“This is the first interview I have done on this movie, so it’s completely fresh – from here on out, I will have said everything.”
That’s how Richard Gere started our chat about his latest film, Maybe I Do.
Refreshingly honest, the star known for hit romcoms including Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride hasn’t done a film since 2017 and is candid about how strange it was returning to set.
“Whenever I start a project, I kind of question whether I know what I’m doing at all,” Gere admitted.
“And after three years of not making a film or working in the theatre, I think I had this feeling of, ‘do I know how to do this? Did I ever know how to do this?'”
“But I think it is like riding a bike – you pretty much remember how to do it.”
The break Gere took was largely due to the pandemic.
A way back
Instead of working, Gere spent lockdown and the period afterwards with his wife and children, waiting for the right opportunity to lure him back to acting.
“I just stayed at home with my family… I mean, the protocols for making movies in that period were so daunting that I didn’t really want to go through it,” he said.
“So it loosened up a little bit and the script came through – Michael Jacobs, a really nice guy, wrote this fun script.
“[I thought] this is a way to get back into the working world with something adult but fun, with actors I knew and had worked with before and trusted.”
‘She knew my movies better than I did’
The film is called Maybe I Do and is about a couple considering marriage who get their parents together, only to find they already know each other well.
His daughter is played by Emma Roberts – the niece of Julia Roberts, who Gere teamed up with for both Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride.
“Oh, it was funny,” he said about working with Emma.
“I even forgot the movies – she knew my movies better than I did, the ones I had done with Julia.
“And there was a certain irony to that.”
Roberts told Backstage she only got round to telling her aunt she was working with Gere after it had happened.
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“I actually only just told her recently, and I was like, ‘I forgot got to tell you, I worked with Richard,'” she said.
“I love Runaway Bride, I love Pretty Woman, so it was really fun to get to work with him as well, and he’s so sweet.
“It’s like full circle, him playing my dad after him and my aunt working together so much.”
‘She was lovely then, and she’s lovely now’
The cast also features Susan Sarandon, William H Macy and Diane Keaton.
Gere says it was great to be reunited with the latter after first working together decades ago in the 1977 film Looking for Mr Goodbar.
“We had communicated a few times over the years… She was at the beginning of being the biggest actress in the world at that point, and I was just starting to make movies,” he said.
“But she was lovely then, and she’s lovely now.”
“You know, she’s witty, and she’s fun and works hard and always finds her own way through doing things – it’s not the obvious, and it’s not the predictable.”
Gere’s character in the film is somewhat jaded, fed up about getting older.
‘Silly not to engage’ in growing old
The actor says it’s not something he himself worries about.
“I have a two-and-a-half year old and a three-and-a- half – almost four-year-old and a ten-year-old, so I don’t have really the luxury of thinking about time or getting older,” Gere laughed.
“Getting older is inevitable. I mean, it would be silly for people not to engage [with] it and even early on to just think about it, you know?”
“But I get – at best – a finite number of years, and it might be a lot shorter based on health and accidents and all kinds of other things, so it certainly is inevitable.”
For Roberts, working with such a stellar cast was a golden opportunity.
But she admits it did put the pressure on.
“I feel like I always come to work prepared, but I was definitely quadruple prepared for this set.” She said.
“But I remember there was one scene where it was like four and a half pages long, and I had the most dialogue and at one point I just forgot my lines because all I could feel was everyone’s eyes looking at me.”
“And even though I’ve obviously been working for a long time, to work with such a huge calibre of talent in one room, it was really amazing.”
Maybe I Do is streaming now on Prime Video.