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Richard Gere and Diane Lane: The Nights in Rodanthe interview

Joel D. Amos is a Los Angeles-based writer, and the Senior Entertainment Editor here at SheKnows. He has interviewed numerous celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Katherine Heigl, Rachel McAdams, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaw...

Rodanthe has us seeing stars

Flawless cinematic chemistry is exceptionally rare. Richard Gere and Diane Lane have it burning up the screen or simply walking in a room. Their third pairing, Nights in Rodanthe, debuts September 26. Days before the dramatic love story hits theaters the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall of today visited with SheKnows.

Life lessons

SheKnows: On screen, impeccable chemistry exists obviously between you, but each time is different with varying directors, scripts and settings. So sitting down for Nights in Rodanthe, what struck you about each other?

Richard Gere: I discovered she's still 18 and I grew older (laughs). That's what I discovered.

Diane Lane: It's true that Richard and I have this thing. It's wonderful to have the comfort level of all our past conversations and experiences to not have to wear kid gloves. To get right in there and trust each other's boundaries and to not be walking on eggshells with somebody you just met…

Richard Gere: Or someone who's crazy.

Diane Lane: (laughs) At least we know that. We don't have to wonder that.

Gere contemplates

Richard Gere: We know it for sure. I think if you have a built in level of respect and trust and an openness to essentially be yourself, especially in film acting, you're way ahead. It allows for a deeper uncensored communication.

Diane Lane: And you can get there by take two instead of take seven. Hopefully! George liked that idea.

SheKnows: In Nights in Rodanthe, there are issues that teens deal with, such as divorce, yet this is clearly not a teen movie...

Richard Gere: Movies that work probably are a mirror in some way so we can see ourselves. I don't think this is a story for teenagers.

Diane Lane: They'll see their parents.

SheKnows: Nicholas Sparks' characters are so grounded in true human emotion...

Richard Gere: I think it's about people that have been through a lot. They know themselves enough they know what's emotionally and psychologically real and what isn't. It's very hard when you're a kid. You're just floating on hormones. (Diane laughs) I think these people have a certain sense of dignity and responsibility about them that they listen to each other and can be affected by each other and trust their basic instincts that they're going towards the good.

Diane Lane: Right, and whatever that is. That's the joke about the dog and new tricks is that when you meet someone who challenges you on a level that you feel comfortable with about yourself. You really thought you had that figured that out. But, when somebody challenges you, that is very effecting. To open that door to be willing to reassess oneself, one's ambitions in life, and say 'I can do better and what would that look like?' Somebody has forced you to open your eyes where you didn't want to look. That's very endearing. That is what intimacy is.

Diane discover's Richard's true love

The voice of love

SheKnows: Of course everyone is talking about your great chemistry and the films you do together. To me, the most effective part of this film where the audience truly felt you guys falling for each other was when you were writing love letters to one another. How was that different? I'm assuming you weren't in the same studio recording those lines.

Richard Gere: We weren't. That's very interesting because that wasn't part of the original script. That was an addendum in trying to figure out where the movie was in the editing process. The movie, it's strange, in a way it ended earlier than that. Not in terms of the time, but in terms of our story, it ended much earlier.

Diane Lane: Definitely.

Richard Gere: It was the letters that were, I think, in the book.

Diane Lane: It was in the book.

Richard Gere: That keeps our story alive until the end of the movie which wasn't part of the initial structure.

Diane Lane: It was conveniently available.

They both laugh.

Richard Gere: The novelist knew that. I guess when we were fashioning the script, we didn't think that was necessarily.

SheKnows: Well you two, it was incredible.

Diane Lane: Thanks!

Cosmic chemistry commences

SheKnows: Back to the beginning and when you first met. First impressions of each were?

Diane Lane: I was very insecure and I think it manifested itself as…age appropriate, let's say for 18. A little defensive and little bitchy…maybe…

Lane and Gere enjoy the sceneryRichard Gere: Yeah…

They both laugh.

Diane Lane: I got the part. It's interesting because I had just finished shooting Streets of Fire and we had a chemistry meeting. Can you imagine flying out with that in mind. What pressure, you walk in the room and you're already pissed off.

Richard Gere: I just went down the wormhole. It's Francis Ford Coppola, me and she's already worked with Francis two times.

Diane Lane: Yeah, Outsiders and Rumble Fish.

Richard Gere: So you already had a comfort level with him for sure.

Diane Lane: Yeah, from the year before. Now, you want me to audition. I thought it wasn't fair. I was such a bitch.

Richard Gere: She really remembers everything I have no memory of that whatsoever. I remembered she was an absolute doll, no question about it. I had seen her, she was adorable. There was something mysterious going on, but very self possessed at the same time. She came in with all those qualities in terms of being able to deal with the situation. At 18, I couldn't have dealt, I couldn't even speak. She brought this 'I don't care' attitude. But you know underneath it all she desperately did.

Diane Lane: There were a couple of close calls where we almost did something.

Richard Gere: We're both very picky.

Diane Lane: And when you have kids you factor in where and when and how long.

The Franco factor

SheKnows: You both share pivotal scenes in this film with James Franco.

Diane Lane: Ah, yes.

SheKnows: You each spent time with him. He's such an immense talent for such a small role. What was that experience like working with James? It's such pivotal story material.

Impeccable scenery only adds to the passion

Richard Gere: It is a small part. In movies you care about, small parts are incredibly meaningful. We've seen that in movies where they hire just any actor and it destroys the movie. You get nothing out of the scene. Really terrific actors in small parts may be the most important thing in a film and the fact that he was willing to do it and also brought so much of himself - I wasn't there when he filmed those scenes with Diane - to see how much he brought to those is incredible. During the storm sequence in Ecuador, we were actually creating the storm. There was a faulty rain line and this whole set started to collapse. We were underneath it. I ran one direction, he ran another and the powers that be said we're stopping production here. Someone's going to get hurt. This was the last day we had with him. He had to go out and shoot something else. I said, 'Let's take a deep breath here. We're not going to do that. But, let's shoot, we need a couple of close ups and we can cut in what we have and we'll finish the rest.' We went in and did tight close-ups, something we can control without a lot of craziness around. In the end we didn't need the big stuff. We had enough to make it work. But it was enormous pressure to get everything done with him in the time that we had. And, like you said, everything he was in is in the movie. Everything he did was in the film and adds a lot to it.

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