American actor Richard Gere has had an interesting career, to say the least. Known for his performances in popular films like Pretty Woman as well as cult classics like Days of Heaven, Gere has firmly embedded himself in the framework of pop culture. In addition to his acting, Gere has become a crowd favourite because of his anecdotal mishaps – ranging from a misadventure with a gerbil to a French tourist mistaking him from a beggar and handing him a pizza.
In recent years, Gere has blamed the Chinese government for a lack of opportunities. According to Gere, his friendship with the Dalai Lama has landed him in hot water with Chinese authorities: “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,” he commented.
Adding: “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.”
Is the Chinese government to blame, or is it a string of poor performances? With that in mind, we take a look at some of the worst performances delivered by Richard Gere throughout his career.
Richard Gere’s five worst films of all time:
King David (Bruce Beresford – 1985)
Bruce Beresford’s 1985 Biblical epic starred Gere as the titular character of David, the king of Israel who has to deal with the trials and tribulations of such a responsibility. Right from the start, it is painfully clear that Gere is out of his depth. Beresford acknowledged this as well, claiming that Gere was miscast.
Gere admitted: “Who has a right to play anyone on that level? Who has the chutzpah to play any other life and think you can fulfil it? But as with other professions, you take on the largest challenge in order to expand yourself. It would be foolish for anyone to think he could be King David or Jesus Christ or Freud or whoever.”
Intersection (Mark Rydell – 1994)
An American remake of a 1970 drama by Claude Sautet, Gere plays the role of an architect who miraculously has the time to revisit his relationship with his wife (Sharon Stone) and mistress before dying in an accident. This film is an attempt to pack in as many clichés as possible without any shame or regard for originality.
“I was stunned,” Rydell said of Stone. “I expected a moderately talented piece of work. I didn’t know the range she has. We had her read four scenes, and then we threw her a curve. We asked her to read the scene where she has to collapse, when her husband tells her he’s leaving her. To see her come apart at the seams was remarkable.”
The Jackal (Michael Caton-Jones – 1997)
Starring the likes of Sidney Poitier, Bruce Willis and Richard Gere, The Jackal is a hilariously terrible action thriller that revolves around the search for a deadly assassin. Gere’s terrible accent earned him a nomination for the Worst Fake Accent at the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards.
The filmmaker recalled: “‘Bruce said ‘Yeah, well, why shouldn’t the film have guns?’ And Richard would say: ‘Well, speaking as a liberal, I’m not sure what I think of that.’ Which meant I had to tap dance between the two. It was a fight for daddy’s attention and at the end of the longest lunch of my life, I thought ‘Thank fuck they’re not in any scenes together.'”
Movie 43 (Multiple directors – 2013)
A collaborative effort between filmmakers like Peter Farrelly, Elizabeth Banks and Bob Odenkirk among others, Movie 43 is a collection of loosely connected short films which are asinine and ridiculous. It won prizes for Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay at the Golden Raspberry Awards.
When asked why he signed up for such a horrible project in the first place, Gere gave this excuse: “The guy who put it together was the godfather of my step-daughter [and] a close friend of my wife. Basically they talked me into it.” He also maintained that he wouldn’t see the film, claiming: “I don’t wanna waste my time.”
The Benefactor (Andrew Renzi – 2015)
One of the more recent projects in Richard Gere’s career, The Benefactor features the veteran actor as a troubled billionaire who tries to get rid of his guilt by paying his way out of it. Gere seems simultaneously out of place and right at home in this poorly structured dark drama.
“My career has never been thought out,” Gere revealed. “I never engineered a career. I just have always done whatever I wanted. You’re restricted by what you’re offered… but the incredible list of brilliant directors and actors and writers I’ve worked with, you know I’m kind of amazed myself that I’ve been able to ride this career this long with such good people.” Well, we are amazed too.