'My Best Friend's Wedding': Original Ending Could Have Changed Julia Roberts' Julianne's Fate

'My Best Friend's Wedding': Original Ending Could Have Changed Julia Roberts' Julianne's Fate

01/02/2021

A satisfying ending to a movie isn’t always easy to do. Take the Julia Roberts film, My Best Friend’s Wedding, for example. The movie has a somewhat unexpected ending, especially when you compare it to other films starring Roberts. But its original ending would have considerably changed the fate of the main character. 

What was the premise of ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’?

My Best Friend’s Wedding was a 1997 romantic comedy film. The film capitalized on the immense popularity of Roberts, who was still riding high off the wave achieved from Pretty Woman in the early ’90s.

In the movie, Roberts stars as a woman named Julianne whose best friend Michael (played by Dermot Mulroney) gets engaged to another woman named Kimberly (Cameron Diaz). Roberts, advised by her friend George (Rupert Everett), realizes she’s actually in love with Michael and attempts to break up the couple’s impending nuptials. 

The film was a major box office success. According to IMDb, it grossed nearly $300 million worldwide on a budget of $38 million, representing quite the financial windfall for the studio. It also proved Roberts was still a major box office draw, a role she has continued to inhabit to this day. 

How ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ ends

In a typical romantic comedy, the main character often attempts to win the love of someone. That character is tested, and at some point their success might even be in doubt. Almost always, however, the character does something to eventually win the love of the object of their affection. It’s a standard winning template for rom-coms.

But My Best Friend’s Wedding bucked the trend. At the end of this film, Julianne realizes that Michael doesn’t love her back. Michael and Kimberly’s marriage goes on unimpeded. Our hero doesn’t quite get her happy ending, though she does learn a bit about herself in the process. It wasn’t such a sad ending, as Julianne grows as a character and does the morally correct thing. But it was much different from most other romantic comedies. 

However, the original ending for the film would have changed the plot significantly. 

The original ending for ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’

According to Entertainment Weekly, the filmmakers always intended to end the film with Julianne not ending up with Michael. The main issue was that test audiences didn’t like her character and found her unsympathetic.

The original ending had Julianne meeting someone else (played by John Corbett), but the test audiences felt this ending was tacked on and unjustified. Director P.J. Hogan said the studio in charge of the film wanted Julianne to receive a happy ending: 

“They were very nervous because we were making a Julia Roberts film and they couldn’t have her end up alone and unhappy. So we had to come up with something that pleased the studio, but that was acceptable to the audience.”

The creative team made the decision to add Everett’s character as Julianne’s voice of reason. He helped her examine her choices (many of which were bad) and served as something of a mouthpiece for the audience.

The film’s revised ending included George showing up to dance with Julianne at Michael and Kimberly’s wedding. It enabled the film to conclude on a lighter, happier note without compromising on the tough ending. It’s probably what made it one of the most enduring films of Roberts’ illustrious career.

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