But that was a moment where there are a lot of auditions and trying to put people together to make that cast work — but when he asked me to make the movie, I realized that my world was going in that direction of making movies. But we’ll have to wait to see him in a galaxy far, far away, because right now he’s promoting “Arbitrage,” out Friday, in which he stars as Robert Miller, an über-wealthy hedge-fund executive frantically trying to keep the pieces of his complicated life from falling apart. He’s trying to make everything right while not going to jail, which seems reasonable. I like the movie. And you’re not exaggerating.
No! I lived with that! And I’m proud of it. It’s early in the film, but we don’t see that coming. The only vaguely sci-fi thing I did was “Mothman Prophecies.” Not a terrible movie. We were carried away by the story, watching it.
So Michael Fassbender does a movie like “Shame” and that leads to something like “Prometheus.” I feel like you never went down the sci-fi or action-movie role. There’s some things in that that are … This is a movie with an independent distributor. A studio picture. But I’m really proud of that movie. The things he does are human.
I liked it because when I first read the script it resonated with Bernie Madoff and Ted Kennedy … But sci-fi? Yes. Morgan …
Yeah. and said, “Let’s make this movie.” It’s “Days of Heaven.” That, to me — it didn’t have anything to do with anyone else; it had to do with me. Unfortunately, the companies that make movies don’t make these anymore. This person doesn’t work.
Somebody, please cast Richard Gere in a science-fiction movie! Sure, it’s hardly the first genre that comes to mind when you think of the suave, intellectual star of “Pretty Woman” and “An Officer and a Gentleman,” but he says he’s game. But he made one horrible decision. Lasse Hallström is, too. The best people working in Washington came through his office. The Jamie Dimons of the world are more relevant. It’s the hubris of, “I can’t lose. 7)
He does some terrible things.
Yeah, but we all do. You don’t get along. And if I do, I’m going to fix it because I’m a lord of the universe.”
But it was there.
It was there, but that’s one of the bizarre things about this. I said, “Applesbee? “Applebee’s? What is it?”
And then the car accident that results in the death of his girlfriend happens.
It went well, so thank you. And who wouldn’t want to see the man who taught Julia Roberts how to be classy shoot lasers at an invading army of mutants?
I was worried this movie was going down that Bernie Madoff-type road, but that’s not what this is at all. I certainly have had very few times, but I’ve had times where an actor and I did not fit. Nick and I made a point of that because, when we made the movie, it was so much on everyone’s mind — this was a year and four months ago. Do you ever feel a film is not going well?
Usually, what happens is you’ve gone over the script a million times and you go in really feeling confident about your script, [but then] you’re shooting and you realize that this scene doesn’t work. And that’s what I liked about it. And that’s more like this character. I’ve worked in Washington now for almost 30 years. A certain blockage comes up. That’s why you’re rooting for him. Everybody does. “The Hoax” is one of my favorite movies that I’ve made, and very few people have seen it. But sci-fi is something that interests me a lot, and that’s one of the genres that, for whatever reason, I haven’t been in.
Around the era when you were doing “American Gigolo” and “An Officer and a Gentleman,” nothing like that came up?
This comes down to scripts, you know? There are good version, there are bad versions. What do you do in that situation?
Well, let’s assume he didn’t mean to do any of it. So I think we did achieve that in places in that movie. The scene in the park with my daughter, where I explain to her what happened — I certainly spin it in my favor. At all. It’s large compromises with ethics and morality the guy does, but it’s all within the realm we all do. It’s not a festival movie by design. And I wanted to be genuinely creepy. And I think that’s why, in a way, we root for this guy and we identify with him. This isn’t a festival movie.
The topic came up during a discussion of “Star Wars,” which — hard as it may be to picture — Gere saw in theaters back in 1977. But you’d never see it in the film.
What movie was most important to your career? “An Officer and a Gentleman” or “Pretty Woman”? Or maybe “American Gigolo”?
It was the first one, for me. So I liked that gray area of someone like that, and adding that to the financial thing, to me, was the perfect storm of a character for two hours. Not tricky creepy, but sick creepy. Whether it would communicate to other people? I didn’t have a clue. But you’ll never see it in the film. The guys who make big bets and win.
But there’s already a lot going on.
I think it took you off of that one track that, maybe, you felt like, “I know this very well.” You don’t see it coming.
‘Bachelorette’ (Sept. And I said, “OK, let’s just do it head-on.” And we talked a little bit about him, [how] he’s a sociopath, he’s crazy. The first feature from writer-director Nicholas Jarecki, “Arbitrage” also stars Susan Sarandon as Miller’s wife, Brit Marling as his daughter, Tim Roth as a hard-boiled police detective on his trail and Nate Parker as a family friend who pays a heavy price for helping Miller in his hour of need. And either it doesn’t fit the story or it’s written all wrong or something, and you get a sense that there’s something that’s not really happening. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
It’s creepy, though.
It’s creepy. This is like “Coriolanus” or something — “Richard II.” Big characters. That script came to me about two or three years before, and I read it and said, “This isn’t for me.” I didn’t get it. And then I read it and thought, What was I thinking? This is perfect.
So that was a surprise?
The degree that that has been embraced universally, the whole planet …
Maybe that’s for the best.
I’ve never conceptualized a career.. I kept saying the line wrong. We all make bad decisions.
Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher star as the three worst bridesmaids this side of Kristen Wiig in “Bachelorette.” Based on the stage play by director and writer Leslye Headland, the hilarious film debuted on video on demand and iTunes in early August and earned nearly $500,000 during its first weekend.
After the accident, Robert flees the scene. Horrible, horrible decision. I remember Julia and I saw it together in a preview and we were sitting next to one another laughing and moved with everybody else. Except for maybe “The Jackal.” Did that interest you?
The action thing was not an interest to me. So this stands out, in a way, as being: “Wow, this is a rarity.”
When you’re filming a movie like this, can you tell if things are going pretty well? Or even on “Pretty Woman” or “Unfaithful,” do you feel, “People are going to like this”?
“Pretty Woman,” yes. He broke the law in a big way, but it’s understandable. But, in the end, they were in the realm of rational business. He just lost the bet. It’s a movie that Sidney Lumet would have made in the 70s. What’s the fault? These are Shakespearean characters. We used to have a line where I talked about Madoff. On a human level, who would just run away from that situation? How many people would have just run away? Very few.
That was my first date. The mix of people and story, and the way Garry Marshall was able to kind of corral it within his worldview, felt really good. not a great movie.
Can you give an example?
No. I’ve never — those few instances, it didn’t show up on film.
My favorite line in “Arbitrage” is when Robert asks, “What’s an Applebee’s?”
[Laughs] Do you want to know the truth? I didn’t know what it was. They’re working on human-rights stuff, they’re working on health stuff, they’re working on civil-rights stuff. But he’s not as relevant anymore. We all shave taxes — white lies to our wives and lovers. When Lasse called me up and said, “Look, I’m involved with this movie,” I said, “I read that script.” And my first thought was, No, it’s not for me.
The CEO of J.P. Terry Malick called me up in my hotel in L.A. It’s the guys who are winners. It’s creepy. He made a big bet and he lost. They really are. Chappaquiddick. And Ted Kennedy was one of the most responsible Senators that we’ve ever had. None of us did.
Ahead, Gere explains why his character isn’t really like Bernie Madoff, remembers watching “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts and singles out the movie from his past that still means the most to him.
So you’re feeling, “I don’t know about this”?
Yeah. And either I wasn’t open to it in the moment or, who knows? A movie like that, it was just timing of when a script comes.
Well, he’s not a sociopath — that’s a different universe. So it’s just really well-made on all levels: It’s well-conceived, well-written, well-acted, well-shot, scored. It was made with independent money; it didn’t have a distributor when we made it. These other things, I don’t really think about it, to tell you the truth.
Am I a bad person because I’m rooting for him to succeed?
That’s true. So I’ve never thought about the marketplace at all, honestly. The best people were trained in his office, came through the stuff he was pushing and working on his entire life. I was 15 and had to sneak in by buying a ticket to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” instead.
[Laughs] How did the date go?
For some reason, I can’t picture you in a theater enjoying “Star Wars.”
I remember it very well! I remember sitting there at an early showing of “Star Wars,” and the first time that the going-at-light-speed thing happened — which was new; now it seems silly — that was like, “Whoa!” I remember that very well.
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. Not the ones who Ponzi scheme and lie.
When you were coming up as an actor, what movies did you see? Did you see “Star Wars” with everyone else in 1977?
**SPOILER ALERT: Skip the next three questions and answers if you don’t want to know about a key plot point that happens early in the movie.**
“Arbitrage” played at Sundance and didn’t come out of the festival with the hype of something like “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Can too much festival hype be a bad thing?
Well, you know, that was a festival movie