Interview by: Sophia Boccard
Richard Gere, the star of over thirty filmsâ€”from Pretty Woman to Chicagoâ€”gives us an exclusive look inside the filming of his latest project, Shall We Dance? He also chats about his spirituality, falling in love, and why he believes that this year’s presidential election is the most important election of our time.
As soon as he sits down for the interview, Gere eases the room by poking fun of himself. When asked about his dancing abilities, he humbly deflects any praise from himself, and says that he had a good teacher. “I’m not a dancer, I’m a faker,” he says. “My job is to be an actor, so I can fake a lot of things.” The last time he danced with his wife? Their wedding.
It took him months to get down the film’s entire dance sequence, but he only had a few camera hours to actually perform his newly acquired skills. “You can’t teach someone to be a genius at anything in three months,” he says. In fact, due to scheduling conflicts, he wasn’t even able to practice dancing with costar Jennifer Lopez until the day the scene was shot and filmed.
Hard work has its benefits: Gere was thrilled to work with both Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon. He describes Jennifer as “a beautiful woman and great dancer, so it was a thrill for me.” Even though he and Susan have been friends for what seems like decades, this is their first film together.
Not only did he enjoy working with the cast, he also developed a love for the script, which is what drew him to the film in the first place. “There has to be a moment initially with the script where you fall in love. If you’re in love, it’s always fresh.
Even though he’s been an A-list actor for over two decades, Gere admits that he still gets butterflies in his stomach. “Every time I get in front of the camera, no matter how easy the scene may be, I’m still nervous. Even after all these years there’s still this buzz there. And that’s analogous to being in love.”
One of the most prominent leaders in spreading Buddhism to the West, Gere is comfortable sharing his ideologies on issues both social and political. For instance, he stresses the importance of treating each day as another precious moment in life. To elaborate, he likens this perspective to capitalism. “Capitalism has to expand all the time or it dies. . . Relationships are the same, we have to be growing.”
When asked about the presidential election, Gere puts in a few goods words for John Kerry. “I’ve never seen an election that was more important than this one, in defining who we are as a people.” He adds that “we need a fresh start” and feels that Kerry will do that. Obviously he is in favor for everyone to really get out there to vote. In conclusion: Shall we dance Richard Gere? Or Senator John Kerry?