Pretty Woman

In the 1990 movie Pretty Woman, what was the first name of the character played by Julia Roberts?

And the answer: Vivian.      

Pretty Woman is a 1990 romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Roberts plays Vivian Ward, who is hired by a wealthy businessman to be – how do we put this? – his guest at several social and business events. For her performance, Roberts received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Image courtesy: IMDb

Pretty Woman was an instant, lovable hit that grossed nearly half a billion dollars worldwide. However, while its fame is widespread, the film actually went through many different stages before its final form. In fact, Julia Roberts had to audition for the role twice! When the film changed hands during production, Disney wasn't so sure that Roberts could take on the primary role as such a then-unknown actress. However, she re-auditioned for the part and (luckily) was cast (again).

Photo credit: Buena Vista Pictures. 

In addition, Robert Gere actually turned down his role several times (clearly, this movie could have gone in a lot of different directions). While director Garry Marshall was convinced that Gere was the one and only, Gere wasn't quite as sure, and it took a handwritten note from Roberts herself allegedly reading "please say yes" for Gere to accept.

What's more: one of the most iconic moments of the film was improvised. The scene in which Edward presents Vivian with a gorgeous necklace, only to playfully snap the jewelry box closed as she reaches for it was a suggested improvisation on the part of Gere. During filming, Marshall found the original scene too boring, so he pulled Gere aside to recommend an unexpected snap closed. As a result, Roberts' reaction is wholly genuine.

Read more about the unexpected lore of Pretty Woman here.


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