Gere Touched Hollywood's 'Third Rail,' and He's Just Fine

Criticism of China cost him mainstream roles, but he's happy with indie films
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2017 8:47 AM CDT
Richard Gere Explains Why He Lost Clout in Hollywood
Actor Richard Gere, photographed during the photo call for the movie 'The Dinner' at the 67th International Berlin Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Feb. 10 2017.   (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

Richard Gere was once on the Hollywood A-list, with blockbusters such as Pretty Woman, American Gigolo, and An Officer and a Gentleman. Not so much anymore. He's 67 now, but other actors in their 60s are still pulling down mainstream leading roles. So why not Gere? He tells the Hollywood Reporter it's because of his high-profile criticism of China and his public friendship with Tibetan exile the Dalai Lama. "There are definitely movies that I can't be in because the Chinese will say, 'Not with him,'" he says. "I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese." Indeed, THR calls China the "third rail" in Hollywood, generally off-limits to criticism because studios covet lucrative deals and a massive audience.

Gere, however, sounds unfazed by the studio shunning because he's found critical success in the realm of indie movies. Two new ones, Norman and The Dinner, are bringing him some of the best reviews of his career. "I think it ranks right up there with anything he has ever done, and he deservedly won praise for it when it first premiered at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals in September," writes Pete Hammond in Deadline of Gere's turn as a political fixer in Norman. Vanity Fair's take on Gere's interview: If the big studios don't want Gere, he's happily sending the message that the "feeling is mutual." (Click to the read the THR interview, which includes Gere waxing poetic about New York City in the spring.)

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