Richard Gere Recalls Initial Reaction to 'Pretty Woman' Role: 'Just Put a Suit on a Goat'

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment

Richard Gere would’ve been happy to let Pretty Woman walk on by when the project first came to him in the late ’80s. First of all, the broad comedy about a hooker with a heart of gold (Julia Roberts) just wasn’t his cup of tea.

“It’s not my kind of movie, it wasn’t what I was looking for,” Gere told Yahoo Movies in our latest episode of Role Recall (watch in full below).

And as a veteran of stage and artier screen drama like Days of Heaven, American Gigolo, and The Cotton Club, Gere didn’t find the part of the well-dressed corporate raider Edward Lewis either meaty or multi-dimensional. “I remember I kept saying, ‘Just put a suit on a goat and put him out there.’ It’s about the suit more than anything else,” said Gere, whose schlubby title character in his latest film, Norman, couldn’t possibly be more different from Edward.

Gere, of course, ultimately gave in, largely due to two people: his leading lady on the rise, Roberts, and the beloved late director Garry Marshall. “I liked Garry Marshall very much,” Gere said. “Garry was a smart, generous, kind person. He was a very special person. You wanted to be around him. And you wanted to take a ride with him.”

Roberts was not yet a major name, with only few credits like Satisfaction and Mystic Pizza on her résumé. “Julia, obviously, was just bursting with magic,” said Gere, who recalled meeting with her at his New York office at the urging of Marshall. “It was just undeniable that she had this thing. And the camera obviously loved her.”

It did: Pretty Woman became one of the most successful films of 1990, and remains one of the most popular rom-coms of all time.

Norman opens in select theaters Friday.

Watch our full Role Recall interview with Richard Gere:

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