• Image about Richard Gere
© Nigel Parry/CPI, Grooming by Birgitte for Rene Furterer; Wardrobe styling by Christine Hahn; Giorgio Armani v-neck sweater, Shot on location at Bedford Post
Richard Gere is perhaps as diverse and enigmatic as the film roles he plays. Over the past four decades, he’s portrayed both An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), a betrayed husband in Unfaithful (2002), a knife-wielding psycho in the breakthrough role Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), and an Armani-clad lothario in American Gigolo (1980). Off-screen his roles are just as varied — activist and humanitarian, musician, avid baseball fan, and possibly the most unlikely role, co-owner of the Bedford Post.

Gere is returning to his Wall Street roots on the big screen as a corporate raider (first go-round he played the prince to Julia Roberts’ hooker-turned-Cinderella in 1990’s Pretty Woman, a popular role, but certainly not his favorite) in the new film Arbitrage (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions). A complex tale of high finance, love, family, and betrayal, the movie stars the charismatic actor as Robert Miller, an imperiled billionaire hedge-fund manager whose life hangs in the balance due to a series of duplicitous personal and professional dealings. The suspense thriller provides Gere with yet another morally ambiguous character study; this time he is a man struggling to avoid justice. Attracted to Miller’s dark side that resides beneath a seemingly perfect exterior, Gere found the film’s cautionary message compelling, explaining, “The film resonated with a lot of things going on in the world. There is moral and ethical ambiguity not just in the financial world. It was this feeling I got from it about the ethics of our time — what are the boundaries of acceptable behaviors — not just in business or politics, but personally?”

While the multifaceted actor admits to having no real role models for the character, he toured the New York Stock Exchange and lunched with Wall Street power brokers as part of his research. Assistance came from psychiatrist and trader Dr. Henry Jarecki, the father of the film’s director Nicholas Jarecki, who not only provided business insight but allowed his five-story mansion in New York’s Gramercy Park to double as Miller’s home. “Nick’s father is one of those very successful financial guys who does commodities and knows this world very well,” Gere says. “We spent time with him and his cronies in the legal, government, and financial worlds. I like to do a lot of research and just hang and watch people do their job. What are the photos on their desk, what do they retain, how many cups of coffee do they have, what is the feeling, how do they multitask? They are all adrenaline people. When we went to the NYSE, I saw 70- to 80-year-old guys that never left; it’s like going to the circus for them. It’s very high stakes, sexy, and fun, and they still seem to have their boyish ways.”

Working with director Jarecki proved to be a rewarding experience for Gere, who initially met him at the Bedford Post over a three-hour meeting in the cozy rustic-decor-filled restaurant. “Richard brings a real dynamism to the role,” says Jarecki. “He’s such an attractive person physically and spiritually that even though his character is pretty dark and challenging, you are with him and you understand his actions. He really has the slickness, confidence, and humanity to bring to that world — to be that cipher, that double man.”