Home' Get Up and Go : Autumn 2016 Contents Richard Gere
ichard Gere may be a famous
movie star, but according to him
it’s the “least interesting thing”
about his life. Not that he doesn’t
appreciate the privileges that come with
having earned an estimated net worth of
$250 million thanks to his highly successful
acting career, but he has never flaunted his
wealth and prefers to travel the world with
a simply orange Tibetan backpack rather
than with a personal entourage. Arriving
in Taormina, where he was honoured with
a life achievement award by the prestigious
Sicilian Film Festival, Gere was in high
spirits as he chatted amiably with fans
and other well-wishers during his stay in
the historic city. He admits to enjoying life
“more than ever” and insists that his son
Homer is the guiding light of his life.
Following up on last year’s The Second
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the 65-year-
old Gere has two new films in the pipeline,
both of which are expected to be released
later this year in Australia. First up is The
Benefactor (formerly entitled Franny),
a drama which sees him playing a multi-
millionaire philanthropist who inserts
himself into the lives of newly-married
couples as a way of helping them as
well as enabling him to relive his past.
Dakota Fanning and Theo James co-star.
Later audiences can find Gere starring in
Oppenheimer Strategies as a low-level fixer
who befriends a politician at a low point
in his career only to watch him become an
influential world leader – and in the process
sees his own life transformed radically.
During his Italian sojourn, Gere was
in the constant company of his new
girlfriend, Spanish socialite Alejandra
Silva, 32, and was also accompanied by
his son Homer. Gere has recently divorced
Carey Lowell, whom he married in 2002
before separating in 2013.
Sitting down with Richard Gere is
always an illuminating experience:
Richard, you’ve been greeted by huge
crowds here in Taormina. How does it
make you feel?
GERE: I love Italy and I feel very Italian.
I feel blessed by the love that I’ve been
shown here. I try to meet and speak to
as many of the people as I can. Being
successful and popular is important in my
work, but as a human being it’s much more
important to connect with people, to show
your empathy, and find those beautiful
little moments that are meaningful and go
beyond the superficial side of things.
Do you actively try to break down the whole
sex symbol aura that surrounds you?
GERE: At no time in my life have I ever felt
like a sex symbol. (Laughs) It’s an illusion.
But the work you do and the spirit that you
give to it does have an impact on people,
and that I can take pride in.
A few years ago, when I was shooting
in Bosnia on the movie The Hunting Party,
a young journalist told me: “I thank you,
because my mother and my grandmother
and I have always enjoyed your work.
You’re the idol of three generations.” It was
the sweetest compliment I’ve ever received.
How has fatherhood changed you?
GERE: You learn patience and openness
and generosity, but mainly I’ve understood
the feeling of joy. Life itself is joy and it’s
all around us. You usually don’t pay any
attention to it because we’re so busy doing
our lives, but joy is everywhere and the
core of that joy is love.
Buddhism continues to remain a very
important aspect of your life?
GERE: Yes. Buddhism has taught me and
continues to teach me to look inside myself
more deeply, to worry less and less about
the opinions of others and to share the pain
and the joy of other human beings. It’s also
been helpful in enabling me to dominate the
anger I carried with me as a young man.
I once had a bad temper and I’ve learnt
not to take things personally. It’s so much
better to be able to subdue anger. I still
get upset if I don’t react in a good way to
certain situations. If I get angry I run the
risk of hurting someone’s feelings and I
can’t forgive myself on the rare occasions
when I allow that to happen.
You’re working as much as ever. Is it still
satisfying to make movies after more than
30 years in the business?
GERE: I love the experience of working
with other actors, getting to know them,
enjoying moments on the set where you
learn about their lives and develop a bond
during that time.
I’ve just done four movies in a row and
never thought that I would still be working
as much at this point in my life and would
keep finding interesting stories. I consider
How does it feel to be 65?
GERE: I feel like I’m 26 years old except
whenever I look in the mirror I see a
man who’s in his 60s with white hair and
wrinkles! (Laughs) But it doesn’t feel that
strange. You have to accept all phases of
life and appreciate that you improve with
age spiritually and on so many other levels
even though your body may be wearing
down. But so far I haven’t fallen apart! •
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