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.
When Diane Lane and Richard Gere first met during a “chemistry” test at the request of Francis Ford Coppola for his The Cotton Club in 1984, each thought the other was up for the part. But, there was so much more.
After the enormous success of Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook, Gere and Lane were eager to be a part of Nights in Rodanthe and set their movie fire ablaze once again.
But first, as is in the case here in Hollywood, issues needed to be resolved.
SheKnows: How did this entire project come together? It’s so hard to get actors together for ideal casting, much less three times?
Diane Lane: I received this phone call from him (Gere) in January of 2007 and he said ‘you’re really going to do this?’ I said ‘yeah. We’re really going to go for it.’ By the time we finally got on the phone with each other we knew we were on the track but still with a question mark at the end a little bit (laughs). I have to say that I finally saw Lackawanna Blues and that sealed the deal for me because Richard was so enamored of George C. Wolfe (director) as a person.
Richard Gere: It was vaguely like that (laughs). It was a lot more. The script was not perfect. They had brought this to me years before we ended up making it and I kept going ‘this needs a lot of work.’ I get where it could go and I think I understand how it functions best for the story it’s telling. The script was not happening. We went through a lot of that for at least two years. It didn’t give us the space to allow anything organic to happen. Of course, Diane was perfect for the part and there wasn’t a director involved. It was all kind of fluffy out in the air somewhere. For me, it was meeting George (Wolfe, director). I said, ‘OK, he’s a smart guy.’ We talked about movies and storytelling. He came over to my office and we spent a lot of time talking about things in general. I had a comfort level with him. It wasn’t easy, believe me. It wasn’t like here’s the script, you want to do it or not? Let’s go! It really was a slow burn over quite a bit of time.
SheKnows: George as a director, with that background on the stage, for such an intimate story, How did George’s theatrical experience add to this experience for the both of you?
Richard Gere: He has a sense of the theatrical. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that maybe a movie director would not have thought of. He thinks about music a lot and designed a couple of scenes around music. I think he’s more of an idea guy coming from the world of theater. What’s the idea of this scene and we would construct something to create that. I think a lot of movie directors go by the feeling of it and find a way to film the feeling rather than something that is manifest in behavior.
Diane Lane: He would talk a lot about the energy of the scene. The house being a character in the story that goes through the storm as we are part of the story going through our storm as parallel lines, very theatrically said.
Richard Gere: A lot of film directors that don’t come out of the theater find it very hard to articulate what they’re trying to do…
Diane Lane: That’s so true.
Richard Gere: George absolutely can communicate. That’s his life in theater. You learn how to do that. If you can’t say that, you’re not going to get it on stage. You need to have that level of communication. It’s a verbal medium, theater. George is incredibly verbal. In a way, it made it easier. Sometimes you do that in a movie you go, ‘what are you trying to say? Look, I’ve done everything I can do, what do you want? (laughs). George is not like that. He is very clear.
Up next…Gere and Lane share insight into the chemistry that yields passion even through voice-over