Garry Marshall Talks 'Pretty Woman,' Julia Roberts at Film in California Conference

Garry Marshall - Getty - H 2016
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"We had Julia Roberts' 21st birthday on Hollywood Blvd. I only gave her a sip of champagne because I didn't want to mess up the movie," the director said about shooting the film on location in California.

At the Film in California Conference on Saturday, one thing was noted over and over again — that the state of California is and always should be the capital of filmmaking.

To fill everyone in attendance in on why, Garry Marshall, famed director of Pretty Woman, took over the stage at CBS Radford in Studio City.

"Hello, I'm here! I'm smiling. I'm saying hello!" Marshall said as he greeted the crowd, and in turn was welcomed with laughter and a roaring applause. "Why should you shoot in L.A.? Why not? Toronto can look like anything. But why go there, you're here!" he added.

The director, who has 18 movies behind him, shot most of his films in California, including Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, Georgia Rule, and most recently, Mother's Day. At the event, Marshall cracked jokes about all of the above.  

"I shot Pretty Woman ... do you remember Pretty Woman? I shot it here," he said. "I don't want to shock you, it was about a prostitute. It was about hookers!"

Had the movie not been shot on location, star Julia Roberts may have missed out on celebrating her 21st birthday, Marshall joked: "We had Julia Roberts' 21st birthday on Hollywood Blvd. I only gave her a sip of champagne because I didn't want to mess up the movie."

He continued: "Who would know that Genovia is in Burbank? I don't want to tell people that. Why depress them?" Marshall said of The Princess Diaries, the Disney movie that jump-started Anne Hathaway's career.

His comments about Georgia Rule were brief, but candid. "There was Lindsay Lohan ... let's talk about that later," he joked about the controversial actress. 

Of his latest project, Mother's Day, which has grossed $30 million domestically, the veteran director shared he has one trick up his sleeve to attract big names. "I have a list of big names who all have babies. And those are the ones I call because they want to shoot in California," he said.

Marshall told the audience he won't stop shooting in the state, saying, "I will continue to for the rest of my career."

His opening remarks were followed by a panel for the new CHiPs movie with director and star Dax Shepard.

Other sessions on Saturday included a "State of Production" panel moderated by The Hollywood Reporter's Carolyn Giardina, as well as a panel with the producers and stars of Tangerine, moderated by THR senior writer Seth Abramovitch.

Director/producer Ryan Murphy also was presented with the new Golden Slate Award by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Scream Queens star Jamie Lee Curtis.