Molly Ringwald Recalls Turning Down Pretty Woman

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Molly Ringwald recalls turning down the lead role of Vivian Ward in the romantic comedy Pretty Woman, opening up about why she chose to not join the film. Julia Roberts would ultimately portray Vivian Ward in Garry Marshall’s 1990 movie, where she starred alongside Richard Gere and soon after receive widespread critical praise for her performance. In Pretty Woman, recently dumped wealthy corporate raider Edward Lewis meets prostitute Vivian, whom he hires as an escort to accompany him to numerous business events, as a connection between the two ultimately blooms.

While Roberts would ultimately lead Pretty Woman following Ringwald’s refusal, The Breakfast Club star opened up in The Guardian about why she refused the role of Ward during the casting process. After praising Robert’s performance, Ringwald explained that she didn’t enjoy the story, revealing that she felt somewhat uncomfortable with it despite wanting to take on darker roles that would distance herself from her earlier career. Check out Ringwald’s full explanation below:

“Julia Roberts was wonderful in it, but I didn’t really like the story. Even then, I felt like there was something icky about it. I didn’t really feel like darker roles were available to me. 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.”

Related: The Original Ending Of Pretty Woman Explained (And Why It Changed)


How Molly Ringwald’s Career Has Evolved

Before being in consideration for Pretty Woman, Ringwald already had a long career dating back to 1978. She appeared in stage productions and the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes before joining 1982’s The Tempest. Following this, Ringwald had her breakout role in the 1984 John Hughes hit Sixteen Candles and continued the Ringwald-Hughes movie collaboration with 1985’s The Breakfast Club and 1986’s Pretty in Pink. However, Ringwald hoped to star in films that offered her the chance to step away from the image her prior roles had established and take on more mature characters.

Although she rejected both Pretty Woman and Ghost, Ringwald pushed herself away from her earlier roles throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Her roles in French productions and darker projects such as The Stand and Malicious would see her delve into more mature topics and settings. The actor also took part in several stage productions, starring in plays and musicals, including Cabaret, tick, tick… BOOM!, and Sweet Charity. In 2017, Ringwald portrayed a parental role to teen characters in Riverdale – Mary Andrews, mother of main character Archie (A.J. Kapa).

Pretty Woman has since become a celebrated romantic comedy that helped launch Roberts into stardom. While Ringwald was a recognizable face at the time, it would be hard to consider anyone other than Roberts in the lead role of Vivian Ward. Although Ward wasn’t a role that appealed to Ringwald, it is clear from her following works on-screen and on-stage that she has crafted a legacy that reaches beyond her early teen roles.

Source: The Guardian

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