'Pretty Woman' launched Roberts' career
Olmert. Gifted copyrighter?
Photo: Gil Yohanan
'Pretty Woman,' one of the most successful romantic comedies in Hollywood's history, and the film that brought Julia Roberts her cinematic breakthrough as an actress, owes its name to none other than Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
In 1989, Olmert visited his friend, movie producer Arnon Milchan, in Hollywood. The two sat at a Warner Brothers' sound studio with the film's director Gary Marshall and listened to the soundtrack for a new romantic comedy starring a 23 year-old unknown actress (Roberts) and a movie star whose fame has already began to fade (Richard Gere).
After about half-an-hour of listening to the soundtrack, an old song by Roy Orbison called "Pretty Woman' started playing. Olmert, who was listening to the music with his eyes half-shut, suddenly turned to Milchan and Marshall and said: "Listen, I have an idea for you – why don't you call the movie 'Pretty Woman,' after the song?"
"Forget it," Marshall replied, "it's too kitschy." Milchan, on his part, also had his doubts. But Olmert, already an experienced politician, managed to convince the two his idea was not so bad.
The rest, as everyone knows, is history. 'Pretty Woman,' which debuted in 1990, earned USD 463 million across the world and marked the starting point for Roberts' meteoric rise to stardom. Gere, an actor who seemed to have had his days of fame behind him before the movie was released, also received a boost to his then faltering career.
And Olmert? Despite his success as a Hollywood copywriter, apparently decided to concentrate his efforts on the Israeli political arena.
Yifat Manhardt contributed to the report