In an interview with The Guardian, Oscar winning actress Julia Roberts has said she doesn’t think the 1990 film Pretty Woman – the romantic tale of a sex worker and a New York millionaire – could be made today. Eight actresses turned down the role before Roberts was offered it – and it ignited her superstar career.
“A lot has changed in the industry…I don’t really think you could make that movie now, right?” says Roberts. “So many things you could poke a hole in, but I don’t think it takes away from people being able to enjoy it. It really is not a measure of talent, particularly in the beginning. It’s a measure of good fortune – and being able to have your wits about you enough to make something out of that good fortune.”
On paper, Pretty Woman probably didn’t sell itself well, particularly in its unrealistic portrayal of prostitution. But as the actress, 51, points out, neither did Notting Hill’s script, another “jewel of a movie” for Roberts. “I did not want to do that movie,” she says. “The pitch of it sounds awful, right? Do you want to come and play the world’s biggest movie star and then fall in love with the bookshop owner? No!”
It’s clear Roberts has thought about this answer. In an interview with us in Toronto in September 2018, she answered a similar question about Pretty Woman and noted since it’s three decades old, there was no way of knowing at the time of filming if it’s plotline would be relevant in the future or stand the test of time.
“It’s a 30-year-old movie,” Roberts said. “I think anytime you’re going to reach back to bring something into the present, there’s going to be trouble making the connection for a variety of reasons. They could be political, cultural – they could be just dated clothing – so I don’t think it’s a reasonable testament to challenge the question of now, to use that as a template of ‘Would that work now?’. We have no way of knowing that.”