Why Hollywood Won't Cast Richard Gere Anymore

Once upon a time, Richard Gere was a major Hollywood heartthrob and well-regarded for his dramatic work. From his career-making turn as a male escort in 1980's "American Gigolo," to his iconic romantic leads in "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Pretty Woman," and his celebrated turn in the Oscar-winning 2002 film "Chicago," Gere had a hectic couple of decades. Everyone knew his name, except maybe not his middle name, which, as a fun fact, happens to be Tiffany. 

However, Gere's career has grown quiet in recent years. A little too quiet. After appearing in the eight-part mini-series "MotherFatherSon" in 2019, Gere had a four-year break before appearing on our screens again. Of course, when he's not making movies, Gere has a hectic family life with his wife Alejandra Silva. While 2023's "Maybe I Do" was a return to form for the actor, his absence from Hollywood speaks volumes, and fans might be worried about whether he'll make many more films during his career. 

Here's what you need to know about why Hollywood won't cast Richard Gere anymore, and how he may be able to turn things around.

Audiences aren't tripping over themselves to see him

Despite being a major Hollywood star, Richard Gere has garnered some cringe-worthy ticket sales. For instance, his 2000 film "Dr. T and the Women" failed to recoup the $23 million the studio spent on production. Even worse, his 2009 movie "Amelia," which also fared miserably with critics, earned just $14.2 million on a $40 million budget. Meanwhile, his 2011 thriller "The Double" earned just over $4.7 million worldwide on an estimated $13.5 million budget, which leaves a lot to be desired. Even Gere's 2008 Nicholas Sparks adaptation "Nights in Rodanthe" was somewhat of a box-office bummer, as it took in $84 million, which is pretty mediocre compared to other Sparks movies.

2017's "The Dinner," which co-starred Laura Linney and Steve Coogan, made a little more than $2.5 million worldwide, while "Three Christs," also released in 2017, brought in just $36,723. Gere's next release was the British BBC drama "MotherFatherSon," the actor's first appearance on television in decades.

Unfortunately, it would seem that Gere's glory days as one of Hollywood's most popular actors are over, but that doesn't discredit the smash hit successes he's been a part of, from 1990's "Pretty Woman" to 1999's "Runaway Bride," both of which co-starred Julia Roberts, to 1997's "The Jackal," which brought in $159 million worldwide.

He doesn't diversify

Whereas a lot of Richard Gere's contemporaries have jumped the movie-making ship to join multiple dramatic television series, the actor has largely avoided the small screen for most of his career. Apart from a couple of documentaries and TV roles, he's almost exclusively appeared on the silver screen since the '70s, which means he might be missing out on opportunities to connect with colleagues and audiences beyond the cinema. With HBO dramas ruling the roost at awards shows, and streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video regularly churning out hits, it seems strange that Gere hasn't been hired for the leading role in a prestige TV show.

Gere has also avoided the Broadway stage for decades, despite originally getting his start at the Seattle Rep Theater and the Provincetown Playhouse. He was well-received for his work in the Tony-nominated 1979 play "Bent" and in the Oscar-winning movie adaption of the musical "Chicago" in 2002, so a return to the stage or a musical would likely be welcomed. But for now, at least, Gere seems to be done with live performance and, despite starring in the BBC's TV mini-series "MotherFatherSon" in 2019, the actor hasn't made the move to streaming like many of his contemporaries.

He's focused on Buddhism and humanitarian work

Richard Gere co-founded the humanitarian non-governmental organization Tibet House and engages in a great deal of relief work across the globe, including AIDS awareness and education campaigns, as well as tribal protection efforts.

In a 1999 interview with the Lion's Roar, he talked about balancing work and spirituality, as he's been practicing Buddhism since his early twenties. "I find that more and more my involvement in a career, in a normal householder life, is a great challenge for deepening the teachings inside of me. If I weren't out in the marketplace, there's no way I would be able to really face the nooks and crannies and darkness inside of me." In other words, Gere seems to hold his personal values and passion projects well above whatever front-of-camera work might come his way, which may not be copacetic with the who's who of Tinseltown.

Having worked with a plethora of humanitarian organizations, from Amnesty International to Doctors Without Borders, it's clear that Gere's focus has always been on giving back to others, which is hard to criticize. Perhaps he simply has his priorities right and is happy to step away from the perceived glitz and glamor of Hollywood.

He was banned from the Oscars

Richard Gere's Tibetan activism collided with Hollywood's foreign interests during the Academy Awards in 1993, when he went off script during his presentation for best art direction. "With the knowledge of what a horrendous, horrendous human rights situation there is in China, [and Tibet] I wonder if we could all send love and truth and sanity to Deng Xiaoping right now in Beijing, if maybe he will take his troops, take them away from Tibet and allow these people to live as free, independent people again," Gere said at the ceremony, via Tibet Rights Collective. He was subsequently banned from presenting at the Oscars and prohibited from visiting China. 

Incredibly, twenty years passed before Gere returned to the Oscars, but according to interviews with the star, he remained nonplussed about the ban. In 2013, before his return to the ceremony, he told HuffPost, "Apparently, I've been rehabilitated. It seems if you stay around long enough, they forget they've banned you."

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, Gere said of his absence from the red carpet, "I didn't have to put on a tuxedo again. I was fine with that." And according to the publication, he even shrugged, denoting his disinterest. The actor doesn't seem to regret his words at the 1993 Academy Awards and was simply happy to walk away from the show over it, even if he was kept from the spotlight as a result.

A reunion with Julia Roberts will likely never happen

The onscreen chemistry between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere is undeniable. After joining forces for 1990's "Pretty Woman," which quickly became financially successful and adored by fans, Roberts and Gere reunited for 1999's "Runaway Bride," another smash hit at the box office. Despite their success as a duo, the pair haven't worked on any further projects together. 

Sadly, anyone hoping for a "Pretty Woman" sequel is out of luck, according to Roberts. During an interview with Gayle King on "CBS Mornings" (via X), [1:30] Roberts was asked where she thought the characters from "Pretty Woman" would be today. Of Gere's part Edward, she teased, "I think he passed away peacefully in his sleep from a heart attack, smiling." Meanwhile, Roberts' character Vivian had a slighter nicer fate. "And now she runs his business," the star said.

Gere, too, has addressed whether or not there is any hope of an onscreen reunion with Roberts. According to Far Out, Gere told Us Weekly, "We have done two movies and they were both successful, so maybe we should just let it go at that." Unfortunately, it seems as though Roberts and Gere are unlikely to work together again, which is a real shame considering how wildly successful their two movies were.

Richard Gere became known for taking 'himself very seriously'

One of the reasons Richard Gere has had less success in Hollywood over the years may be down to his reputation. In 2023, chat show host Michael Aspel opened up about Gere's appearance on his show "Aspel and Company" in 1989, and he seemed less than impressed with the actor. When Gere appeared on the chat show, Aspel introduced the star as a sex symbol, he revealed to the Daily Mail. Unfortunately, this label didn't go down too well with the "Autumn in New York" star. 

"After the interview, we had a phone call from his agent saying if I didn't remove the sex symbol thing, they were going to take it up with their lawyer," Aspel told the publication. "He would not be known as a sex symbol," Aspel continued. "It was very odd. But he took himself very seriously, because he did a lot of stuff for the people of Tibet." While Gere's activation has been an important aspect of his career, it seems that the actor's approach to certain situations, such as taking issue with being labeled as a sex symbol, has gotten him a reputation as a serious person.

He spent the COVID-19 pandemic at home with his family

Richard Gere's resume features a huge gap, with the actor not appearing in anything for four years after making the TV show "MotherFatherSon," which was released by the BBC in 2019. However, there's a very simple reason why Gere stayed away from acting for several years post-2019, and that's the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many people all around the world, Gere opted to stay home with family during the pandemic, before returning to work with 2023's "Maybe I Do."

Speaking to Sky News in 2023, Gere explained his absence from the entertainment industry, saying, "I just stayed at home with my family ... I mean, the protocols for making movies in that period were so daunting that I didn't really want to go through it." Instead of working, Gere waited for the right opportunity to come along, and for COVID-19 precautions to be relaxed before he returned to the screen. "So it loosened up a little bit and the script came through," he told the outlet. "[I thought] this is a way to get back into the working world with something adult but fun, with actors I knew and had worked with before and trusted." "Maybe I Do" co-stars a smorgasbord of acting talent, including Diane Keaton, Emma Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and William H. Macy, so it's no surprise that Gere was drawn back to work with this particular project.

He faced a 15-year court case in India

While he's been out of the spotlight, Richard Gere has reportedly been dealing with some ongoing legal drama. As reported by The Independent, Gere found himself in trouble with the law in India after the actor kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty at a public event in the country in 2007, leading to allegations of obscenity. In April 2023, a court in India finally moved to dismiss the charges against Shetty, after almost 16 years in limbo.

Per the publication, Gere had kissed Shetty on her cheek on various occasions throughout the event, which led to the Supreme Court in India issuing a warrant for the actor's arrest. Gere reportedly defended his actions, claiming that he wanted to raise HIV awareness by showing that kissing someone does not spread the condition. 

Discussing their decision to finally drop charges against Shetty, the court said, via the newspaper, "A woman being groped on the street or touched on a public way or in public transport cannot be termed as accused or participative to an extent of mental culpability and she cannot be held for illegal omission to make her liable for prosecution."

Richard Gere lost his confidence as an actor

Following an elongated break from acting, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard Gere worried he'd lost some of his confidence as an actor. During a candid interview with Sky News in 2023, in which Gere discussed his return to acting, the "Arbitrage" star explained, "Whenever I start a project, I kind of question whether I know what I'm doing at all." He continued, "And after three years of not making a film or working in the theatre, I think I had this feeling of, 'do I know how to do this? Did I ever know how to do this?'"

Understandably, Gere had some performance anxiety about returning to his very public role, but luckily the actor quickly regained his confidence. "I think it is like riding a bike — you pretty much remember how to do it," he explained during the interview. Gere's comments are highly relatable as it's likely that many people experienced the very same emotions upon returning to work having spent so much time at home or sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it's also clear that some of Gere's absence from Hollywood has been through personal choice.

He was hospitalized for pneumonia

In early 2023, it was reported that Richard Gere had been hospitalized in Mexico while on vacation in Nuevo Vallarta with his wife and children. The family was celebrating Alejandra Silva's 40th birthday when Gere reportedly contracted pneumonia which precipitated an overnight hospital stay. A source revealed to TMZ that Gere was ill before he went on vacation and that he worsened once there. According to the source, the hospital prescribed antibiotics, and Gere was released after one night.

Silva shared an Instagram post on February 21, 2023, in which she wrote an update on her husband's condition. "Richard is feeling much better, we are all feeling much better, 'almost' back to normal," she wrote. Silva continued, "We came to Mexico to continue with our conservation project south of Puerto Vallarta, we all came not feeling well from NY, our youngest James and Richard got Pneumonia and Alexander and I sinusitis and ear infections, now we are all well and almost fully recovered." Luckily, the Gere family seemed to recover from their illnesses, and the actor was able to treat his condition, so that the trip wasn't cut short. 

He's very aware that he's getting older

Richard Gere was born on August 31, 1949, and he turned 74 in 2023. Now in his seventies, Gere is very aware that he's getting older, especially as the actor is raising two young children with his wife Alejandra Silva. The couple welcomed their son Alexander in 2019, and their second son was born in 2020, although his name hasn't been revealed. Gere also has a son Homer from a previous marriage, who was born in 2000, while he serves as a step-father to Silva's son Albert.

Speaking to Sky News in 2023, Gere said, "I have a two-and-a-half-year-old and a three-and-a-half — almost four-year-old and a ten-year-old, so I don't have really the luxury of thinking about time or getting older." Luckily, the actor has a healthy approach to aging and isn't fazed by being an older dad. "Getting older is inevitable," he told the outlet. "I mean, it would be silly for people not to engage [with] it and even early on to just think about it, you know?"

Proving that he's already come to terms with his mortality, Gere told the publication, "But I get — at best — a finite number of years, and it might be a lot shorter based on health and accidents and all kinds of other things, so it certainly is inevitable." After an incredible acting career, Gere seems content with where he is in life.

How he's turning it around

While Richard Gere had an extended break from acting between 2019 and 2023, it seems that the Hollywood star is getting back into the swing of things. In 2023, it was announced that Gere would co-star with Uma Thurman and Jacob Elordi in "Oh, Canada," to be directed by Paul Schrader. He is also set to star alongside Diane Kruger in the movie "Longing," which tells the story of a man who finds out his ex-girlfriend is raising their child he never knew about. Furthermore, Gere is set to reunite with Diane Keaton once again in "The Making Of," in which the pair play a famous couple who begin making a film about their love story, only for their relationship to start faltering. Blake Lively is also set to co-star.

Meanwhile, Gere made sure to support the writer and actors strike in 2023 by being photographed holding a sign saying, "Writers Guild of America East Stands With SAG-AFTRA." By returning to the spotlight and supporting his industry in a very public way, Gere made it clear that he is far from done with Hollywood. Given the right opportunities, it seems likely that the beloved "Pretty Woman" star will be back on our screens in no time.