ABU DHABI: Legendary actor and humanitarian Richard Gere is keen to be part of films that focus on the Arab world — ones that project the true image of Islam, people of this region and their culture. Such cinema has been missing from Hollywood productions ever since the celebrated actor Anthony Quinn’s Lawrence of Arabia.
“Of course I will be part of that,” said Gere while talking to the media on the second day of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2012, adding that he makes no distinction if the cause is noble.
Gere’s latest film Arbitrage, which opened the sixth film festival in Abu Dhabi, was co-produced by a Saudi businessman Mohammed Al Turki. Interacting with the media, Turki said that he became part of this film because he wanted to bridge the gap between the Arab and Western world through films.
The feature directorial debut of writer Nicholas Jarecki, is a taut and alluring suspense thriller about love, loyalty, and high finance. It received rave reviews from critics and filmgoers alike when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Speaking about the film, Gere said that the movie is not about the financial world. It is about people’s morale and how business decisions resonate in your personal life. He said the depth of human relations comes out vividly on viewing the film, like how the protagonist shares relations with his wife, daughter and brother and how his relationships change on losing power.
“Such films used to be made during the 1970s. Not many people write such scripts these days,” he added.
Commenting on his character in the film, Gere said that actors do not judge the characters they play. Similarly, he researches the background of each character and plugs himself into it while playing the role.
The second day of the festival, which was dedicated to Gere, saw him interacting with his admirers in this part of the world during an exclusive chat show hosted on the sidelines of the festival.
Gere, who is known for his diversity of roles — ranging from his Golden Globe winning performance in Chicago, to the critically acclaimed Pretty Woman, An Officer And A Gentleman, American Gigolo, and Primal Fear, was face-to-face with the audience during “The Making of Arbitrage: A Conversation with Richard Gere, Nate Parker and Nicholas Jarecki.”
The special session brought together the luminaries behind the festival’s Opening Night film, Arbitrage. During the intimate conversation, Gere gave a rare insight into the making of the film and praised the debutant writer-director Jarecki for making such a film on a very low budget.
Recalling his early days in the industry, he said that films were made at very low budgets, which have now increased three-fold. “Yet, Jarecki managed the film on a relatively low budget. To save costs we finalised every aspect of filming on paper and made sure that we shoot only those scenes which would be part of the film,” he added.
For once, Gere regretted being a famous star, since his popularity has limited his access to the outside world. He said that this was his second visit to the UAE but that he was yet to see and experience the country. “Since I have come, I have not been out of this hotel. The most I can say about this place is that people here are very warm and hospitable. I wish to visit the UAE again and move around as a common tourist,” he said.