TO MAKE.

Uslan lobbied hard for the rights to Batman, and finally landed them in 1979. At that point, the fight to convince a studio to make the film ensued, and everyone from Columbia Pictures to Universal Pictures turned it down. When Warner Bros. finally agreed to back the film, the issue of developing the right script had to be settled, and that took even more time. In 1989, after years of battling, Batman was finally released, and Uslan has been involved in some form in every Batman film since.

3. AN EARLY SCRIPT FEATURED BOTH THE PENGUIN AND ROBIN.

When Uslan finally got the chance to develop the film, he drafted legendary screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, who had been a consultant on Superman, to write the script. The Mankiewicz script included The Joker, corrupt politician Rupert Thorne, a much greater focus on Bruce Wayne’s origin story, The Penguin, and the arrival of Robin late in the film. The script was ultimately scrapped, but you can see certain elements of it in Batman Returns.

4. TIM BURTON WASN’T THE FIRST POTENTIAL DIRECTOR.

Though Warner Bros. ultimately chose Tim Burton to helm Batman, over the course of the film’s development a number of other choices emerged. At various points on the road to Batman, everyone from Gremlins director Joe Dante to Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman was in line for the gig.

5. MANY STARS OF THE TIME WERE CONSIDERED FOR BATMAN.

The casting process for Batman was a long one, and involved a number of major stars of the day. Among the contenders for the title role were Mel Gibson, Bill Murray (yes, really), Kevin Costner, Willem Dafoe, Tom Selleck, Harrison Ford, Charlie Sheen, Ray Liotta, and Pierce Brosnan, who later regretted turning down the role.

6. TIM BURTON HAD TO FIGHT TO CAST MICHAEL KEATON.

At the time, Michael Keaton was best known for his comedic roles in films like Mr. Mom and Night Shift, so the thought of casting him as a vigilante of the night seemed odd to many. Michael Uslan remembers thinking a prank was being played on him when he heard Keaton’s name pop up. Burton, who’d already worked with Keaton on Beetlejuice, was convinced that Keaton was right for the role, not just because he could portray the obsessive nature of the character, but because he also felt that Keaton was the kind of actor who would need to dress up as a bat in order to scare criminals, while a typical action star would just garner “unintentional laughs” in the suit. Burton ultimately won the argument, and Keaton got an iconic role for two films.

7. JACK NICHOLSON WAS THE FIRST CHOICE FOR THE JOKER, BUT HE WASN’T THE ONLY CHOICE.

From the beginning, Uslan concluded that Jack Nicholson was the perfect choice to play The Joker, and was “walking on air” when the production finally cast him. He certainly wasn’t the only actor considered, though. Among Burton’s considerations were Willem Dafoe, James Woods, Brad Dourif, David Bowie, and Robin Williams (who really wanted the part).

8. TIM BURTON WON JACK NICHOLSON OVER WITH HORSEBACK RIDING.

When Nicholson was asked to discuss playing The Joker, he invited Burton and producer Peter Guber to visit him in Aspen for some horseback riding. When Burton learned that was what they’d be doing, he told Guber “I don’t ride,” to which Guber replied “You do today!” So, a “terrified” Burton got on a horse and rode alongside Nicholson, and the star ultimately agreed to play the Clown Prince of Crime.

9. EDDIE MURPHY WAS ONCE CONSIDERED TO PLAY ROBIN.

Though the character of Robin was ultimately scrapped because it simply didn’t feel like there was room for him in the film, he did appear in early drafts of the script, and at one point producers considered casting Eddie Murphy—who, you must remember, was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1980s—for the role. 

10. SEAN YOUNG WAS THE ORIGINAL VICKI VALE.

Burton initially cast Blade Runner star Sean Young as acclaimed photographer Vicki Vale, who would become Bruce Wayne’s love interest. Young was part of the pre-production process on Batman for several weeks until, while practicing horseback riding for a scene that was ultimately cut, she fell from her horse and was seriously injured. With just a week to go until shooting, producers had to act fast to find a replacement, and decided on Kim Basinger, who essentially joined the production overnight.

11. TIM BURTON WASN’T OFFICIALLY HIRED UNTIL BEETLEJUICE BECAME A HIT.

Though he was basically already a part of the production, Burton wasn’t officially the director of Batman right away. Warner Bros. showed interest in him working on the film after the success of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, but according to Burton they only officially hired him after the first weekend grosses for Beetlejuice came in.

“They were just waiting to see how Beetlejuice did,” Burton said. “They didn’t want to give me that movie unless Beetlejuice was going to be okay. They wouldn’t say that, but that was really the way it was.”

12. DANNY ELFMAN THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO BE FIRED UNTIL HE PLAYED THE MAIN THEME.

Danny Elfman is now considered one of our great movie composers, but at the time Batman was released he didn’t have any blockbuster credits to his name. He recalls meeting with Burton (with whom he had worked on Pee-wee’s Big Adventure) and producer Jon Peters to go over some of the music he’d already written for the film, and feeling “a lot of skepticism” over whether he should be the composer for Batman. It wasn’t until Burton said “Play the march,” and Elfman went into what would become the opening credits theme for the film, that he won Peters over.

“Jon jumped out of his chair, really just almost started dancing around the room,” Elfman said.

13. THE JOKER WASN’T ALWAYS GOING TO KILL BATMAN’S PARENTS.

In the final film, The Joker (then named Jack Napier) is revealed to be the gangster who guns down Bruce Wayne’s parents in the streets of Gotham City. It’s a twist that some comic book fans still dislike, and according to screenwriter Sam Hamm, it definitely wasn’t his fault.

“That was something that Tim had wanted from early on, and I had a bunch of arguments with him and wound up talking him out of it for as long as I was on the script. But, once the script went into production, there was a writer’s strike underway, and so I wasn’t able to be with the production as it was shooting over in London, and they brought in other people.”

Hamm also emphasizes that it was also not his idea to show Alfred letting Vicki Vale into the Batcave.

14. THE CLIMACTIC SCENE WAS WRITTEN MIDWAY THROUGH SHOOTING.

Though much of the film is still derived from Hamm’s script, rewrites continued to happen during shooting, and one of them involved the final confrontation between Batman and The Joker in a Gotham City clock tower. According to co-star Robert Wuhl, the climax was inspired by Jack Nicholson and Jon Peters, who went to see a production of The Phantom of the Opera midway through filming and watched as the Phantom made his final stand in a tower. Together, they somehow determined that a final fight in the tower was what Batman needed.

“The next day, they started writing that scene … the whole ending in the tower,” Wuhl said.

15. MICHAEL KEATON’S BATMAN MOVEMENTS WERE INSPIRED BY THE RESTRICTIONS OF THE COSTUME.

Batman fans still love to make jokes about the original costume, and Michael Keaton’s inability to turn his head (there’s even a dig at that in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight), but the restrictions of the costume actually inspired how Keaton performed as the Dark Knight. In 2014, Keaton revealed that his performance as Batman was heavily influenced by a moment when, while trying to actually turn his head in the suit, he ended up ripping it.

“It really came out of the first time I had to react to something, and this thing was stuck to my face and somebody says something to Batman and I go like this [turning his head] and the whole thing goes, [rriipp]! There was a big f***ing hole over here,” he said. “So I go, well, I've got to get around that, because we've got to shoot this son of a bitch, so I go, 'You know what, Tim [Burton]? He moves like this [like a statue]!’”

“I'm feeling really scared, and then it hit me—I thought, 'Oh, this is perfect! This is perfect.' I mean, this is, like, designed for this kind of really unusual dude, the Bruce Wayne guy, the guy who has this other personality that's really dark and really alone, and really kind of depressed. This is it.”

16. GOTHAM CITY WAS REAL, AND IT WAS EXPENSIVE.

Production designer Anton Furst put a lot of work into the incredibly influential designs for the film’s version of Gotham City, and the production was committed to making them pay off. The production ultimately spent more than $5 million to transform the backlot of London’s Pinewood Studios into Gotham City, and you can see the dedication to practical effects work in the final film.

17. PRINCE WAS PART OF THE PRODUCTION EVEN BEFORE HE JOINED IT.

Batman famously features original songs by Prince, who wrote so much new material for the production that he basically produced a full album. Even before the Purple One was drafted to write for the film, though, he was influencing it. Burton played Prince songs on set during the parade sequence and the Joker’s rampage through the museum.

18. THE FILM’S MARKETING WAS SO EFFECTIVE THAT IT INSPIRED CRIMES.

By the time Batman was actually on its way to release, it was becoming a phenomenon, and the marketing for the film was inspiring a frenzy among fans. People were buying tickets to other films just to see the first trailer, and selling bootleg copies of the early footage. The poster, featuring the iconic logo, was so popular that, according to Uslan, people were breaking into bus stations just to steal it.

19. IT WAS A BOX OFFICE LANDMARK.

Though studio executives resisted the idea of a “dark” Batman movie for years, the film ultimately set a new standard for box office success. It was the first film to ever hit $100 million in 10 days, the biggest film in Warner Bros.’ history at the time, and the box office’s biggest earner of 1989—and that’s not even counting the massive toy and merchandising sales it generated.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Courtesy of Park Circus and MGM
West Side Story Is Returning to Theaters This Weekend
Courtesy of Park Circus and MGM
Courtesy of Park Circus and MGM

As Chris Pratt and a gang of prehistoric creatures get ready to face off against some animated superheroes for this weekend’s box office dominance, an old rivalry is brewing once again on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. West Side Story—Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’s classic big-screen rendering of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical—is returning to cinemas for the first time in nearly 30 years.

As part of TCM’s Big Screen Classics Series, West Side Story will have special screening engagements at more than 600 theaters across the country on Sunday, June 24 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. If you can’t make it this weekend, encores will screen at the same time on Wednesday, June 27. The film—which is being re-released courtesy of TCM, Fathom Events, Park Circus, and Metro Goldwyn Mayer—will be presented in its original widescreen format, and include its original mid-film intermission. (Though its 2.5-hour runtime is practically standard nowadays, that wasn’t the case a half-century ago.) The screening will include an introduction and some post-credit commentary by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz.

West Side Story, which was named Best Picture of 1961, is a musical retelling of Romeo and Juliet that sees star-crossed lovers Maria (Natalie Wood) and Tony (Richard Beymer) navigate the challenges of immigration, racial tension, and inner-city life in mid-century Manhattan—but with lots of singing and dancing. In addition to being named Best Picture, the beloved film took home another nine Oscars, including Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Actress (for George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respectively), and Best Music—obviously.

To find out if West Side Story is screening near you, and to purchase tickets, visit Fathom Events’s website.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios