Interview: Richard Gere on his new movie Arbitrage
TRICKY, earnest and difficult are just some of the adjectives that have been used to describe Richard Gere in interviews over the years. But talking about his latest movie Arbitrage, he's charming.
He might be rather serious, but Gere, who has been a Buddhist for most of his adult life, actually listens to questions rather than ramble from pre-approved lines.
These days it takes a lot for the actor, 63, to leave his boutique hotel in upstate New York, the place he shares with former model and Bond girl Carey Lowell, his wife of 10 years, and their 13-year-old son Homer, but Arbitrage stood out.
"My agents were very clever," he explains. "They gave me the script and I said, 'Tell me more'. They said, 'No, just read the script'.
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"I've obviously read a lot of scripts in my lifetime... I read it and it was really terrific."
Set in New York, Arbitrage was written by New York University Film School graduate Nicholas Jarecki, who had not directed before.
What Jarecki lacked in movie experience, he made up for in knowledge of the film's subject matter. As the son of traders, he knows the "financial world very well", says Gere.
In the end the actor decided to jump in and the result is a taut, suspense thriller about hedge fund magnate Miller that begins on the eve of his 60th birthday.
On the surface he appears to be the epitome of success, but behind the gilded walls of his mansion he's in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading to a major bank before the depths of his fraud are revealed.
Gere says he wasn't interested in conveying Miller as an all-out villain.
"I chose to make this guy as multi-dimensional as I could because I've never met someone who was one thing.
"I don't think any of us are true all the time. There's an element of spin in almost everything we do .
"I've made very bad decisions in my life. Not to the degree this guy does," he adds, laughing.
As a young man Gere studied philosophy at the University Of Massachusetts but dropped out to "get serious about acting". Aftertaking the lead in Grease when it opened in Londonhe went on to play a male prostitute in American Gigolo, , then along came An Officer And A Gentleman followed by Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts.
He's since admitted he wasn't sure about doing the latter, but industry friends talked him into it.
"They're a lifetime ago," he says now. "I saw An Officer And A Gentleman in New York not that long ago and of course I recognise it but in many ways it was another person."
In the 23 years since Pretty Woman was released, Gere has appeared in a wide range of movies, from drama and action to romance and musicals, but not once has he been nominated for an Oscar.
But he's not feeling jaded about the movie industry, explaining: "I love making films but I don't want to waste time, so I have to have some sort of strong connection to the material, and the people, to want to do it.
"But I still like making movies, yeah. It's fun and still play for me."
Arbitrage is released today.