Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Pretty Woman’s dark alternate ending revealed: ‘She died of a drug overdose’

rexfeatures_5884486k.jpg

Everyone who’s anyone has seen Pretty Woman by this point.

A modern twist on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion (or, y’know, Cinderella), the 1990 classic tells the story of Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts), a prostitute working in Hollywood.

She soon finds herself hired by Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), a wealthy businessman, who’s keen for her to stay with him for a week and be his escort for a number of social events. And, when he offers her $3,000 to do just that, Vivian is quick to agree to his terms – although she warns him that she has a strict “no kissing on the mouth” rule when it comes to clients.

Predictably, they fall in love – and, come the end of the film, Gere’s character rides up on a white horse limo to rescue his damsel in distress from a life of sexual servitude, oppression, and poverty.

However this isn’t a cookie-cutter rom-com; it has incredibly dark undertones as it explores the objectification of women – and, in one particularly harrowing scene, Edward’s attorney attempts to rape Vivian.

Now, in a new Q&A about the film that took place in New York, former Disney studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg has revealed that the film was not supposed to have a happy ending. Instead of finding love with her very own Prince Charming, Vivian was supposed to die from a drug overdose.


Read more: The most iconic fashion moments from Pretty Woman


“I can’t tell you how much time we spent debating [that ending],” he said.

“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 Co., 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.”

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman

It’s not the first time that an alternative ending for the film has been revealed.

Last year, the movie’s scriptwriter, JF Lawton, explained that the film he originally 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”).

“During this whole thing, there was all this whole debate about 'How do we end it, how do we save her?' without it feeling like a cop-out,” he said, when asked about the “serious and dramatic” first version of Pretty Woman.


Read more: How to make the Pretty Woman dress


“They had auditioned Al Pacino, they had auditioned Michelle Pfeiffer, and it would definitely have been a different movie if had it been Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer. It might have been closer to the original script and maybe not have had a happy ending.

“But the chemistry between Roberts and Gere, it is palpable on the screen, it was palpable in auditions. You can't really see how it could end any other way, because they just light up with each other.”

Images: Rex Pictures

Related

julia-roberts-kiefer-sutherland.jpg

Kiefer Sutherland thanks Julia Roberts for cancelling their wedding

pretty woman.jpg

It's official: women in film speak less the older they get

RED CARPET REBELS.jpg

Red carpet rebels: the women making their own formal dress codes

More

Ryan Phillipe on how he tackles depression

“I’m thinking about how to focus and steady myself”

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

Are black girls being forced to grow up too fast?

A study has shown that black girls as young as five are seen as more adult than their white peers

by Kemi Alemoru
17 Aug 2017

Teen receives sickening messages after asking for career advice

This businessman's response was shocking

by Sarah Biddlecombe
17 Aug 2017

We want everything from this new high-street Disney collaboration

Seriously magical

by Megan Murray
17 Aug 2017

JK Rowling's video game confession has sparked a Twitter frenzy

The internet is LOVING it

by Megan Murray
17 Aug 2017

New law forces women in Texas to buy “rape insurance” for abortions

“I am proud to sign the legislation,” Governor Greg Abbott said

by Sarah Biddlecombe
17 Aug 2017

Mother of Charlottesville victim gives passionate memorial speech

“By golly, if I’ve got to give her up, we’re going to make it count.”

by Moya Crockett
17 Aug 2017

Dame Helen Mirren has her say on Ivanka and Melania Trump

She’s not one to bite her tongue

by Susan Devaney
16 Aug 2017

These are the most-searched gender-neutral baby names in the UK

Parents are increasingly leaning towards androgynous names, according to new research.

by Moya Crockett
16 Aug 2017

How to stop negative news stories impacting your mental health

14 ways to stay calm when the world’s headlines trigger your anxiety

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017