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“Pretty Woman” Reunion, $17 Million Payday, And More: 16 “Runaway Bride” Secrets Revealed


Almost a decade after “Pretty Woman” skyrocketed Julia Roberts and Richard Gere to stardom, the A-listers teamed up again for “Runaway Bride” with the same director, Gary Marshall. The rom-com was about a small-town girl terrified of commitment who ran away from the altar three times. While prepping for her fourth marriage, she was followed by a newspaper columnist covering a story, and the two fell in love. The film made even more money than “Pretty Woman.” Most people have seen this famous Hollywood flick, but here are 20 surprising facts you probably don’t know.  

1. Although the roles seemed to be made for Gere and Roberts, many other actors were slated to play the commitment-phobic bride-to-be and jaded journalist. Geena Davis and Harrison Ford were first up, but they also considered Demi Moore, Michael Douglas, Ellen DeGeneres, and Mel Gibson.

2. Although Gere loves the script, he had a condition that Julia Roberts had to be his co-star if he were to take the role. After the two had a phone call, Gere won Roberts over, and a reunion was on the books!

3. Gere and Roberts had to get their “Pretty Woman” director on board, but there was one issue: Marshall agreed to take his wife to Australia for a vacation, and the actors had to speak to the director’s wife to convince her. 

4. Thanks to the history and chemistry between the actors, filming “Runaway Bride” was stress-free. Ten years later, the director said that Richard Gere fully embraced his sense of humor more than he did in “Pretty Woman.”

5. After the A-listers were confirmed to star, the film’s budget skyrocketed to $70 million, which was very high for a rom-com at the time. Roberts took home $17 million, and Gere earned $12 million. They brought in an opening weekend total of approximately $35 million, so it was worth it.

6. Although “Runaway Bride” grossed over $300 million worldwide and $150 domestically, the critics didn’t love it, and Richard Gere admitted that it “didn’t have the magic of the first one,” referring to “Pretty Woman” and its success.

7. Production occurred in the tiny town of Berlin, Maryland, turning it into Hale, Maryland, and invested nearly $1 million in the local economy. The town of just 3,000 people is now known for the movie, which put it on the rest of America’s radar. 

8. Since Maggie had the opportunity to walk down the altar a whopping four times, she had the chance to wear four wedding dresses. The dresses were designed and created by costume designer Albert Wolsky, who made three copies for each due to all the stunts in the movie, like motorcycle getaways and trampoline jumping.

9. Wolsky made a back-up for the coveted organza gown with satin bands that Maggie adored in a shop window and wore in her first attempt to get married. He did so in case the delivery truck destroyed the original, adding that the “Federal Express dress” was the prettiest because of what it accomplished on-screen.

10. For the dress Maggie actually said “I do” in, Wolfy opted for an off-the-shoulder Amsale Aberra that was an off-the-rack beauty from Manhattan’s Saks Fifth Avenue. The designer said the dress looked like it was made for Julia and said it looked like a dress that would be on the cover of a romance novel.

11. When Roberts called off her own June 1991 wedding to Kiefer Sutherland three days before the nuptials, she was accused of being a real-life runaway bride. She also called off her engagement to Dylan McDermott. But the real plot twist came when she ran away with Jason Patric, Sutherland’s close friend, and co-star from “Lost Boys,” who was dis-invited from the wedding. Roberts and Patric emerged as a couple but eventually broke up in 2002. 

12. In “Runaway Bride,” Christopher Meloni played Coach Bob. Coach Bob was set to be Roberts’ fourth groom before Ike, and nearly a decade later, Meloni would have role deja vu—he would lose out to Gere once more on the big screen in “Nights in Rodanthe.”

13. For Marshall, the film was a family project. His son Scott was the second unit director and shot the film’s iconic opening scene of Julia Roberts on a horse. He had an onscreen cameo as the hotel clerk obsessed with Maggie, and Marshall’s daughter Kathy played bridesmaid Cousin Cindy. The director’s wife even got a role – since she was cut out in “Pretty Woman,” her payback was to get a line in the dress shop.  Even Marshall himself appeared as the first basement in the baseball scene.

14. Maggie’s “platypus” face in the movie wasn’t originally intended to be in the script, but after the director saw Robert making a face to his grandchildren who were visiting on set, he decided he had to include her so-ugly-it’s-cute face.

15. A scene was cut from “Runaway Bride” due to a controversial scene regarding dark humor related to an animal. The scene, played during the end credit sequence, showed two women jogging with a dog. As a handsome boy walks by, the younger girl passes the dog to her grandmother, who doesn’t want it, and throws it in the garbage. Due to the mixed reaction, they went with a backup scene instead. 

16. Why did “Runaway Bride” take almost ten years to reach the big screen? A big reason was that it didn’t explain why Maggie kept running from the altar. Therefore, an important scene was added that showed how Maggie often molded herself into what her partner wanted to be rather than being herself. In the scene, it showed Maggie preparing eggs in every way possible to figure out what she liked since Ike commented that she always had her eggs like how her fiancee did. Spoiler alert: it’s eggs Benedict!