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In our recent competition for tickets and soundtrack CDs to Runaway Bride, we jokingly asked why it has taken so long for Hollywood to re-team the successful Pretty Woman (1990) cast and crew. We had hundreds of entries; here are a few of them - and an ironic footnote about the reality.

And below, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere and Garry Marshall talk about coming together again.


Nicola James says: It has taken him so long to pay off her bills at the hotel!

Sam Espie says: Supermodels, Buddhism, Tibet, $20 million dollars, grey hair, big smiles, red hair, Benjamin Bratt, marriage, divorce, jilted suitors, studios, fame, love, scripts, directors, egos, schedules.

Nick Arentz says: Because after Pretty Woman they started a steamy affair, broke up a year later, and its taken Richard that long to get over it!

Karl Farrelly says: After Richard taking the word of Buddah and Julia marrying a country and western singer. I think that they realised that they are both kooky and need each other to stay sane.

Kirtsy Vernon says: They waited till Julia looked like she was a bit closer to Richard's age.

Robert Kocsis says: She didn't recognise him, once his hair turned grey and he didn't recognise her with an Irish accent.

Rudi Tan says: Julia is Benjamin Bratt's girlfriend meanwhile Richard is going steady with Carey Lowell. They had to wait until either Ben or Carey quit "Law & Order" which she did. Otherwise it'll look weird.

Andrew Lim says: There's been a nine-year worldwide shortage of teeth whitener and hair gel.

And Julie Kalceff says: He has been hiding out trying to accept how grey his hair has become and she has been receiving special whitening treatment for her teeth.

Gary Clark says: Because Julia had to negotiate Notting Hill before she could get back into Gere.

Neil Harris says: The haunting fact that Julia reminds Dick of CINDY too much.Same soft hair, dark captivating eyes and what about their smiles. And I'm gay.

Brian Pettiford says: Richard decided from previous experiences to take up dressmaking and Julia went into high finance. They met again at a fashion show in Paris.

Cheri Lutz says: It worked so well in pretty woman - but then she WAS a prostitute!

H. James says: The real Julia actually fell for the horse at the end of Pretty Woman.It's taken this long to get her out of the stables.

The last word is from 'Buddha': I placed an injunction on them preventing them from starring in the same movie after being forced to watch Pretty Woman with every girl I have met since it was released and their lawyers have just gotten it overturned.

But the irony is that the plot of the film - guys being repeatedly ditched at the altar by the gal - is rather like the story of the film getting made. The project was repeatedly ditched by potential financiers over a 10 year period. And in the end it took four companies to get it into production: Paramount, Disney, Lakeshore and Interscope. The same number as the number of men the Runaway Bride left at the altar before marrying one.

It started something like this: 'Hello, it's Julia and Richard here,' yelp two excited voices out of the phone loudspeaker on director Garry Marshall's desk. 'We've finally found it! It's a romantic comedy about this New York columnist who gets fired for libeling this young small-town broad who keeps running away at the altar . . . ' Marshall interjects: ' Are you crazy? The East Coast in winter?!'

That was perhaps the only objection he could raise to the project, and that conference call from Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, Marshall's two co-stars from the 1990 hit, Pretty Woman, ended a long search for a suitable script to get the team together again.

Gere had been the first to read it, and he had the script sent to Julia Robert. "When it was first sent to me with the note that this is something Richard liked, that in and of itself, was intriguing enough for me to stay up late on a school night and read it. I thought it was charming and very funny."

"We had such a great experience with Garry on Pretty Woman" Richard Gere

"We had such a great experience with Garry on 'Pretty Woman,' so the first phone call we made when Julia and I decided to make the movie was to Garry," says Gere. "We knew we would be in very trustworthy hands with him."

With all three agreeing on the material and scheduling, Roberts had a brief moment of skepticism. "I went into the 'this is too good to be true mode' - that Garry, Richard and I have all found material that we all like and a schedule that works. It just seemed too good to be true!"

The first day of production was just like old times for the trio. Says Marshall, "When we all got together the first day and reminisced, it was great fun.

"Julia and Richard hadn't worked together in almost ten years, but the chemistry was still there from the first dailies - it's kind of a magical thing," observes Marshall. They've both grown as actors and they have that Tracy and Hepburn quality - although with this comedy, sometimes it was more like Laurel and Hardy!"

"You can't teach charm" Garry Marshall

"When the story begins, Maggie and Ike do not get off on the right foot at all," continues Marshall. "They're always arguing and there's always a kind of fireworks and dynamic between them that you want to watch. Julia and Richard both bring to the scenes a delightfulness and bantering...and charm. You can't teach charm - it's either there or it's not there, and both actors bring a lot of it to this film."

Roberts worked closely with Marshall to add layers to the character of Maggie, the small town, strong, independent young woman who has great success getting engaged, but can't quite make it to the altar. Roberts describes the character of Maggie Carpenter as "normal, but with a twist."

"She is a really kind of normal, small town girl but, for many different reasons, over the course of several years has become increasingly unconsciously psychotic in her behavior," says Roberts in reference to her character's erratic trips to the altar.

"There are some issues fueling her choices and her actions. It was an interesting puzzle for me to try to work out this girl."

In addition to working in a hardware store, Maggie is an inventor who makes things out of industrial parts and stays in shape by kick boxing in her home workshop.

"Julia had to be in great shape for this film.."

"Julia had to be in great shape for this film because we made the character quite an athlete," says Marshall. "She kick boxes, she jumps rope, and she runs from her weddings!"

Ike Graham (Gere) is a fish out of water when he arrives in Hale to prove that what he has written in his newspaper column about Maggie is true. The cynical New Yorker causes quite a stir among the townspeople, who soon learn he is the author of the column about Maggie. Most displeased with Ike's arrival on her turf is Maggie herself. She is about to make her fourth attempt at marriage, and has been embarrassed and deeply hurt by this stranger's very public exposŤ.

"Ike has a tendency to be a little hard on women in his column," says Richard Gere of his character. "He's a divorced man, who is always accused of being bitter, but he feels he has reasons for it. When he's up against a deadline and hears the story of Maggie, it fits perfectly into his slightly misogynist view of women. So he writes this very witty diatribe about her. From his point of view, it's the perfect story and a perfect way to express his venom about many different things."

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