Richard Gere's views affected career
- Bang Showbiz
- 19 April 2017
Richard Gere admits his support for Tibet has hindered his career because China holds such box office power
Richard Gere admits his support for Tibet has hindered his career.
The 67-year-old actor broke from his script when presenting at the 1993 Academy Awards in order to protest China's occupation of the Far Eastern region and slammed its "horrendous, horrendous human rights situation" and later called for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
And because China now has the world's second-biggest box-office market, Richard - who has a lifetime ban from the country - admits his big screen appeal has dramatically reduced in the eyes of studios.
He said: "There are definitely movies that I can't be in because the Chinese will say, 'Not with him.'
"I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese."
In 1997, Richard appeared as a US businessman wrongly accused of murder in China in 'Red Corner', and while executives were initially happy with the film, it was suddenly dumped.
He recalled to the Hollywood Reporter: "Everyone was happy with the film.
"I get calls from the heads of the studio. Went on Oprah. Then, out of nowhere, I get calls saying, 'We don't want you doing press.'
"MGM wanted to make an overall deal with the Chinese. China told them, 'If you release this film, we're not buying it.' And so, they dumped it."
And on another occasion, the 'Pretty woman' actor was ousted from an independent, non-studio movie because of his forthright views.
He said: "There was something I was going to do with a Chinese director, and two weeks before we were going to shoot, he called saying, 'Sorry, I can't do it.'
"We had a secret phone call on a protected line. If I had worked with this director, he, his family would never have been allowed to leave the country ever again, and he would never work."
But Richard insists he doesn't care about being snubbed for Hollywood blockbusters as he still enjoys his work.
He said: "The studios are interested in the possibility of making huge profits. But I'm still making the same films that I was making when I started. Small, interesting, character‑driven and narrative‑driven stories. It hasn't impacted my life at all."
Read the full interview with Richard at http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/richard-geres-studio-exile-why-his-hollywood-career-took-an-indie-turn-992258