You know the story of Pretty Woman. A hooker with a heart of gold meets a handsome, rich fellow who realizes he wants to take her away from it all. Along the way, he buys her some nice clothes, she tells off a few uppity sales clerks on Rodeo Drive, and Hector Elizondo schools us all about proper silverware usage. Vivian (Julia Roberts) also helps Edward (Richard Gere) realize a few important things about himself, and he inspires her to move to San Francisco to get her GED.
The whole thing ends with a grand, sweeping proclamation of love. Vivian is packing up for San Francisco and Edward comes down the street in his limo, then scales the fire escape (conquering his fear of heights in the process) to declare his love for her.
"So, what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?" he asks. "She rescues him right back," Vivian replies, because this is an equal-opportunity rescuing story.
They kiss, and while they're doing so, we hear a man yell, "Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream? Everybody comes here. This is Hollywood: Land of dreams. Some dreams come true; some don't. But, keep on dreaming. This is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreaming."
Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" plays us out, and millions of viewers sigh contentedly. Pretty Woman is celebrating its 25th anniversary this March, so clearly the tale of Vivian and Edward has endured. They even show it on ABC Family now.
That's not how things were supposed to go, though. The original tale of Vivian and Edward is much darker, and the ending not nearly as happy. In fact, the script was called 3000 — a reference to how much it costs to hire Vivian for the week. In the original version, she returns to the streets after their week together. It's much less family-friendly.
According to TCM, Roberts says the original script was, "[A] really dark and depressing, horrible, terrible story about two horrible people, and my character was this drug addict. A bad-tempted, foulmouthed, ill-humored, poorly educated hooker who had this weeklong experience with a foulmouthed, ill-tempered, bad-humored, very wealthy, handsome but horrible man, and it was just a grisly, ugly story about these two people."
J.F. Lawton, who wrote the script for 3000, said that, "[H]e didn't fall in love with her in the original script, and she does end up back on the street." Director Garry Marshall was actually hesitant about changing the ending to make it more upbeat, "because the script was well-respected in Hollywood, and [Marshall] didn't want to be accused of being the guy who turned it into fluff," Lawton explained.
He tried to change the script with two more drafts that morphed it into a love story where they got together at the end. Lawton also removed Edward's girlfriend, on whom he would have been cheating with Vivian. Blogger Liz Shannon Miller, of Liz Tells Frank, read the original script and detailed some more of the changes that were made from Lawton's original story.
These include the fact that Edward quit drinking because his "liver rotted away." Vivian is addicted to "white rocks," and she originally agrees to stay with Edward for $2,000, but manages to negotiate it up to $3,000 on the condition that she won't smoke crack during their time together. Edward calls this "hardship pay." Vivian develops true feelings for Edward, but he just wants to go back to his girlfriend in New York. And, the ultimate kick in the pants: "He literally puts her $3,000 in the gutter after she throws herself out of the limo," Miller noted.
Would Julia Roberts still have become such a huge star if Pretty Woman had its original ending? Would audiences have fallen in love with Richard Gere? Or, would the titular pretty woman have continued walking down the street, into middling box office success at best. (Uproxx)