If you go through the bonus features on a DVD and watch the deleted scenes, one thing becomes immediately apparent: That shit was deleted for a reason. But, as we've discussed before, sometimes important stuff does get cut from films, and sometimes that stuff includes character moments and backstories that kind of change the whole way you look at the film.
6Pretty Woman -- Julia Roberts' Character Was an Addict
In Pretty Woman, millionaire Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) offers a hooker called Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) $3,000 to spend an entire week living with him and pretending to be his date.
"I can guarantee with 83 percent certainty that I won't murder you."
Despite their differences, Vivian and Edward eventually fall in love and decide to stay together, in a perfectly happy fairy tale ending ...
The Deleted Backstory
... except for the part where Edward now has to deal with her nasty cocaine habit. Yeah, the fact that she's going through withdrawal throughout the entire movie because Edward won't let her get high certainly casts a new light on their relationship.
"That's lovely. Be right back, going to a pawn shop and an alley."
The screenplay for Pretty Woman was originally entitled $3,000 and was much darker and more dramatic. Remember that cutesy scene in the film where Edward thinks that Vivian is concealing drugs in the penthouse bathroom, but it turns out she's only holding dental floss? In the script it goes a little different:
Awesome Film (PDF)
In the finished film, Vivian claims that she doesn't use drugs, but let's examine the evidence, shall we? There are numerous points throughout the movie where Vivian appears to be unusually energetic, restless, and talkative. In fact, her loopy behavior becomes the source of a constant running gag: There are no less than five occasions in the movie where Edward tells Vivian to stop fidgeting. And, of course, fidgeting, restlessness, and manic energy are all common signs of cocaine use.
This isn't a bubble bath.
The only direct reference to cocaine in the film comes from Vivian's friend Kit, who owes a drug debt to a dealer. However, the original script reveals that Kit was a full-fledged junkie about two snorts away from an overdose. At one point, Vivian visits Kit at their apartment and it's apparent that if she chooses to stay with Edward, Kit probably will not survive much longer.
Since Pretty Woman was ultimately produced by Touchstone Pictures, a subsidiary of Disney, there's probably no way in hell the protagonist was going to be a cokehead. Ironically, considering how much money this film made for Hollywood producers, there's a huge chance some of that money went back to coke anyway.
5The Ring -- Rachel Passes the Curse on to a Child Murderer
In The Ring, Naomi Watts plays Rachel, a journalist who finds a mysterious cursed videotape that causes people to die seven days after watching it (the Rotten Tomatoes rating on that thing must be brutal).
"Shoddy editing, dull characters, caused girl to crawl out of my TV set and kill me. 3/10."
After finding the tape in an isolated motel, Rachel (dumbly) brings it home and shows it to her young son and ex-boyfriend, unwittingly cursing them both. After the boyfriend dies, Rachel realizes that the only way to save her son's life is to make a copy of the tape and show it to someone else, therefore passing on the curse. But who's gonna be the poor sap who will die so that her kid can live? Will she give it to a terminal cancer patient? Send it to America's Funniest Home Videos? Or what?
"I'm the only person left who still owns a VCR, so I'm pretty much fucked."
The Deleted Backstory
An early cut of the film solved this problem by introducing a new character: a charming serial child murderer/rapist played by Chris Cooper.
We're just gonna go ahead and guess that he would have worn the same facial hair as in Adaptation.
The film originally opened with Rachel doing a story on Cooper's character, who is trying to get Rachel's help to get paroled. Rachel goes "Yeah, nope" and forgets about the guy, but then remembers him when she needs to unload that pesky curse of hers. The original ending, as filmed, featured Rachel delivering the videotape to Cooper's cell, because, hey, if you just have to pass on a fatal curse to someone, it might as well be a total douche-tank.
"In fact, maybe you could organize a movie night with the other rapists or something."
So why was he cut? According to the actor, after being introduced to his character, test screening audiences spent the rest of the film asking, "Well, where's Cooper?" Audiences seemed to find this child murderer a lot more intriguing than that creepy long-haired girl climbing out of the well, so they were pretty disappointed when he didn't reappear until the end. And so the filmmakers just cut him out of the film, completely missing the opportunity to Photoshop Cooper's face onto the girl.