Richard Gere


  1. Mandy Patinkin, Yentl, 1962.     Who was going to be Avigdor, the rabbinical student lover of Barbra Streisand as the cross-dressing Yeshiav Boy in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s tale? Trouble was, La Barb was also the director, producer, and “co-writer”… Obvious, therefore, who was going to have all the closer-ups! So Gere, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Christopher Walken just fled.

  2. Perry King, The Lord’s of Flatbush, 1974.  
    “Yeah, the original part of Chico, was originally supposed to be played by Richard Gere,” recalled Sylvester Stallone on the Ain’t It Cool News website.   “But we never hit it off. He would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table. One day, during an improv, he grabbed me (we were simulating a fight scene) and got a little carried away. I told him in a gentle fashion to lighten up, but he was completely in character and impossible to deal with. “Then, we were rehearsing at Coney Island and it was lunchtime, so we decided to take a break, and  the only place that was warm was in the backseat of a Toyota. I was eating a hotdog and he climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper. I said:”That thing is going to drip all over the place.’ He said: ”Don’t worry about it.’ I said: ”If it gets on my pants you’re gonna know about it.’ He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh. I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car. The director had to make a choice:   One of us had to go, one of us had to stay. Richard   was given his walking papers and to this day seriously dislikes me. He even thinks I’m the individual responsible for the gerbil rumour. Not true… but that’s the rumour.”

  3. Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1977.
  4. Brad Davis, Midnight Express, 1977.     “We had tremendous problems getting the studio to accept Brad Davis,” recalled produer David Puttnam in 2013.“They wanted Richard Gere…. If you’ve got a Gere or a Tom Cruise in a film like Midnight Express, you would expect them to be there at the end. You’d expect them to see it heroically through. We actually wanted someone who, two-thirds of the way through, you thought: ‘You know what – he’s not going to make it!’ We wanted to seed that doubt into the audience and we needed an actor who was vulnerable and unknown enough to do that.”
  5. John Travolta, Grease, 1978.     Gere had been the London’s West End Danny Zuko.
  6. John Travolta, Moment By Moment, 1978.      Usually it was Gere taking over Travolta rejections.   When positions were reversed, John’s gift for rotten choices remained  firm.
  7. Chick Vennera, Yanks, 1979.  “I had to audition 50 times with 50 different women and even then [director John Schlesinger] wanted me to play the Italian.”
  8. Harvey Keitel, Death Watch, La mort en direct (UK/US: Death Watch), France-West Germany-UK, 1979.     Lyons realisateur Bertrand Tavernier  unwisley insisted on “unbankabler” Keitel (just  sacked from Coppola’s Apocalypse Now) and Romy Schneider.  His US producers wanted  US names Gere or Robert De Niro; Jill Clayburgh, Jane Fonda or  Diane Keaton. 
  9. Christopher Atkins, The Blue Lagoon, 1979.      The nudity demanded by Grease director Randal Kleiser, hardly bothered let-my-wangle-dangle Gere. However,   Richard refused the role of…Richard.
  10. James Brolin, Night of the Juggler, 1980.        Wisely steered clear of the preposterous thriller.

  11. Al Pacino, Cruising, 1980.       First choice for the cop going undercover in the gay community. Director William Friedkin called him “a subtle actor, he possessed a toughness as well as an ambiguous quality,” They were about to make it official when the word came down from upon high. Pacino had read the script… (Al and Billy had met often during the early dances for Born on the Fourth of July). Pacino was swiftly offered $3m (why so much when he wanted in). He often turned up late. His make-up man explained the principle of The Pacino Call to Friedkin. “If you want him on the set at 8am give him a a 6am call or even earlier.”   Apparently, he never improved.
  12. Lambert Wilson, Sahara, 1982.        Cannon Films often had good   ideas –  and lousy scripts.
  13. Michael Nouri, Flashdance, 1982.      Potential Nick Hurleys were: Gere, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner (runner-up to Nouri), Live Aid creator Bob Geldof, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Burt Reynolds, rocker Gene Simmons, John Travolta… plus such surprises as Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci!   At 36, Nouri was double the age of the flashdancing Jennifer Beals.    
  14. Michael Ontkean, Making Love, 1982.    Several stars were worried about the subject matter: a young husband’s bisexuality being aroused by Harry Hamlin.  Also fleeing: Gere, Tom Berenger, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, William Hurt,  Peter Strauss. Pauline Kael called it: ineffable.  Poor Hamlin lost various films after the gay love story. “It was 10 years too early, I guess, and it completely ended my career. That was the last studio picture I ever did. The door shut with a resounding smash.” And this after Warner Bros had offered him “the Clint” – a three-picture contractl named after Clint Eastwood’s deal.  The first two films were to be First Blood, the first Rambo movie, and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Three years later, Hurt was gay in The Kiss of the Spider Woman. It did not, er, hurt his career; indeed, he won the first ever  Best Actor Oscar, for such a role.
  15. Christopher Lambert, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 1983.   Hey! if Clark Gable could be considered for Tarzan, why not Gere?  Robert Towne’s Tarzan choice was the French Laurence Malet,  when due to direct his own script – finally credited to PH Vazak (his Hungarian Shepherd dog). Nearly on the vine for the next director Hugh Hudson (from Chariots of Fire) were: Hollywood hunks Gere, Harry Hamlin, Viggo Mortensen;   two other French guys: Patrick Norbert, Lambert Wilson and…  and… Rupert Everett! Lambert nearly quit because he had no wish for a long separation from his Paris lover, Nathalie Baye.
  16. Tom Hanks, Splash, 1983.  
    Producer Brian Grazer always said he got the idea when driving along  the Pacific Coast Highway and musing on mermaids. Or on AIP’s 1964 Beach Blanket Bingo which had Jody McCrea falling  (off his surfboard) for mermaid Jody Kristen… 
    Hanks always claimed he was director Ron Howard’s 11th choice for Allen Bauer in his breakthrough (mermaid) movie.  Sorry, Tom – 15th!  And here they be: Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, John Heard, Michael Keaton (he also refused Alan’s brother, Freddie), Robert Klein, Kevin Kline, Dudley Moore, David Morse, Bill Murray (PJ Soles was to be his mermaid), Christopher Reeve, Burt Reynolds, John Travolta (his agent turned him off it!), and Robin Williams. “Ronnie made me a movie  star,” said Hanks.” That’s what he did.” He also booked Guttenberg for his next gig, Cocoon. (Channing Tatum was due for a 2016 re-make – but as the mer-person opposite Jillian Bell as his human lady).

  17. Al Pacino, Revolution, 1986.        This time, Hugh Hudson chased Gere, desperately, when Pacino took a (short) walk.   Gere obviously saw the future writing on the Village Voice wall: “This movie is nuts! – the most   hilariously maladroit historical pegeant since King David.” (And  just who had been King David?).
  18. Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon, 1986.      In all, 39 possibilities for the off-kilter, ’Nam vet cop Martin Riggs – not as mentally-deranged as in early drafts (he used a rocket launcher on one guy!) Some ideas were inevitable: Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn (shooting Aliens), Jeff Bridges, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, William Petersen, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Reeve, Kurt Russell, Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. Some were inspired:  Bryan Brown, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum (he inherited Gibson’s role in The Fly), William Hurt (too dark for Warner Bros), Michael Keaton, Michael Madsen, Liam Neeson, Eric Roberts. Some were insipid: Jim Belushi, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Stephen Lang, Michael Nouri (he joined another cop duo in The Hidden), Patrick Swayze. Plus TV cops  Don Johnson, Tom Selleck… three foreign LA cops: Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dutch Rutger Hauer and French Christophe(r) Lambert. And the inevitable (Aussie) outsider Richard Norton.
  19. Kevin Costner, No Way Out, 1986.  For his excellent thriller – labyrinthine and ingenious, said Roger Ebert – the under-praised Aussie director Roger Donaldson caught Costner on the cusp of superstardom (betweern The Untouchables and Field of Dreams) after seeing if the hero’s US Navy uniform would suit… Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, William Hurt, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Michael Nouri, Bill Paxton,  Sean Penn, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis. Or even the French Christophe(r) Lambert  or Robin Williams?!
  20. Tom Berenger, Someone To Watch Over Me, 1987.   The Columbia chief David Puttnam pronounced himself “unbelievably proud” of Ridley Scott’s atmosphere-over-plot number at the very studio screening where he announced his resignation.  The two events were not  un-connected.
  21. Mark Harmon, The Presidio, 1987.  The usual old cop-young cop routine but set to a dull military beat in San Francisco’s Presidio Army Base.  Due for Lee Marvin-Jeff Bridges, but Lee fell ill and died.  Gene Hackman-Bridges were not as hot as Sean Connery-Don Johnson – except Don was hog-tied to Miami Vice.  OK, Sean-Kevin Costner – he quit so no Untouchables reunion as the pair finally became Sean-Mark Harmon.  Also up  for the young upstart were 15 others:  Alec Baldwin Michael Biehn, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Michael Keaton, Bill Pullman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis, even Europeans Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme None could have saved what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a clone, of a film assembled out of spare parts from… the cinematic junkyard.”

  22. Bruce Willis, Die Hard, 1987. 
    Initially developed for Gere. He turned down $4m and Hollywood shook as Willis – “Who is he?” rasped Fox production chief Alan Ladd Jr – accepted $5m. Director John McTiernan recalled: “Two weeks before the movie came out, the studio  took his picture off the poster. Two  weeks after the movie came out,  they put his picture  back.” And seven years after, they paid him $25m for the third Die Hard.  There had been  16 possible John McClanes… From top TV heroes  Richard Dean Anderson and Don Johnson to A-list stars:   Gere, Tom Berenger, Charles Bronson, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Michael Madsen, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone. And Frank Sinatra had to be contractually offered the hero. In his 1980 move debut, The First Deadly Sin, Willis is seen leaving a bar as Sinatra walks in.Bruce was soon  taking roles from most of those on the McClane list. So it flows.

  23. Michael Douglas, Wall Street, 1987. “Greed is good!”  Warren Beatty topped director Oliver Stone’s list for Gordon Gekko.  Next: Gere, William Petersen ot James Woods.  None wanted  to be a bad guy. Douglas won an Oscar. Gere immediatelyt changed his tune to rescue his fast-fading career as the badass cop in  UK director Mike Figgis’ Internal Affairs.  (Woods was also playing a… Cop). 
  24. Kevin Costner, Bull Durham, 1987. Ron Shelton had one helluva job trying to win backing for his directing debut. “Baseball? Get outa here. Ball movies don’t sell.”  But his producer Thom Mount was part-owner of the real Durham Bulls squad and recognised what Roger Ebert would call a sports movie that knows what it is talking about – because it knows so much about baseball and so little about love.” Orion stumped up $9m, eight weeks, creative freedom – the cast cut their costs because of the script. For the minor-league veteran, Crash Davis, Shelton  looked at: Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones (he was baseball icon Ty Cobb in Shelton’s Cobb, 1994), Michael Keaton, Stephen Lang, Nick Nolte (more into football), Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell (who worked on the script with Shelton), Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis – and even three foreigners to the game: Aussie Mel Gibson, French Christophe(r) Lambert and Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger. Result: more sports from Shelton (basketball, golf, boxing) and more baseball movies from Hollywood: A League of Their Own, Eight Men Out (with Sheen), Field of Dreams (Costner), Major League I and II  (Berenger and Sheen).  
  25. Robert De Niro, Midnight Run,1987.   There were 23 possibilites for the  lean, mean  skip-tracer (tracing felons who skipped bail) – on the run from the  FBI and the Mob after capturing Vegas embezzler Charles Grodin. Who knew De Niro could be more subtle at comedy than… Ford, Jeff Bridges, Charles Bronson, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Ryan O’Neal (!), Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Mickey Rourke, Kurt Russell, John Travolta, Jon Voight and even the musclebound Arnie and Sly – Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Director Martin Brest, that’s who.
  26. Mark Harmon, The Presido, 1988.  Lee Marvin and Jeff Bridges as two cops with a history  became  Sean Connery and Don Johnson and wound  up as Connery and Harmon…   Strange that so many – Gere, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Michael Keaton, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Pullman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis… even rival biceps Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone – were contacted for the second banana rôle. And a bad one. Matching what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a clone, of a film assembled out of spare parts from… the cinematic junkyard.”
  27. Frederic Forrest, Margaret Bourke White, TV, 1989.      Due as the famed photographer’s lover, writer Erskine Caldwell, in a 1984 movie that wound up as a tele-movie directed by another illustrious photographer, Lawrence Schiller.

  28. Don Johnson, The Hot Spot, 1989.    
    Robert Mitchum was the matrix for drifter Harry Madox – and first choice in 1962. Nearly 30 years later, it was to be Mickey Rourke and Debra Winger. Or Gere, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Dennis Quaid, Tom Selleck, Sam Shepard, Patrick Swayze opposite Anne Archer, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Theresa Russell,  Uma Thurman and ultimately, Virginia Madsen.   Not necessarily for this movie…   Replacing UK director Mike Figgis,   Dennis Hopper totally changed the entire gig!   In a 2014 AV Club interview, Johnson explained how three days before shooting began Dennis “called a meeting. ‘OK, we’re not making that script. We’re making this one.’And he passed a script around the table that had been written for Robert Mitchum in the ’60s… based on a book called Hell Hath No Fury… Wow! The Figgis script was really slick and cool, and it was a heist movie. But this was real noir. The guy was an amoral drifter, and it was all about how women were going to take him down… And that was the movie that we ended up making.” Hopper’s Last Tango In Texas was hailed by critic Roger Ebert as “a superior work in an old tradition.” He wuz right!

  29. Warren Beatty, Dick Tracy, 1989.    Sonny Bono with the missus, Cher, as Tess, were set for a 70s’ musical version that never flew.  Next came Ryan O’Neal in the early 80s. Then, Gere, Bruce Campbell, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford and even such total opposites as George C Scott and Tom Selleck were seen in ’89.  James Caan settled for a cameo as Splandoni.  Beatty agreed to direct if he could play Tracy, his boyhood idol. Disney suits spoiled the whole caper by making him slash his 135 minute cut by a half-hour!

  30. Kurt Russell, Tango & Cash, 1989.    Sylvester Stallone was Raymond Tango – without  question. But who would he accept as his cop pardner, Gabriel Cash?  After Patrick Swayze ran (to solo billing in Road House), the list was long… Gere, Michael Biehn, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Don Johnson, Michael Keaton, Ray Liotta, Liam Neeson, Michael Nouri, Gary Oldman, Robert Patrick, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman,  Dennis Quaid, Gary Sinise. Plus three future Sly co-stars: Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis and James Woods. Theyall  lost out on the debatable pleasure of four directors! From the Russian Andrei Konchalovsky to, secretly, Stallone.

  31. Patrick Swayze, Next of Kin, 1989.   Next…? Country bumpkins v the Mafia. Again. For the hero of his respun Raw Deal, 1985, UK director John Irvin went from The Obvious Aces: Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis… to the Tango and Cash possibles: Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kurt Rusell… plus The Also-Rans: Tommy Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Dennis Quaid. And even French Christopher Lambert, Swedish Dolph Lundgren.

  32. Mickey Rourke, Johnny Handsome, 1989.   “That was my favourite role in movies,” said Al Pacino who, like William Dafoe, Robert De Niro and Pacino were not Handsome enough. “I found an actor who could play Johnny and not make it risible,” director Walter Hill told The Philadelphia Inquirer.  “Someone who understood the pitfalls of the thing.  If you let any histrionics in, it will fall apart. You have to trust the drama of the whole rather than an individual scene. Mickey understood that.”  “Mickey Rourke did a great job on it,” said Pacino, “But that didn’t matter. The movie didn’t have the finish. 

  33. Willem Dafoe, Flight of the Intruder, 1990.     Top Gun, John Milius style… ie darker. A wooden Brad Johnson plans a forbidden US missile attack on Hanoi, circa 1972. Richards and Dreyfuss were slso seen for the cowboyish Lieutenant Commander Virgil ‘Tiger’ Cole. “I wouldn’t be the kind of guy who’d bomb Hanoi – those people were evil,” Gere said of the (very late) Vietnam film. “Bullshit,” thundered right winger director John Milius. “Give me a liberal, put him on an aircraft carrier for two weeks and I’ll bring him back a raving zealot.”

  34. Harvey Keitel, Thelma & Louise, 1990.

  35. Tim Robbins, Jacob’s Ladder, 1990.   As keen (and able) as he was on being Jacob Singder, something of post-Vietnam War psychological time bomb. the UK director Adrian Lyne preferred the more ordinary, sympathetic, almost James Stewartian Robbins, thus making what Roger Ebert called  “the hallucinations of a desperate mind,” all the more real and painful.
  36. Val Kilmer, The Doors, 1991. Once Travolta quit the project, his usual understudy was named as replacement –  one of the many, long before auteur Oliver Stone entered the Jim Morrison biz.
  37. Val Kilmer, Thunderheart, 1991.  UK director Michael Apted’s first  thriller was inspired by 57 unsolved murders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the 1970s as The Traditionals fought Tribal government goons…  making Pine Ridge (pop: 1100) the Murder Capitol of the Nation. The only cliche in sight is the usual pairing of old cop-young cop (or FBI agents here), the rest was the usual Apted brilliance.  He shuffled 13 choices for the younger agent, Ray Levoi: Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel, Gibson, Tommy Lee Jons, Michael Keaton, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvster Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis Levoi was 1/4th Sioux. Kilmer (“the most unsung leading man of his generation,” for Chicago critic  Roger Ebert) is 1/8th Cherokee.
  38. Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  39. Tom Berenger, At Play  in  the Fields of the  Lord, 1991. MGM snapped up Peter Matthiessen’s novel for Brando. John Huston and Milos Forman wanted to direct; David Lean and Arthur Penn did not. Paul Newman was keen on subbing  Brando as the sky jockey  hero, Lewis Moon, helped by his writer pal Stewart Stern and  director Richard Brooks.  Next, old schoolers Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck and newer guys Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Patrick Swayze tried to Moon it. Hector Babenco preferred Berenger  for what Washington Post critic Desson Howe called artistic zilch: “three hours of lush jungle cinematography, picturesque natives and crackpot missionaries losing their minds.”

  40. Bruce Willis, The Player, 1992.    The idea?   To cameo as himself.   Director Robert Altman’s Willis idea was far funnier.
  41. Kurt Russell, Tombstone, 1992.     According to Russell, the first cast was Gere as Wyatt Earp and Willem Dafoe ss Doc Holliday.  And Russell should know.  He directed much of the movie after Kevin Jarre was booted out and  and before George Pan Cosmatos  reached  the Arizona locations.
  42. Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993. There were 30 stars queuing for Die Hard On A Bus. From A Listers Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, even Mr Die Hard, himself, Bruce Willis… to the B group: Kevin Bacon, three Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen and William), Michael Biehn, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Tom Selleck… and two also-rans Bruce Campbell and Chuck Norris. All crushed by a whippersnapper!
  43. Patrick Swayze, Father Hood, 1993.      Owch!
  44. Harrison Ford, The Fugitive, 1993.   Paging Dr Kimble…  There was a queue answering the call for the film of David Janssen’s 1963-1967 series. Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner (directing as well), Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia,  Richard Gere, Mel Gibson (also up for the relentless cop, Gerard), Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte (director Walter Hill’s choice, but Andrew Davis made the movie – the fourth in his home town, Chicago), Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Arnold Schwarzengger. “The minute Harrison Ford shows up, they drop everything and sign up Harrison Ford,” Baldwiin complained. (It’s called being a star, Alec). Mel Gibson was up for either Kimble or his Javert-like hunter, Lieutenant Gerard – an Oscared gig for Tommy Lee Jones.
  45. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, 1994.   The guy who accidentally kills Santa (it wasshootinghim, but Disney wasn’t having that) and take over his duties was penned for for Bill Murray. “Not my kind of humour,” he retorted.  Next in line:Allen, Gere, Jim Carrey, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams.  Plus eight Batman candidates: Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Michael J Fox, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze and the winning Michael  Keaton.
  46. Tom Cruise, Interview With The Vampire, 1994.
  47. Gary Oldman, The Scarlet Letter, 1995.     Correctly fled the clinker that looked so old-fashioned one was surprised it was a talkie.
  48. Clive Owen, Bent, 1996.      Broadway’s Max was  top choice for the movie.  Trouble was he was already first choice  for Red Corner in China and The Jackal in Europe.  Apart from a transvestite Mick Jagger in the opening orgy and the West End Max, Ian McKellen, as Uncle Freddie, Gere missed nothing. The tale was set in a Nazi concentration camp and, insisted  Chicago critic Roger Ebert, “not worthy of its setting.”
  49. Bruce Willis, The Jackal, 1997.      Felt the assassin was too violent for a Buddist (like the killer killed people!), so he preferred the to be the hunter. Do not hold your breath awaiting another Gere-Willis movie. Ain’t gonna happen, mah friend!

  50. Al Pacino, The Devil’s Advocate, 1997.     Dropped during his anti-villain days. The role? The devil!
  51. Michael Douglas, Traffic, 2000.    Douglas, Harrison Ford, Al Pacino felt the same about Judge Wakefield. The part wasn’t there.Only Ford did somethingabout it,working on the script, line by line. “He still didn’t want to do it,” said Steven Soderbergh. “The irony is that his notes turned around that role”… and Douglas was so seduced by the changes he returned and brought a bonus – his new young wife along to the party, the pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones.
  52. George Clooney, Intolerable Cruelty, 2002.    As the world’s #1 divorce lawyer, entranced by a gold-digger he has just ruined in a case- too close to his hopes (achieved in 2002) of being the Chicago lawyer.
  53. Clive Owen,  Beyond Borders, 2002.   Director Martin Campbell felt  his hero, Dr Nick Callahan, should  not suffer from movie star baggage – and dropped Gere and/or Kevin Costner for Owen’s less famous face. 
  54. Antonio Banderas, Imagining Argentina, 2003.       Due a decade earlier as a third film with Mike Figgis.
  55. Chris Noth, Mr 3000, 2004.      Twenty-six years later and Gere and Travolta  are still after each other’s movies. 
  56. Ty Burrell, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, 2006.      Arbus biographer Patricia Bosworth recalled Gere being named in a casting brainstorming as far back as 1987. All part of the movie experience, “endless talking, note-taking, fantasising,” that gave her a false sense of accomplishment.
  57. Sean Penn, Milk, 2007.    On director Gus Van Sant’s 1990s’ wish  list for  Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first openly gay public official – assassinated in 1978.  Also considered: Daniel Day-Lewis, Robin Williams, James Woods. Penn won his second Best Actor Oscar for, as SF Chronicle Mick LaSalle put it,  disappearing into the title role.
  58. Patrick Wilson, Watchmen, 2008.      Not so much “Who watches the watchmen?” as Aristotle asked, but who them playeth?  And in the 20 years it took for Alan Moore’s DComic-book to be filmed, directors came and went – Darren Aronofsky, Michael Bay, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Paul Greengrass. So did their choices for Dan Dreiberg aka Nite Owl: Gere, Kevin Costner, John Cusack, Nathan Fillon, Joaquin Phoenix. (Fillion was also shortlisted for Edward Morgan Blake aka The Comedian).














 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  59