by Beatrice Bertuccioli
Beautiful in his white uniform as an officer of the Navy, the happy and proud expression of those who have made it, he proceeds decisively between the counters of the factory while the workers look at him ecstatic. He reaches Paula, kisses her, lifts her up and, to the applause of her colleagues, carries her away in his arms, finally towards a different and better life. Forty years ago Officer and Gentleman, by Taylor Hackford, he achieved a success that no one expected, he won two Oscars, for the best supporting actor, Louis Gossett Jr. and for the best song, Up Where We Belong, but above all he consecrated Richard Gere as a star of the first magnitude and sex symbol, alongside an enchanting Debra Winger. Yesterday the Magna Graecia Film Festival, in Catanzaro, paid tribute to that lucky film, re-presented to the public for the occasion, and to its magnificent interpreter, born in ’49, with candid hair but intact charm, always kind and helpful, giving him an award to career.
Gere, a success that was born from a chance encounter.
“That’s right. I was in a restaurant in New York and by chance I meet Taylor Hackford whom I didn’t know and who up to that moment hadn’t made any feature films. He came to me and said: I have a script ready, you want to. Read it? I read it and watched the documentaries he had made and I loved it. But as for the script I told him we should rewrite it, because it was too sentimental. So we modified it to create a tougher story and realistic. It was a choral work, with a cast that revolved around me and Debra, already famous, but in which everyone did their part in an excellent way. However, there were problems “.
“We were behind schedule and the ending didn’t convince me. Taylor insisted, we shot it and then we liked it again. And it got even better when the music was put on. Even if it comes to mind. something that Bernardo Bertolucci told me, of whom I was a very good friend and that I admired very much “.
What did he tell her?
“He told me: I like the film very much, I like you very much, I do not like the political position of the film: workers who applaud when the military enters the factory”.
In the end a bit of a role of Prince Charming like in the other great success Pretty Women. Have you ever thought about a remake of the film with Julia Roberts?
“Although director Garry Marshall himself told me several times about a possible remake, thinking strange developments, in the end nothing was ever done. That film released in 1990 was a great, unexpected success: it created a magic, a sort of falling in love. You don’t know why you fall in love with someone, but it happens. ”
Before, she had already shot American Gigolo but Officer and a Gentleman was for her the film of the consecration and the turning point in her career.
“Actually, I never considered it as such. For me it was simply making a film, then making another, then maybe moving on to Broadway, to the theater, then going back to making films. The turning point film was for me The days of heaven, of Malick, ’78, the first one I did. And I never considered myself the best. Rather, very lucky, yes. ”