Cannes 2024: Richard Gere drew on father's death for role in Paul ...

30 days ago

Richard Gere poses for photographers upon departure from the premiere of the film ‘Oh, Canada’ at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France | Photo Credit: Scott A Garfitt

Richard Gere - Figure 1
Photo The Hindu

Richard Gere, once a Hollywood leading man, said he drew on his feelings following his father's death to bring emotional depth to his role in "Oh, Canada," for which he returned, after decades, to the Cannes Film Festival red carpet on Friday.

"It so resonated with my own emotional voyage with my dad, who was almost 101 when he passed away," Gere said.

"Paul (Schrader, the director,) wrote such a terrific script, moving script, filled with wonderful character stuff that it was very easy for me to say 'yes,'" he added.

Uma Thurman, Richard Gere, Paul Schrader, Penelope Mitchell and a guest attend the ‘Oh, Canada’ Red Carpet at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 17, 2024 in Cannes, France | Photo Credit: PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN

Richard Gere - Figure 2
Photo The Hindu

Gere, 74, is almost unrecognisable as Leonard Fife, a man at the end of his life, intent on sharing the secrets of his youth with his wife of 30 years, played by Uma Thurman, on camera, using a technique he perfected as a celebrated documentary maker.

The film, which is competing for the film festival's top Palme d'Or prize, is told through flashbacks, with Jacob Elordi of "Euphoria" fame playing the younger version of Leonard.

Critics were lukewarm after the film's premiere, with The Guardian calling it "muddled, anticlimactic and often diffidently performed," while giving it two out of five stars.

Richard Gere - Figure 3
Photo The Hindu

"Oh, Canada" brings Gere back together with Schrader some four decades after the 1980 crime drama "American Gigolo."

Alejandra Silva and Richard Gere depart the ‘Oh, Canada’ Red Carpet at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festiva | Photo Credit: PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN

"We're like old dogs now, you know? It's like, I was going to say old hookers, but I can't say that," Gere said.

"But there's a shorthand there. I mean, we didn't talk much during this, we just kind of figured out," he added.

The film is based on the novel "Foregone" by Russell Banks, a friend of Schrader's after he adapted "Affliction," with Nick Nolte, into the 1997 Oscar-nominated film of the same title.

Richard Gere - Figure 4
Photo The Hindu

The reason Schrader did "Oh, Canada"?

"Russell got sick. That simple," said Schrader, who recalled how hard-hit he was after Banks asked him not to visit because he was feeling bad due to cancer. Banks died last year.

"I knew he had written a book about dying when he was healthy, so I better read that book," said Schrader, 77. "And I read that book and I thought 'yep, that's what I should do'."

Uma Thurman, from left, Richard Gere and director Paul Schrader pose for photographers upon departure from the premiere of the film ‘Oh, Canada’ at the 77th international film festival | Photo Credit: Scott A Garfitt

Richard Gere - Figure 5
Photo The Hindu

The director said he also had to confront his own mortality after a few hospital visits for long COVID and a broken bone.

"I was thinking, you know, maybe, maybe this is it," he said. "At that point, you start thinking about, well, if I've got one more film left, what should it be about?" he said.

"And, fortunately, my health has improved," Schrader said, adding that he still might have a few films in him yet.

Read more
Similar news
This week's most popular news