It's almost impossible to believe, but the original ending for My Best Friend's Wedding was completely revised for one pretty simple reason: Audiences hated actress Julia Roberts' character. The 1997 comedy follows as Roberts' character, Julianne, realizes she's in love with her best friend and decides to try to win him over, nearly ruining his wedding day. Admittedly, it's not the best idea we've ever heard, but it ended up making for a pretty great movie after the studio made some major changes.
My Best Friend's Wedding was always supposed to end without Roberts getting the guy, but in the original version her character meets someone new in the final scene and starts to fall for him. The only problem? Test viewers absolutely hated it. "They wanted her dead," director P.J. Hogan told Entertainment Weekly. "They just couldn't understand her motives." Naturally, the studio didn't like the response. "They were very nervous because we were making a Julia Roberts film and they couldn't have her end up alone and unhappy," Hogan added.
The solution? Simple. Enter George, Julianne's charming, gay confidant and her not-so-inner voice of reason throughout the film. The character, played by Rupert Everett, found his role expanded as he became Roberts' conscience, calling her out on her schemes and even becoming a central part of the film's biggest move to make Julianne an empathetic character. Near the movie's conclusion, after Julianne confesses her love to BFF Michael and ends up chasing him (as he in turn chases his bride-to-be), George asks her bluntly, "Who's chasing you?"
That moment—and one more to follow it—changed everything. When George shows up to surprise and dance with Julianne at the wedding, Hogan found his perfect (if a bit bittersweet) ending. "It would have been such a downer of an ending if George hadn't shown up," Hogan shared. "That one scene somehow gave the audience permission to forgive Julianne. Those last five minutes really made the whole movie work."
While it's impossible to picture the film without George's ever-present character, it's even harder to imagine Julianne dancing with someone else in that final scene! It also sounds like it's just about time for a little reunion with our own copies of My Best Friend's Wedding—if you can't find us, just follow the popcorn aroma.