Molly Ringwald Passed on Playing Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman Role Due to Disliking the Story

Molly Ringwald Passed on Playing Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman Role Due to Disliking the Story

Molly Ringwald was one of Hollywood’s leading teen actresses of the 1980s, having starred in such hit coming-of-age romantic comedy-dramas as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. But at the turn of the decade, the Golden Globe-nominated actress decided to turn down the titular role of the more mature romantic comedy, Pretty Woman.

As a result, Julia Roberts was cast in the film’s eponymous role of Vivian Ward instead. The performer had her breakout role in the 1990 movie, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and BAFTA Award. For the role, she won the Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

During a recent interview with UK media outlet The Guardian, Ringwald discussed why she turned down the role of Vivian, who worked as a sex worker in Hollywood. “Julia Roberts was wonderful in it, but I didn’t really like the story,” the actress explained. “Even then, I felt like there was something icky about it.”

Pretty Woman follows Vivian as she’s hired by a rich New York businessman, Edward Lewis, who was played by Richard Gere in the performers’ first on screen project together. Vivian was hired to pose as Edward’s girlfriend for a trip, and they eventually fall in love.

In the interview, Ringwald said she felt the role of Vivian didn’t fit her. She also “didn’t really feel like darker roles were available to me” at the time, she revealed, after she starred in the trio of John Hughes-written teen comedies in the 1980s.

The actress added: “The ones that I wanted to do, I didn’t get. I was too young for certain roles. I was at this weird in-between stage” at the time that Pretty Woman was made. She also divulged that being at that age cost her roles in the films Working Girl and The Silence of the Lambs, which both also became acclaimed hits.

Ringwald added that she remembers Mike Nichols, the director of Working Girl, said in the late ’80s: “She really needs to be at that moment where you feel the pain. You have your whole life ahead of you — nobody’s going to believe that of you.”

The Guardian interview wasn’t the first time that Ringwald spoke about turning down a role in Pretty Woman; she previously spoke about it in a Reddit AMA in 2012. In the interactive Q&A interview, she noted that she saw the initial script for the film, which was titled $3,000 at the time.

“I saw an early draft and it was called $3,000. I don’t specifically remember turning it down,” Ringwald wrote. “The script was okay but I gotta say, Julia Roberts is what makes that movie. It was her part. Every actor hopes for a part that lets them shine like that.”

Pretty Woman, which was directed by Garry Marshall, not only became a critically acclaimed hit, but it’s also one of the most financially successful romantic comedies of all time. The movie grossed $463.4 million at the worldwide box office. At the time of its release, it was the fourth highest-grossing film of all time, behind E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Wars and Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

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