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Jason Alexander says people hated him after 'Pretty Woman'

In a new interview, the "Seinfeld" alum is opening up about the indelible impact the film left on the world and on his career.
/ Source: TODAY

One of the film's that has stood the test of time is "Pretty Woman," which placed second right behind "You've Got Mail" in our rom-com bracket for an upset that left many die-hard fans disappointed. (Me.)

In a new interview, Jason Alexander is opening up about the impact the film has left on the world... and on his career.

"It didn’t surprise me when the film first came out because it was such a phenomenon when it first came out," Alexander told US Weekly. "It was really the hot item in Hollywood that summer. So there was a lot of energy around it."

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere starred in the 1990-romantic comedy that put Roberts on the map as America's sweetheart. Telling the story of a street wise sex worker and a cold-hearted businessman, the film ended up raking in $463.4 million at the box office.

Jason Alexander in 2016.Jesse Grant

“(Roberts and Gere) just performed that thing into something that is undeniably loving and fun and beautiful despite sort of the ugliness of where it occurs," the 61-year-old actor said.

That ugliness is portrayed by Alexander's character Philip Stuckey, the money-obsessed, boarish lawyer who represents Gere's character Edward Lewis. In one scene, Stuckey especially demonstrates his brutality by assaulting Roberts's character Vivian Ward.

"And when I say fans were attacking me, there were two handfuls of people,” Alexander said of fans' response to his character. “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.”

But other than that visceral reaction from some, other fans were keen on expressing their love for the project.

“I do Q&A shows and people do ask about 'Pretty Woman' all the time and lovingly. It’s not necessarily a movie that I would have thought would have stood the test of time because of the subject matter,” the "Seinfeld" star explained. “And 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. 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.”

In an age where reboots, revivals and sequels are the only projects that seem to be made, Alexander dismisses that possibility for "Pretty Woman."

“They talked about it for a while. If you ask the inner circle of the people who made it, they look at 'Runaway Bride' as the sequel,” he said. “Even though it’s not same story, they feel like that is the follow-up to 'Pretty Woman' because it’s the same group of people, for the most part. So, no, I don’t think so.”

Also directed by Marshall, the 1999 romantic comedy reunited Roberts and Gere again in the main roles, featuring Héctor Elizondo (the hotel manager in "Pretty Woman") as well.

“Let’s see, I’m 61," Alexander added. "I don’t want to even guess how old the rest of the cast is, but I’m not sure it has quite the same sparkle now as it did back in 1990.”

Regardless of coming out 31 years ago, Alexander admits "Pretty Woman" still sparkles today.

"It’s amazing," he said. "It’s really kind of amazing how that film has endured. I don’t know a lot of films like it that have that kind of staying power.”