Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Gere admits caution at new director

Richard Gere arriving for the 85th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 24, 2013. See PA story SHOWBIZ Oscars. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Richard Gere has admitted he was wary about working with screenwriter Nicholas Jarecki, as he had never made a movie before.

The former Pretty Woman actor earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Arbitrage, a suspense thriller about a corrupt hedge fund manager, written by Nicholas and directed by him as his debut feature.

Richard, 63, recalled: "My agents said, 'The good news is the script, the bad news is he's never made a movie before'.

"Directing a movie's not the easiest thing to do on the planet. I took a deep breath and went, 'Look, he wrote the script, so let's spend some time together'."

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", said Richard.

"We were connecting about how to do rewrites, and he was a good listener, so it was a very collaborative week or two while I was making a decision."

In the end the actor decided to jump in and the result is a taut, suspense thriller in which he plays billionaire Robert Miller, who is desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading to a major bank before the depths of his fraud are revealed.

Richard said he wasn't interested in conveying Miller as an all-out villain: "It's the job of an actor to make any character human - any character.

"I chose to make this guy as multi-dimensional as I could because I've never met someone who was one thing. Especially guys like this who are very complex. To find the holes and the sensitivities and insecurities in a guy like this was a lot of fun."

:: Arbitrage is released in cinemas on Friday, March 1.

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