So, The Original 'Pretty Woman' Script Was About A Million Times Darker Than The Movie It Became
In the latest edition of Liz Tells Frank, the original Pretty Woman script gets compared to the movie, and let's just say the former is a much, much darker story than the latter. For the uninitiated, Liz Tells Frank is an exercise in letter writing, in which Liz tells Frank about stuff he doesn't know about (it began with her describing weekly episodes of Bones to him when he lost interest in the program). Liz is exceedingly thorough in her description of Pretty Woman to Frank, to the point where she found the original script for the movie, which was initially titled $3,000.
The original version was the same bare bones as Pretty Woman – wealthy man meets charming prostitute – but it wasn't the same iconic romantic comedy we know now. Nope, $3,000 was far too realistic for that. It includes backstories like the prostitute Vivian having a crippling crack addiction. Obviously Pretty Woman's Vivian has a little bit of baggage (she's been knocked around and put down), but not really all that much baggage considering she's not a crack-head (because in Hollywood you couldn't have an actually complex woman selling her body for drugs wind up with the wealthy, white male hero.) Also, in the original script, it seems that the male hero, Edward, is kind of a disgusting sex pig, and not the charming Richard "constantly on a learning curve" Gere we've come to love so well as that character.
Here's Liz's list of discrepancies between the original script and the final movie, quoted from her letter to Frank:
You should also read the rest of Liz's letter, because she has some hilarious insights including, "Did I mention the six pages devoted to Vivian in her fancy underpants? It’s seriously one of the most '80s things I’ve ever read, and I’ve read Bonfire of the Vanities twice," and her personal ranking of Julia Robert's outfits in the actual movie. But I think the main take away here is that someone should really go ahead and make the original $3,000 movie. And my main emotion right now is basically this: