It was all down to the one character who saved the whole thing, and I think we all know who that was.
As we all know of the beloved 90s rom com, the ending of My Best Friend’s Wedding sees Julianne (Julia Roberts) bid farewell to her best friend, Michael (Dermot Mulroney), and his bride, Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) after failing to split them apart.
At the wedding reception, Julianne then dances with George, her gay, charismatic confidant played by Rupert Everett, and all is well. However, the ending was originally going to see Julianne meet a new man, played by the always lovely John Corbett of SATC and My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame.
Test audiences hated the movie and hated Julianne. “They wanted her dead,” said director P.J. Hogan. “They just couldn’t understand her motives.” A studio exec asked Hogan the day after the test screening, “How are you going to save this movie?”
Hogan also explained the pressures surrounding Roberts’ star status: “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 answer soon became clear: George.
The character was expanded and new sympathetic scenes between him and Julianne were added. Hogan explains: “Every time Julianne talked to him, she’d explain why she was doing these terrible things; he’s her conscience throughout.”
George would call out Julianne when she would take it too far, one of the key scenes being when George is called when Julianne is running after Michael, who’s running after Kimmy, and George asks Julianne: “Who’s chasing you?”
The new ending was filmed eight months after the film wrapped. Hogan continues: “It would have been such a downer of an ending if George hadn’t shown up. That one scene somehow gave the audience permission to forgive Julianne. Those last five minutes really made the whole movie work.”