Meg Ryan turned it down. So did Karen Allen. Molly Ringwald wouldn’t play a role like that. Michelle Pfeiffer didn’t like the tone of the script. Daryl Hannah thought it was degrading to women. Jennifer Jason Leigh felt it was sexist...
Not since Scarlett O’Hara had so many actresses been considered for one role. Only when seemingly every notable leading lady in Hollywood had refused the part could Julia Roberts step into the thigh-high boots of the happy hooker who’s swept off her feet by millionaire businessman Richard Gere.
And those boots were made for walking: to stardom, to box-office success, to an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
You could tear Pretty Woman apart if you really wanted to – its Cinderella-cum-Pygmalion fairytale hides an ugly and depressing materialist fantasy.
But it’s just as easy to sit back and enjoy this 20th anniversary re-issue as silly, snazzy escapism that reminds us of simpler times.