Julia Roberts Says 'Pretty Woman' 's Original Script Ended with Her Character 'in Some Dirty Alley'

"Thank God it fell apart," Julia Roberts says of the script that led to her role in Pretty Woman

Richard Gere, Julia Roberts
Photo: Everett Collection

The original script for Pretty Woman had far from a pretty ending.

Speaking with fellow actress Patricia Arquette for Variety‘s Actors on Actors series last week, Julia Roberts revealed that the screenplay she auditioned for was a far cry from the rom-com that fans know and love today.

“So many, many, many years ago, one of my early auditions was for a movie called 3,000. Most people don’t know that 3,000 was the original Pretty Woman script. And the ending was really heavy,” Arquette, 51, said to kick of her interview with Roberts, 51.

Roberts recalled that the 3,000 script ended with her character being thrown “out of the car,” before the driver “threw the money on top of her, as memory serves, and just drove away, leaving her in some dirty alley.”

“So it really read like a gritty art movie. When you first read it, it was that incarnation,” Arquette prodded.

Roberts explained that while she landed the role in 3,000, she thinks she “had no business being in a movie like that.” But that version of the movie never came to fruition, because the “small movie company” behind the script “folded over the weekend,” according to Roberts. “And by Monday, I didn’t have a job.”

The script and its sole remaining producer ended up landing at Disney, which Roberts originally thought was odd.

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“I thought, ‘Went to Disney? Are they going to animate it?'” she told Arquette. “[Director] Garry Marshall came on, and because he’s a great human being, he felt it would only be fair to meet me, since I had this job for three days and lost it. And they changed the whole thing. And it became more something that is in my wheelhouse.”

“I couldn’t do it then. I couldn’t do it now,” Roberts said of the 3,000 script, adding, “Thank God it fell apart.”

Roberts went on to laud Arquette for her nude scenes in Escape at Dannemora, saying, “Even in Pretty Woman, if I had to be in a slip, I’d be covered in hives.”

The two actresses also discussed the pay gap in Hollywood, as Arquette asked Roberts if her salaries early on in her career felt like “breaking that glass ceiling.”

julia roberts

“It never felt like pressure,” Roberts said. “All the salaries in those days where there was just a lot of money to be spent making films — in a comical way, I thought, OK, sure, this is ridiculous, but I’ll be part of this party.”

“I’m just walking in a path that Barbra Streisand has hacked out with a machete, so to be the gardener that’s picking some weeds that have come up since these incredible women before me have made a path for all of us to be artists in our own right — it was nice to feel that I had a little puzzle piece to that,” she added.

Eventually, Roberts said she felt like she could be more choosy with her projects after filming Sleeping with the Enemy.

“I just had this instinct to stop doing anything if it didn’t feel that passionate,” she said.

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