You will be forgiven for forgetting just how eclectic Richard Gere’s career has been; with the release of Arbitrage (this Friday 1st March,) let’s take a look back at how Gere hit the big time and sustained his star status within Hollywood – still a major player three decades later.
Richard Gere received a Golden Globe nomination for his latest role in Arbitrage, a drama that follows magnate Robert Miller who must turn to an unlikely figure when he makes an error in an attempt to complete the sale of his trading empire. Critically-acclaimed, Arbitrage is being deemed a gripping mature watch from first-time director Nicholas Jarecki, boasting an impressive cast with Susan Sarandon and Tim Roth starring alongside Gere.
Days of Heaven (1978)
An early film role, Gere’s appearance in Days of Heaven was the ball-roller in terms of sparking off his illustrious career; appearing in Terrence Malick’s romantic art film was an unprecedented huge move (with only Badlands to his name, Malick wasn’t perceived to be the auteur he is today.) Not received well upon release, the film has evolved as something of a classic, with Gere’s role opening doors to the key roles he is associated with today.
American Gigolo (1980)
Richard Gere became a superstar upon the release of American Gigolo, a crime drama directed by Paul Schrader. Gere plays Julian Kaye, a male escort residing in L.A who fears he is being framed when one of his clients is murdered. Gere, who took the role when Christopher Reeve and John Travolta turned it down, has openly stated he took the role so he could immerse himself into a character he didn’t understand (the notorious full-frontal nudity scenes were not scripted, but a ‘natural process’).
An officer and a Gentleman (1982)
One of Gere’s most memorable roles, here he plays Zack Mayo, a U.S. Navy aviation officer candidate who locks heads with his drill Sergeant and falls in love with Debra Winger’s Paula. The film was a huge success worldwide, and Gere – strangely beating out Christopher Reeve and John Travolta to the part again – gained worldwide acclaim as a Hollywood heartthrob. He also gained a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.
Internal Affairs (1990)
After a string of duds, including an ill-fated remake of Jean-Luc Godard’s classic Breathless, Gere reclaimed status as a Hollywood player with two roles in 1990 – one of which was in Internal Affairs, a thriller about a fresh-faced addition to the Internal Affairs Department of the LA police who begins suspecting Gere’s Dennis Peck of shady activity. Gere plays Peck’s womanising manipulator well, his role fitting in successfully in an enjoyable thriller.
Pretty Woman (1990)
The second role in 1990 not only assisted in reclaiming his status, but provided the world with a role in a film that rewrote the romantic comedy genre. It has been claimed that Pretty Woman is one of the most loved films of all time, with no rom-com matching its success in terms of box office receipts, critical reception and award recognition. Gere plays Edward Lewis, a rich businessman who collides with Julia Robert’s kind-hearted prostitute, Vivian – a role for which he received a second Golden Globe nomination.
Set during the Civil War, Jodie Foster’s Laurel manages to work the farm without he husband – when he returns and appeals to have changed somewhat, causing many to believe him to be an imposter. Sommersby, for all of its mixed reviews, is a notable entry from Gere’s career for the on-screen chemistry between the two leads carries the film, causing it to linger in the memory – Gere further proving he is a dependable male lead.
Runaway Bride (1999)
Directed by Pretty Woman’s Garry Marshall, and re-teaming Richard Gere with Julia Roberts, was always going to be a tough gig following the unprecedented success of the daddy of all romantic comedies. Runaway Bride didn’t match the latter’s success, but was still an enjoyable watch with Gere showing his comedy ability after a slew of more serious roles. Here, he plays a reporter who writes an article on Robert’s serial ‘runaway bride’ – when the two meet, an attraction is sparked.
A psychological horror and a drama later (The Mothman Prophecies and Unfaithful, respectively,) what followed was a high-profile role as hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn in the 2002 film version of hit musical Chicago. Starring alongside Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones, he dodged critic’s bullets by showcasing his musicality successfully on-screen for the first time, whilst deploying a likeable charm in the process. For this, he received a Golden Globe win – but his Oscar nomination never came.
I’m Not There (2007)
One of the more interesting additions to the actor’s back catalogue, Gere was one of many actors – Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Cate Blanchett – to portray different facets of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There. Richard Gere portrays Billy the Kid (referring to Dylan’s role in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,) with his scenes mirroring the ways in which Dylan tried to evade the spotlight. Gere’s presence marks the film out as one to be seen.
Arbitrage will be out in UK&Irish cinemas from This Friday 1st March, Read our review.