Back in 1990, Julia Roberts starred in the popular film, Pretty Woman, that contributed to her rise as a Hollywood star. Roberts recently took some time out to talk about that film and the way the movie would be viewed today. While Pretty Woman will forever be known as a classic love story, Roberts feels that Pretty Woman is not the kind of film that would be well-received in today’s society. In fact, Roberts has noticed the vast evolution in society as well as Hollywood culture since the 1990 film’s creation, and she doesn’t feel it is the type of story most filmmakers would be interested in creating nowadays, according to People.
To Roberts, the major issue with Pretty Woman in modern society has to do with the gap between the two main characters, played by her and Richard Gere, and the current focus today on gender politics and equality. In the film, Roberts portrays a prostitute, while Gere’s character is a business tycoon. The problem with the film doesn’t necessarily result from the two main characters coming from different worlds. Instead, it’s the presentation of gender issues and the obvious inequality that exists between a wealthy businessman hiring a prostitute that would probably scare away most filmmakers today, according to USA Today.
“I don’t really think you could make that movie now, right? So many things you could poke a hole in, but I don’t think it takes away from people being able to enjoy it,” Roberts said, according to HuffPost.
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However, even at the time the film was being made, there were a few famous actresses who did not like the script’s portrayal of women and men back in 1990. In fact, several famous actresses turned down the role of Vivian Ward before Julia Roberts landed the part. At least eight other actresses declined, including Diane Lane, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, and Daryl Hannah. Hannah explained in 2007 why she turned down a chance to act in Pretty Woman, saying she felt the film was degrading.
“They sold it as a romantic fairy tale when in fact it’s a story about a prostitute who becomes a lady by being kept by a rich and powerful man. I think that film is degrading for the whole of womankind,” Hannah said, according to USA Today.
Pretty Woman was created 29 years ago, and much has changed about society and Hollywood culture since 1990. So, Roberts has an excellent point about how the film might be viewed today versus how the film was viewed in 1990. Still, that didn’t stop Pretty Woman from being adapted into a Broadway musical last year.