Richard Gere’s wife, Alejandra Silva, 37-year-old Spanish, peeps next to her husband during the video link with the Giffoni Film Festival. She is preparing a paella for lunch and sends a kiss to the Amalfi Coast that just six years ago, during the star’s stay at the event, brought them together in Positano. At the time – in the summer of 2014 – the Pretty Woman actor had landed in Campania with his son Homer and his best friend, he had just finalized the separation from his second wife Carey Lowell and certainly did not think that a trip to Italy would have given love.
He recently returned to TV on Sky Atlantic with the MotherFatherSon miniseries but what he really cares about talking to young jurors in streaming from all over the world is the state of humanity during the pandemic. In addition to sharing, of course, some memories of his career.
Richard Gere in Mother Father Son
© BBC / Sophie Mutevelian
When did you realize that acting would change your life?
As a very shy kid that I was I didn’t even think about going on stage, yet for some strange reason in second grade I volunteered for a play. That feeling of warmth from the audience has so conquered me, all of a sudden, that it leads me to never stop. And even if I cultivate other passions, such as music, poetry and philosophy, however, changing skin with my roles remains the greatest joy. Indeed I would say that it is almost primitive because it allows me to explore the mystery of the human being through the characters.
The movie that made him more insecure?
American Gigolo, early career. The reason is simple: I am one who wanders in search of the character meditating for a long time on his nature, but this part I had to accept on the spot, a couple of weeks before the opening take and I didn’t know anything about it. On top of that, he didn’t look like me at all, which put me in many doubts about my performance. It was the first time ever that I asked to view the shots of the day to be sure I had acted well.
Richard Gere at the 2014 Giffoni Film Festival
The two months of rehearsal for Chicago: it was a lot of work to dance and sing all the time, it felt like rehearsing for a Broadway musical, but I’ve never enjoyed it so much in my life.
How are you experiencing this hiatus?
There is no joking with the coronavirus and I know it well because this pandemic has taken away two people very dear to me, my acting teacher and a producer friend of mine. That is why the gestures of civilization like the mask they are never small: I always wear it and I recommend everyone to do it.
As an activist, what are the qualities you want to cultivate?
The most important to me are wisdom and compassion. First of all because each of us is a small creature on earth but it is not an island, but lives connected and united with all the others. For me it is essential to take care of others and perhaps, for what little fame I have achieved, my actions attract more attention than others, but they are certainly not worth more.
By compassion do you mean love?
Yes, but also empathy, the ability to understand the suffering of others and do something to improve it. We should want everyone to be happy and do our part to make it happen.
What would you like to be remembered for?
The aspect of my life that I am most proud of is just this: doing good.
Richard Gere in live streaming at the Giffoni Film Festival 2020
© Lello D “Anna