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‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ Went With an Alternate Ending Due to Issues With Julia Roberts’ Character

Julia RobertsJulia Roberts starred as Julianne Potter in 1997 romantic comedy 'My Best Friend's Wedding.' (Photo by Ronald Siemoneit/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

America’s not-so-sweetheart. It’s been 20 years since the release of classic wedding flick My Best Friend’s Wedding, and somehow, new secrets continue to trickle out from behind the scenes. The latest revelation—according to director P.J. Hogan—is a big one.

People were apparently so incensed with Julia Roberts’ character that he was forced to release an alternate ending. Hogan shared the behind-the-scenes drama to Entertainment Weekly, saying test audiences were less-than-impressed with Julianne Potter and not because of Julia Roberts’ representation of the character. If anything, the beloved actress just did that good of a job projecting Julianne’s manipulative ways to viewers.

“They wanted her dead,” Hogan said. “They just couldn’t understand her motives.”

After the test screening, an executive pulled Hogan aside. “How are you going to save this movie?” the unnamed individual asked the director. “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.”

My Best Friend's Wedding movie poster

My Best Friend’s Wedding, starring Julia Roberts, was released in 1997. Credit: TriStar Pictures

In the romantic comedy, Julianne ultimately failed to separate her beloved best friend, Michael (Dermot Mulroney), and his younger fiancee, Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Despite Julianne’s numerous attempts at disassembling the impending nuptials, one person served as the voice of moral reason throughout the film: Her gay mentor and friend George (Rupert Everett).

“We expanded his character,” Hogan said. “Every time Julianne talked to him, she’d explain why she was doing these terrible things; he’s her conscience throughout.”

Eight months after the movie had originally wrapped, Roberts returned to the set to film the alternate ending. As recalled, Julianne ended up dancing in the final scene with George after the newlyweds exit. “It would have been such a downer of an ending if George hadn’t shown up,” Hogan noted. “Those last five minutes really made the whole movie work.”

Meanwhile, what exactly was the original ending that caused such a hullabaloo? The first script ended with Julianne meeting a handsome guy (John Corbett) in the final stages of the movie.

About the Author

Esther Lee
Esther Lee
Esther is the Senior News Editor at The Knot. A self-proclaimed pop culture enthusiast, she appreciates a good celebrity interview just as much as she adores Nancy Meyers movies. You can find her kicking off her mornings with barre and a green juice, traveling and exploring new cultures, and rapidly scrolling her feed for the latest and greatest news. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @theestherlee.