20 Surprising Facts About Pretty Woman

Buena Vista Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

“What’s your dream?” Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman was all about big dreams—Hollywood-sized dreams, in fact—so it seems especially fitting that the 1990 romantic comedy became a smash hit, launching the career of starlet Julia Roberts and forever injecting the idea of the “hooker with a heart of gold” into the pop culture vernacular.

1. THE FILM WAS ORIGINALLY MUCH DARKER.

Screenwriter J.F. Lawton’s original script, which was titled 3000, wasn’t a love story—and it didn’t have a happy ending. Instead of a rom-com about two very different people finding love, it was a grittier tale about two damaged individuals who spent a week together that ends in tears and zero hope for a balcony-set reunion scene.

2. THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE FILM ENDED AT DISNEYLAND.

As dark as 3000 was, it ended with Vivian and her best pal Kit headed to The Happiest Place on Earth: Disneyland. That scene was ultimately cut after the film was restyled as a rom-com, but it proved to be weirdly prescient about the feature’s future—the movie was eventually produced by Disney.

3. THE FINAL SCRIPT FOR PRETTY WOMAN WAS WRITTEN BY AT LEAST FOUR SCREENWRITERS.

Although Lawton is the only credited screenwriter on the project—which means he contributed more than half of its content—other scribes took a pass at it in order to turn it into the beloved gem it is today, including Stephen Metcalfe (Cousins), Robert Garland (No Way Out), and Barbara Benedek (The Big Chill).

4. Julia Roberts was interested in the film from the very beginning.

No, really! Lawton’s first version of the story—the darker 3000—was a well-regarded script that was set to be made as it was, before its production company went belly up. Even in its grittier incarnation, the up-and-coming Roberts was interested in the role of Vivian. She was always going to be the pretty woman.

5. Roberts tested against a variety of Hollywood leading men.

They included Sam Neill, Tom Conti, and Charles Grodin. Of course it was Richard Gere who eventually snagged the part of Edward Lewis.

6. The film really was shot at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

It was mostly a matter of convenience; it was the only hotel in Beverly Hills that would allow Marshall to film both inside and outside. (Fans of the movie can book a "Pretty Woman for a Day" stay at the hotel.) Additional scenes were filmed at the nearby Ambassador Hotel—the same Ambassador Hotel where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968—which was demolished in 2005.

7. It's the fourth highest grossing romantic comedy in American history.

With a box office total take of just over $178.4 million, Pretty Woman trails only My Big Fat Greek Wedding, What Women Want, and Hitch, which means it’s still the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the nineties (There’s Something About Mary, which opened in 1998, is just behind it with $176,484,651).

8. Pretty Woman is classified as a “Cinderella Complex” film.

Online box office resource Box Office Mojo places the film within the "Cinderella Complex" category, a genre that also includes Ever After, She’s All That, and The Devil Wears Prada. Pretty Woman is considered the second highest grossing film within the category, right behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

9. Even the original screenplay includes that infamous shopping scene.

One element of the film that remained intact over the course of its many script changes is the scene in which some rude saleswomen at a Beverly Hills boutique refuse to sell to Vivian because they don't think she can afford anything. In 3000, Vivian also goes back to the shop to show off her wares after a more successful shopping excursion, but she doesn’t use that seminal “Big mistake!” line.

10. A woman added in one of the film’s most important final lines.

Producer Laura Ziskin is often credited with turning the film into a fairytale, and while that’s exactly not true (again, there were at least four writers on this feature alone), she did contribute one of the film’s final lines: “She saves him right back,” delivered by an emboldened Vivian on a scuzzy fire escape, after Edward comes to, well, rescue her.

11. That’s not Julia Roberts on the film’s poster.

Although Roberts sports a very familiar outfit on the film’s classic poster, you may notice that the colors of her dress are all wrong (pink and black, instead of white and blue). But there’s something else that’s not quite right: that body does not belong to Roberts! Body double Shelley Michelle posed for the pic, and Roberts’ head was later superimposed onto Michelle's body.

12. The opera that Vivian and Edward attend is La Traviata.

It’s the opera that made Vivian almost pee her pants, it was so good! But it’s also an opera that’s oddly reflective of the story at hand, because La Traviata is also about a prostitute who falls in love with a rich gentleman. That tale ends tragically, however, with courtesan Violetta falling ill with tuberculosis, singing one last song, and dying in her lover’s arms.

13. A lot of would-be stars turned down the film.

They included Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daryl Hannah, Al Pacino, Albert Brooks, Burt Reynolds, and Jeff Bridges. Big mistake. Big! Huge!

14. Director Garry Marshall appears in a cameo. Sort of.

Remember that homeless man that Edward asks for directions early on in the film, before getting hopelessly lost in Hollywood? That’s not Marshall, but it is his voice!

15. The red dress Vivian wears to the opera was designed by Marilyn Vance-Straker.

Vance-Straker also designed costumes for films like Fast Times At Ridgemont High, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

16. Prince’s “Kiss” does not appear on the film’s soundtrack.

Even though Vivian memorably sings along to the song in the hotel’s massive bathtub—complete with kissing sounds—Prince’s “Kiss” doesn’t actually appear on the film’s soundtrack.

17. But the song from which the film takes its title does.

That would be “Oh, Pretty Woman,” by Roy Orbison.

18. The film was nominated for four Golden Globes.

And Roberts actually won for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, beating out Mia Farrow, Andie MacDowell, Demi Moore, and even Meryl Streep! Though Roberts was still a relative newcomer at the time, the award marked her second consecutive Golden Globe; she took home the Best Supporting Actress award one year earlier for Steel Magnolias. Roberts also scored an Oscar nod for her role in Pretty Woman.

19. Vivian’s borrowed necklace was worth a quarter of a million dollars.

The necklace was loaned to the production for filming purposes, and it came complete with its very own security guard, who reportedly stood directly behind Marshall the entire time it was being used on screen.

20. The film’s fancy restaurant scene was shot at a real restaurant.

Back then, the downtown Los Angeles restaurant was called Rex II Ristorante, though it’s now known as Cicada (in the film, it was called The Voltaire). The restaurant has appeared in a number of movies, including Indecent Proposal and Bruce Almighty. Patrons can actually request "The Pretty Woman Table."

10 of the Best Indoor and Outdoor Heaters on Amazon

Mr. Heater/Amazon
Mr. Heater/Amazon

With the colder months just around the corner, you might want to start thinking about investing in an indoor or outdoor heater. Indoor heaters not only provide a boost of heat for drafty spaces, but they can also be a money-saver, allowing you to actively control the heat based on the rooms you’re using. Outdoor heaters, meanwhile, can help you take advantage of cold-weather activities like camping or tailgating without having to call it quits because your extremities have gone numb. Check out this list of some of Amazon’s highest-rated indoor and outdoor heaters so you can spend less time shivering this winter and more time enjoying what the season has to offer.

Indoor Heaters

1. Lasko Ceramic Portable Heater; $20

Lasko/Amazon

This 1500-watt heater from Lasko may only be nine inches tall, but it can heat up to 300 square feet of space. With 11 temperature settings and three quiet settings—for high heat, low heat, and fan only—it’s a dynamic powerhouse that’ll keep you toasty all season long.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Alrocket Oscillating Space Heater; $25

Alrocket/Amazon

Alrocket’s oscillating space heater is an excellent addition to any desk or nightstand. Using energy-saving ceramic technology, this heater is made of fire-resistant material, and its special “tip-over” safety feature forces it to turn off if it falls over (making it a reliable choice for homes with kids or pets). It’s extremely quiet, too—at only 45 dB, it’s just a touch louder than a whisper. According to one reviewer, this an ideal option for a “very quiet but powerful” heater.

Buy it: Amazon

3. De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heather; $79

De’Longhi/Amazon

If you prefer a space heater with a more old-fashioned vibe, this radiator heater from De’Longhi gives you 2020 technology with a vintage feel. De’Longhi’s heater automatically turns itself on when the temperatures drops below 44°F, and it will also automatically turn itself off if it starts to overheat. Another smart safety feature? The oil system is permanently sealed, so you won’t have to worry about accidental spills.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Aikoper Ceramic Tower Heater; $70

Aikoper/Amazon

Whether your room needs a little extra warmth or its own heat source, Aikoper’s incredibly precise space heater has got you covered. With a range of 40-95°F, it adjusts by one-degree intervals, giving you the specific level of heat you want. It also has an option for running on an eight-hour timer, ensuring that it will only run when you need it.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Isiler Space Heater; $37

Isiler/Amazon

For a space heater that adds a fun pop of color to any room, check out this yellow unit from Isiler. Made from fire-resistant ceramic, Isiler’s heater can start warming up a space within seconds. It’s positioned on a triangular stand that creates an optimal angle for hot air to start circulating, rendering it so effective that, as one reviewer put it, “This heater needs to say ‘mighty’ in its description.”

Buy it: Amazon

Outdoor Heaters

6. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy; $104

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Make outdoor activities like camping and grilling last longer with Mr. Heater’s indoor/outdoor portable heater. This heater can connect to a propane tank or to a disposable cylinder, allowing you to keep it in one place or take it on the go. With such a versatile range of uses, this heater will—true to its name—become your best buddy when the temperature starts to drop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater; Various

Hiland/Amazon

The cold’s got nothing on this powerful outdoor heater. Hiland’s patio heater has a whopping 40,000 BTU output, which runs for eight to 10 hours on high heat. Simply open the heater’s bottom door to insert a propane tank, power it on, and sit back to let it warm up your backyard. The bright, contained flame from the propane doubles as an outdoor light.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Solo Stove Bonfire Pit; $345

Solo Stove/Amazon

This one is a slight cheat since it’s a bonfire pit and not a traditional outdoor heater, but the Solo Stove has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon for a reason. Everything about this portable fire pit is meticulously crafted to maximize airflow while it's lit, from its double-wall construction to its bottom air vents. These features all work together to help the logs burn more completely while emitting far less smoke than other pits. It’s the best choice for anyone who wants both warmth and ambiance on their patio.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dr. Infrared Garage Shop Heater; $119

Dr. Infrared/Amazon

You’ll be able to use your garage or basement workshop all season long with this durable heater from Dr. Infrared. It’s unique in that it includes a built-in fan to keep warm air flowing—something that’s especially handy if you need to work without wearing gloves. The fan is overlaid with heat and finger-protectant grills, keeping you safe while it’s powered on.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top; $86

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Mr. Heater’s clever propane tank top automatically connects to its fuel source, saving you from having to bring any extra attachments with you on the road. With three heat settings that can get up to 45,000 BTU, the top can rotate 360 degrees to give you the perfect angle of heat you need to stay cozy. According to a reviewer, for a no-fuss outdoor heater, “This baby is super easy to light, comes fully assembled … and man, does it put out the heat.”

Buy it: Amazon

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Why Steve Carell Was Anxious About Being in The Office Finale

Steve Carell was a bit apprehensive about appearing in the series finale.
Steve Carell was a bit apprehensive about appearing in the series finale.
NBC

Even though fans of The Office were sad to say goodbye to Steve Carell and the employees at Dunder Mifflin when the series went off the air in 2013, a lot of new content related to the hit comedy has come out in recent years.

Not only can fans reminisce about The Office with actresses Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) and Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) on their podcast Office Ladies, but Kevin Malone actor Brian Baumgartner has also started his own podcast about the show as well.

Baumgartner’s podcast, titled An Oral History of The Office, offers listeners a chance to learn how the American version of the mockumentary comedy was developed. From conception to casting, An Oral History of The Office gives longtime fans an in-depth look at how their favorite paper-pushers came to be.

As PopSugar reports, Baumgartner’s 12-episode podcast has featured guest appearances from other actors that were on the show. Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Fischer, and Kinsey have all dropped in to talk about their days in Scranton.

For episode 11 of the podcast, titled “It’s a Wrap,” Baumgartner spoke with Carell and The Office creator Greg Daniels about the actor's surprise appearance in the series finale.

Longtime fans of the show will recall that Michael Scott left Dunder Mifflin to move to Colorado with Holly (played by Amy Ryan) in the finale of season 7. The podcast revealed that Carell was actually hesitant to return for the season 9 finale.

You can read an excerpt from the interview below:

Brian Baumgartner:

Greg wanted the finale to be a giant family reunion, and any office reunion wouldn’t be complete without Steve Carell. And had that been in the works for a while, between you and Steve, or did you go to him and he immediately said, yes, I’ll come back?

Greg Daniels:

Well, I think he was really anxious that it not be all about him. Like he was like, everybody who put in these other two years, this is the end of the show. This is the end of all of their stories. I left, this isn’t all about me. So he didn’t want to do too much. Uh, and you know, he had thoughts on how, what would draw him back to the situation. And he really liked the idea of coming back for Dwight’s wedding. Like he thought the character learned something, so he didn’t need self-promotion. At this point, he didn’t need to come back to be on the documentary. He came back for his friend Dwight.

Brian Baumgartner:

Steve said there had to be a reason.

Steve Carell:

Because I had told Greg, I just don’t think it’s a good idea because I felt like Michael’s story had definitely ended. And I was reticent about coming back because you guys had two more, really valuable seasons and that was everyone else’s ending. Michael had already had his, so I just didn’t want to, but at the same time, I felt like I should out of respect for all of you guys and out of my love for everybody to, you know, to acknowledge the, uh, the ending of this thing.

You can listen to the full episode here.