30 Years Ago: Julia Roberts Sings Prince’s ‘Kiss’ in ‘Pretty Woman’ Bath Scene
1990's Graffiti Bridge may have been a box office dud, but a Prince song was still heard in cinemas everywhere that year -- albeit briefly and not sung by him -- during a scene in Pretty Woman.
The Garry Marshall-directed romantic comedy, which premiered March 23, 1990, stars Julia Roberts, in her career-making role, as Vivian, a Los Angeles prostitute hired by Edward (Richard Gere) a New York-based corporate raider to keep him company as he looks to make a big deal. In the scene, Edward is talking to his lawyer Phillip (Jason Alexander) on the telephone when he hears something coming from the bathroom. He walks in to find Vivian in taking a bubblebath and singing "Kiss." Eventually she opens her eyes and sees him standing over her.
"Don't you just love Prince?" she asks, as she removes her earphones from her Walkman.
"More than life itself" he responds.
"Kiss" wasn't featured on the soundtrack, which was released on a different label (EMI) than Prince's, but the song's exclusion didn't hurt the soundtrack's commercial appeal. It sold three million copies and, in addition to exposing the Roy Orbison classic "Oh, Pretty Woman" to a new audience, spawned a pair of singles that reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, Go West's "King of Wishful Thinking" and the No. 1 "It Must Have Been Love." A third single, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Show Me Your Soul," peaked at No. 10 on the Modern Rock chart.
A year after Pretty Woman's release, Prince took inspiration from Roberts' real life. Her breakup with her Flatliners co-star Keifer Sutherland, a few days before they were to be married, reportedly inspired "Standing at the Altar." The track was recorded in 1994 by Margie Cox and released on the 1-800 New Funk compilation of artists on Prince's NPG label. It was released as a single in Europe, but did not chart anywhere.
In another twist to the story, Gere, Roberts and Marshall teamed up again in 1999 for Runaway Bride, with Roberts starring as one who has frequently left men standing at the alter and Gere as the man who finally warms up her perpetually cold feet. The film featured a number of references to the earlier movie, including a re-framing of a scene that took place in a boutique.
In 2018, Pretty Woman was adapted into a stage musical, with a new original score by Bryan Adams. After premiering in Chicago, it opened on Broadway later that year, closing in October 2019 after 420 performances.