Jason Alexander Was Physically Attacked Over ‘Pretty Woman’

Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

Jason Alexander is, of course, most known for his iconic run as the buffoonish George Costanza on Seinfeld. But it was another role had fans stopping him in the street — out of spite! Over the years, the actor has reflected on the notoriety that came with playing the villain in Pretty Woman.

Jason Alexander in ‘Pretty Woman’

Jason Alexander made his breakout Seinfeld debut in 1989, finding fast fame alongside co-stars Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards. But just one year later, he appeared on the big screen as a very, very different kind of character.

Pretty Woman, which premiered in March of 1990, would anoint Julia Roberts as the queen of romantic comedies and reinvigorate Richard Gere’s sex symbol status. But the film had the opposite effect on Alexander’s career. Portraying Phillip Stuckey, a ruthless business lawyer, Alexander’s performance epitomized the cold insensitivity that leading man Edward (Gere) was meant to overcome.

Upon finding out that Edward’s new companion Vivian (Roberts) is a prostitute, Stuckey is immediately condescending. The pair first faces off at a polo match where Stuckey propositions her while his wife steps away. “I never had anyone make me feel as cheap as you made me today,” Vivan says to Edward after the fact. And later, after Edward blows a business opportunity, Stuckey takes out his anger on Vivian directly. Charging into their Regent Beverly Willshire suite, Stuckey attempts to rape Vivian, hitting her before Edward can intervene.

And it’s that violent scene which would haunt Alexander for years to come…

“Fans were attacking me…”

In late 2020, Alexander sat down for an in-depth interview with the podcast At Home with the Creative Coalition. In the episode, titled “Jason Alexander: An Unexpected Gift,” Alexander went into detail on the process of auditioning for Pretty Woman, as well as the unexpected aftermath of the film.

Ironically, the actor said, director Gary Marshall did not even want to cast him. During the same podcast interview, Alexander said Marshall told him: “‘You’re too young. You’re too baby-faced. You’re too little.'” He says he got the part “because they couldn’t make a deal with the actor they wanted and they were desperate.”

Despite his “baby face,” though, Alexander played one of the most memorable slime-balls in cinema history. So memorable, in fact, that he said Pretty Woman fans were terrorizing him in public.

Speaking on the podcast, he put it frankly: “I was known around the world as the asshole who tried to rape Julia Roberts, so women hated me… I would walk down the street and women would say mean things to me… I got punched many times. I got spit on by one woman. It was a rough year.”

Talking to Us Weekly more recently, Alexander recounted even more instances of fan abuse. “I would walk the street and I would get looks from women going, ‘I don’t know if that was the character or the guy.’ And a couple of them, would come up and say things and occasionally I’d get swatted at and scolded and that kind of thing.”

He also discussed the staying power of Pretty Woman. “It’s not necessarily a movie that I would have thought would have stood the test of time because of the subject matter… because of where we have become about the kind of abuse of women in general, but also specifically I would imagine of the sex worker industry,” he said. “And yet it is a testament, I believe to the mind of Gary Marshall and the amazing winning charm and talent of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.”


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