77th Cannes Film Festival | Richard Gere, the return of Zen charm

(Paris) Prince charming of Hollywood from the 80s and 90s who became discreet in the cinema, Richard Gere makes his return to the red carpets by presenting Friday in Cannes Oh, Canada by Paul Schrader, in the running for the Palme d’Or.

The actor who has always kept a distance from his profession, favoring his Buddhist faith and the Tibetan cause, reunites with the director ofAmerican Gigolo (1980), film which propelled him as a sex symbol.

At 74, he plays the twilight role of an opponent of the Vietnam War who fled the United States and who, at the end of his life, confides in a young journalist.

Besides Schrader, the actor, who started in the theater, has worked with the greatest filmmakers: Richard Brooks (Looking for Mr. Goodbar), Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven)Coppola ( Cotton Club ), Lumet or Altman.

After American Gigolo And An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), it is “Pretty Woman” (1990), a film in which he commits backwards, which definitively places him in the category of the great seducers of cinema.

Fairy tale

Always the same elegance and this enigmatic wrinkled smile, he plays a billionaire who falls in love with a young prostitute (Julia Roberts). Huge box office success for this fairytale couple.

But “the sexiest man in the world”, says the magazine People in 1999, had a career of eclipses. Over the years, the actor, converted to Buddhism at the age of 25, became more passionate about meditation – at least one hour a day -, became close to the Dalai Lama and actively campaigned for the rights of Tibet.

He won a Golden Globe for Chicago (2002) but remained snubbed by the Oscars, which even excluded him in 1993 for an anti-China speech.

“I don’t care about being an actor. It’s a very nice job, but only a job,” he said. “It was Buddhism that opened my heart…”

Born on August 29, 1949 in Philadelphia into a modest Methodist family, the son of a farmer who became an insurance representative, Richard Gere is the second of five children.

A music lover (he plays the trumpet, guitar and piano), he began studying philosophy before turning to the theater. He plays Danny Zuko in Grease in London and on Broadway.

If John Travolta is chosen for the adaptation of the musical, he will be the one to win American Gigoloa role initially assigned to… Travolta.

Buddhist proverbs

He is therefore one of Hollywood’s leading actors. In the early 1990s, his marriage to top model Cindy Crawford attracted paparazzi and rumors about the reality of their relationship. Annoyed, the couple took out a full page of Time to proclaim their love. But divorced in 1994.

Richard Gere remarried actress Carey Lowell, a Buddhist like him and mother of his first child, Homer. Then with the Spanish activist Alejandra Silva, 33 years his junior and mother of his two other sons.

Now keeping the tabloids at bay and living in the great outdoors, he reserves his public interventions for his commitments. Very early involved in the fight against AIDS, he also co-founded the Tibet House in New York in 1987 and then created the Gere Foundation, always in favor of Tibet.

His accusations against Beijing – he calls for a boycott of the 2008 Olympics – contribute to distancing him from Hollywood, at a time when the Chinese market has become an Eldorado for American studios.

“There are films in which I cannot act because the Chinese will say ‘not with him’,” he said in 2017 at Hollywood Reporter.

Not enough to demoralize the Zen actor, who is very detached from cinema and who loves peppering his interviews with Buddhist proverbs.

“When the demon of self-love has you,” he warned in 2012 in Le Figaro“the other demons are lining up at the door, their mouths open”.

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