known for his roles in movies including An Officer and
a Gentleman, Pretty Woman and First Knight,
Richard Gere began acting at the University of Massachusetts,
where he was a philosophy major. We caught up with him as
his latest movie, The Mothman Prophecies goes on general
Online: You haven't made a supernatural thriller before, is
that why you wanted to do this?
Gere: No, it was the script itself. I didn't say, "I
want to make a scary movie". The script came and I could
see the possibilities, although it went through a lot of drafts
to find the balance between a scary movie and a smart movie.
was it about the script that attract you to the role?
The emotional stuff was rich. In the beginning, my character's
in the perfect job, he has a beautiful wife, they're talking
about babies, they're buying a house, everything's great and
then literally in the middle of laughing, there's a car accident
and she's gone. Now if you put that on top of the metaphysical
story of "Is there anything out there?", then you
have something that has a lot of power.
You wanted to avoid the clichés of the genres, is that
why we don't see the mothman?
That's the B-movie version of this. The assumption is that
this is a metaphysical story, not a ghost story, meaning that
we're making the adult's thinking version. So the trick and
brilliance of director Mark Pellington was finding a visual
vocabulary that would suggest a presence and give you the
kind of chilling feeling that was much deeper and larger than
"Don't open that door!".
was more like a dream and dreams aren't usually "There's
something behind the door", they're more a feeling that
seems to take over everything.
You normally play characters who are in control but your character
in this, John Klein, thinks he's going mad...
I don't think the people I play are in control. I think the
characters always strive for control and it's the fact that
they can't have it that makes drama. They have the illusion
of control but the universe never gives any of us control,
otherwise there'd be no drama at all.
know, people think they're on balance, life puts them off-balance
and they have to find some way to re-establish balance.
Since the success of The Sixth Sense there seem to
be more and more movies with supernatural themes, why are
we so fascinated by it?
I don't think it ever goes away. It's part of our collective
unconscious, whether we're tribal people or we're urban people.
I think it's genetically-coded in us and, in a way, that belief
is more powerful in urban people who are continually having
it cut out of their lives. So that need to express it is always
What's your favourite scary movie?
Well the scariest movie I ever saw had no ghost in it and
that was The Servant. It was a Joseph Losey film from
a Harold Pinter screenplay and it was the same kind of terror
that Mothman deals with: it calls into question the
nature of identity. I think that's scary to everyone.
Do you believe in psychic phenomena and have you had any personal
experience of ghosts?
I have no interest at all in that, although if someone came
up with the Loch Ness Monster I'd be interested. As for ghosts,
there's been nothing that shook me to my marrow.
Your co-star is Laura Linney, who you worked with on 1996's
Primal Fear when she was still unknown, was it fun
working with her again?
I was delighted that she agreed to do the film because she
helps elevate it to the right level. We're very good friends
and now, after You Can Count On Me, everyone realises
how good she is.
I like the collaborative process. I like people working together
and what the project says and does is equally important to
me as what I do. The satisfying thing about doing this movie
was working with all these extremely talented, hyper-creative
people who were also very trusting and open, which was important
because this had to come together quickly; we didn't have
six weeks of rehearsal time.
When you were a teenager, did you think that at 52 you'd be
a major star?
Oh, I never saw past probably 25. How can you project that
far ahead? I had no idea. I mean, it's like asking a rock
star if they think they'll still be prancing around at 55.
It's like no, you think you're going to be dead at 26.
Thank you for your time.
thanks to Laura Norton at Way To Blue