USED TO BE THAT to star opposite Richard Gere, an actress had to wear next to nothing and play a girl who walks the streets. But nine years and gazillions of box office dollars later, Roberts (who got $17 million for her work here) gets to keep Gere and her clothes, playing a woman with an affinity for walking… the aisle. Roberts’ title character, who goes through fiancés like cheap stockings, piques the interest of a reporter, played by Gere, as she prepares to commit (or not) to groom No. 4; the reporter comes to town to investigate and quickly loses his objectivity.
So what took nearly a decade to get these costars interested in each other again? “Richard and I, dare I say, do not share the same taste in material,” explains the diplomatic Roberts, who shot this after completing ”Notting Hill,” making her this summer’s double threat. “When this was sent to me and I heard Richard liked it, I thought, ‘That’s worth a read.'” Marshall, the director of — what else? — ”Pretty Woman,” first read the script eight years ago and agreed to direct after a conference call with Roberts and Gere: “There was only one catch,” he says. “The film takes place in the summer and fall, and we were filming in the middle of winter, pasting leaves on trees. It’s hard to be romantic when two lips kiss and suck on ice.” So we know they’re gonna kiss again, but Roberts says to make further comparisons to ”Pretty Woman” is “an exercise in futility, so save your energy.” Marshall certainly saved his: “Since I’d worked with them before, all I had to do was yell ‘action’ and ‘shut up.'”