Richard Gere is in Hamilton for a movie, and he is signing autographs

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Published October 11, 2022 at 1:20 pm

He has been an officer and a gentleman, fallen in love with a pretty woman and a runaway bride, and now veteran actor Richard Gere is popping up in Hamilton to make a fan’s day.

Gere, a one-time Golden Globe and Screen Actors’ Guild award winner, will be in Hamilton over the next few weeks for the filming of director Savi Gabizon’s “Longing,” a comedy-drama about an aging bachelor who reevaluates his life after learning that he has a son who died before reaching full adulthood. The Scythia Films production is a remake of Gabizon’s Hebrew and French-language original of the same name, which was a sensation five years ago when it was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.

On Tuesday, Hamilton resident Dylan Atack (@ticatsfan7 on Twitter) tracked down Gere on location. Gere obliged him with by autographing a sign and posing for a few pictures.

The Hamilton Spectator reported last week that filming locations for “Longing” including a 20-room mansion on Queen St. S. in the Durand neighbourhood. Preserved period homes in Hamilton are a popular go-to for film and TV productions, including “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Murdoch Mysteries,” the long-running Canadian Broadcasting Corp. crime procedural.

For Gere, 73, the role will mean he has appeared in films in six decades, since he has not been on screen since 2017. Over his career, he has balanced playing leading men in dramas and romcoms with choosing prestige projects that are aimed more at critical success.

Gere became a bankable Hollywood leading man after breakout roles in “American Gigolo” (1980) and “An Officer And A Gentleman” (1982). He and Julia Roberts starred in the 1990 hit “Pretty Woman,” which Box Office Mojo rates as the No. 1 romantic comedy by the highest estimated domestic tickets sold, with over 42 million moviegoers paying to see it. At the end of that decade, Gere and Roberts also reunited for another hit romcom, “Runaway Bride.”

(The popularity of those films was such that it was worked into a joke in the early-2010s cult-favourite hangout comedy “Happy Endings.” The character of Alex Kerkovich, played by Canadian performer Elisha Cuthbert, finds out her on-again, off-again boyfriend made up an outrageous lie about Gere “because I didn’t want to watch ‘Pretty Woman’ for the 74th time.”)

Gere’s star has also been bright enough for him to get the ultimate confirmation of cultural relevancy: a guest appearance in “The Simpsons.” Gere, a practising Tibetan Buddhist, appears when Lisa visits a temple in Springfield while questioning her faith.

Gere won Golden Globe and SAG awards for his role as the lawyer Billy Flynn in the 2003 hit musical “Chicago.” He also won a Robert Altman Independent Spirit Award for his performance in 2007’s “I’m Not There,” where he was one of six actors to portray a element of singer Bob Dylan’s public personas.

(Cover photo: Twitter/@ticatsfan7).

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