30 facts you didn’t know about mega blockbuster Pretty Woman blockbuster

It is one of the most successful romantic comedies ever made and 30 years ago, Pretty Woman became an instant hit with its captivating tale of businessman Edward falling for prostitute Vivian, played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

To celebrate the anniversary and the newly-opened musical, here are 30 fascinating facts about the much-loved movie.

1. Pretty Woman was almost titled $3,000, which referred to the money Edward agreed to pay Vivian to spend the night.

2. The movie was far from a romcom – it was meant to be a dark and cautionary tale about sex work in Los Angeles.

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3. The original ending had Vivian thrown out of Edward’s car after a dispute. The final edit ended with Edward climbing up the fire escape with roses in hand to woo Vivian, with the sounds of the opera playing in the background.

4. Roberts was originally cast in Pretty Woman but when the movie rights were switched to Disney, she fell out of favour and Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sandra Bullock were considered. They turned down the part.

5. When director Garry Marshall later joined the production he reinstated Roberts as his leading lady.

6. Actors who could have played Edward included John Travolta, Christopher Reeve and Denzel Washington.

7. Gere turned down the role of Edward several times but Garry Marshall sent Roberts to the actor’s apartment to change his mind. Gere later explained he was mesmerised by the young star, who pushed him a note saying, “please say yes” when Marshall called him for an update. “It was so sweet,” he recalled.

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8. The famous poster of Gere and Roberts features the actress’s head superimposed on to her body double, Shelley Michelle.

9. Gere has jet black hair on the poster but in the movie it’s definitely grey.

10. The necklace worn by Roberts at the opera was worth £200,000. The custom-made piece by French jeweller Fred Joaillier was crafted from 23 pear-cut rubies, surrounded by diamond-encrusted hearts which were set in 18 carat white gold.

11. An armed security guard stood behind director Marshall to protect the necklace.

12. One of the most memorable moments in the movie, when Edward snapped down the necklace case on Vivian’s fingers as if it was biting her, was improvised by Gere.

13. Edward takes Vivian to see La Traviata, an opera which mirrors the film’s plot, telling the story of a glamorous courtesan swept away by her new lover, who promises her a life of luxury.

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14. The scene where they arrive at the opera was meant to be filmed in San Francisco, but when a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the city the production used the exterior of the University of Southern California’s history museum instead.

15. The famous red dress Vivian wore for the opera was meant to be black, the studio’s preferred colour. Costume designer Marilyn Vance knew this wouldn’t work and, after three different creations were tested, it was agreed she was right.

16. The red jacket Vivian slings over her mini dress and thigh boots when touting for business was a last-minute find bought from a cinema usher the crew approached on the street. Panicking when they realised they didn’t have the item referred to in the script, they paid £23 for the jacket.

17. Edward’s sports car was meant to be a Ferrari or a Porsche, but neither iconic brand wanted to be associated with picking up prostitutes. In the end, Lotus stepped in with their Esprit model – and orders for the car tripled after the film came out.

18. Talented musician Gere plays the piano for real in the famous hotel love scene – and even composed the piece of music he is playing himself.

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19. The crew pranked Roberts when Vivian dunked herself underwater in the hotel’s luxurious bathtub after hearing how much Edward would be paying her. When the actress came up for air, everyone had disappeared.

20. Gere and Jason Alexander, who played Edward’s lawyer Philip Stuckey, were briefed to make their fight scene look as real as possible. They took the direction a little too literally – and Gere took a blow which knocked a crown loose.

21. The movie was filmed in LA film studios and real locations around the city’s swanky Beverly Hills district. The only hotel that would allow shooting inside and out was the Beverly Wilshire, with lobby scenes also filmed at the Ambassador Hotel, which has since been demolished.

22. The posh Voltaire restaurant where Vivian has trouble eating snails for the first time was actually a real-life eaterie called Cicada.

23. The Rodeo Drive boutique where Vivian is snubbed when she tries to buy a designer outfit for the polo is at 9501 Santa Monica Boulevard. Then Boulmiche Boutique, it is now Badgley Mischka.

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24. To celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary back in 2015, the Beverly Wilshire launched a “Pretty Woman for a Day” package. Guests paying a whopping £66,000 could stay in the Presidential Suite and enjoy three hours of personal shopping, plus a host of other high-end treats.

25. Roberts was just 23 when she filmed Pretty Woman, but it bagged her a Golden Globe for the second year in a row. She had won the previous year for Steel Magnolias. She also got an Oscar nomination for Pretty Woman.

26. The actress was very nervous about filming Vivian’s love scenes with Edward, so much so that a vein popped out on her forehead. She then came out in hives.

27. Struggling to get Roberts to genuinely laugh in the hotel scene where Vivian is watching I Love Lucy, the director positioned himself off camera and tickled her feet.

28. In the most noticeable blooper in Pretty Woman, Vivian tucks into a croissant – which becomes a pancake when the camera position changes.

29. The film was made for £11million and grossed £360million worldwide, becoming the fourth most successful romantic comedy of all time.

30. In China, Pretty Woman was catchily titled I Will Marry a Prostitute to Save Money, a charming description which does not accurately reflect the plot.

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