The actor receives Zurich Film Festival’s Golden Icon Award.
Richard Gere is already spurring Oscar talk for his amazing performance in Nicholas Jarecki’s drama/thriller Arbitrage. The indie film is also a box-office hit in the US after two weeks of release.
He plays Robert Miller, a wealthy New York financier whose world starts to crumble, forcing him to make some morally ambiguous decisions. “The decision we made pretty early on was to paint him as a villain in the clichéd ways that it could be done was not really going to help us at all,” Gere said of his character. “To see him a flawed human being like all of us, and watch him make a lot of bad decisions based on a very specific mindset seemed to be the more interesting way to go…Bernie Madoff was a systematically dark character, and clearly mentally ill, a sociopath, and I didn’t really want to go into that territory. I think this guy Robert Miller is us.”
He jumped at the chance to make the film, even though it marks Jarecki’s first fictional feature. “The script was just a terrific read. Most of the movies that people try to make now are really not about people, it’s about cartoons, not our everyday realities. In this script I recognised the people very much,” Gere said of the script. “It’s very rare to see a film these days that’s about people and dialogue and rich language.”
In addition to presenting Arbitrage at the Zurich Film Festival earlier this week with director Jarecki and co-star Susan Sarandon, Gere also received ZFF’s Golden Icon Award. “It’s somehow honouring the fact that I’m old and I survived all this time,” Gere joked, before adding more seriously: “It’s very kind and very generous and I don’t take any of these things for granted.”