We’re glad that this didn’t make it into the final version of the film.
For many, it’s the one scene that makes everything in My Best Friend’s Wedding worthwhile.
After an hour and a half of Julianne (Julia Roberts) terrorising her way through Chicago as she attempts to steal her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney) from his fiance Kimmy (Cameron Diaz), aided and abetted by George (Rupert Everett), the audience has well and truly turned against her.
She’s lied, cheated and manipulated almost everyone in the film, not to mention conspired to turn Michael against Kimmy and Kimmy’s parents at every turn.
In a word, Julianne’s behaviour is truly abhorrent. Which is why it’s so satisfying when Kimmy finally gets to confront her in a train station bathroom and give her a much-overdue piece of her mind.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” Kimmy demands, pushing Julianne against a stall. (“Catfight!” one of the women in the bathroom yells.) “You kissed him! At my parents’ house! On my wedding day! Shut up. Now I love this man and there is no way that I am going to give him up to some two-faced, big-haired food critic.”
It’s a fist pump of a scene, so powerful because it’s so necessary. For most of the movie, Julianne has been behaving absolutely atrociously with very little fallout. Finally, she has to deal with the consequences of her actions. Not to mention the fact that the put-down “two-faced, big-haired food critic” – said with such savage Diaz delivery – is so perfectly petty it is immensely satisfying.
But, according to a new interview with the cast for Entertainment Weekly’s romantic comedy special, that scene almost didn’t make it into the movie.
When the movie was first played to test audiences, it faced criticism on account of its overly-positive conclusion. In the original ending, Julianne found love with another wedding guest played by John Corbett. (Sex and the City’s Aidan himself.) And that bathroom scene was a lot shorter, featuring no confrontation between Kimmy and Julianne and, instead, Kimmy forgiving Julianne almost immediately.
The studio wanted to reshoot the final moments so that Julianne spent the wedding night without a love interest but in the arms of her gay friend George, a scene that has since been inducted into the romantic comedy hall of fame for the best movie endings of all time.
Once the ending reshoot was confirmed, director PJ Hogan decided to change the bathroom scene as well. “The first bathroom scene just didn’t work at all,” Hogan told Entertainment Weekly.
“The way it originally played was Cameron’s character just forgave Julianne almost immediately. I remember on set Cameron kept saying, ‘I don’t know why I’m forgiving her, I just want to punch her. She almost ruined my life.’”
The new bathroom scene gave Kimmy the chance to finally speak her mind and tell Julianne just how appallingly she had behaved. It also gave Julianne the chance to apologise to Kimmy in a meaningful, believable way.
“Alright, alright,” Julianne yells. “I kissed him. I tried to steal him. I lost. He doesn’t love me, he loves you. Kimmy I haven’t done much that I am proud of the last three days. I’d like to take you to the church so you can walk down that aisle and marry the man of our dreams.”
“It was needed,” Diaz told Entertainment Weekly. “When the movie was put together, everybody kind of just went ‘It wasn’t good for her character to not have [her moment], you know?’… If Kimmy didn’t stand up for herself, it felt different for the end of the story. It wasn’t as gratifying.”
Without that moment, and with an ending that involved Julianne getting a happily ever after of her own, the movie would have reinforced the idea that you can behave as badly as you want without any repercussions.
But courtesy of this rewritten scene, the movie ends on a much more powerful note of humility and forgiveness. And that misguided original ending, which would have changed the tone of the movie entirely, has thankfully never seen the light of day.
Images: Rex Features