Arbitrage director relives Gere audition

Updated: 26 February 2013 16:25

With his acclaimed financial thriller Arbitrage opening in Irish cinemas this Friday, March 1, writer-director Nicholas Jarecki has been telling RTÉ TEN about the unusual setting in which he persuaded A-lister Richard Gere to play "business gangster" Robert Miller in his first, modestly budgeted feature film as a director.

With his acclaimed financial thriller Arbitrage opening in Irish cinemas this Friday, March 1, writer-director Nicholas Jarecki has been telling RTÉ TEN about the unusual setting in which he persuaded A-lister Richard Gere to play "business gangster" Robert Miller in his first, modestly budgeted feature film as a director.

You can watch our interview with Nicholas Jarecki by clicking the link on your left.

On his visit last week to Dublin for the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, Jarecki took up the story: "Richard's agent was a big fan of the screenplay and I said to him, 'Listen do you think we could ever get Richard [to star]?' He sent him the script; 18 hours later Richard called back.

"Richard said, 'I love the script but I have to meet this director because he's never made a movie - how do I know he knows what he's doing?!'"

Jarecki continued: "Anyway, we met up. Richard owns a restaurant in Upstate New York - he actually owns a hotel. We sat in the hotel, I was introduced and he said, 'Convince me. How do I know you know what you're doing?' I said, 'Alright, here's how I see it'.

"We start talking; three hours go by. All of a sudden we're really deep in conversation. I got the script here and he says [shouts], 'Do this scene!' So I start playing his mistress; he's playing 'himself', Robert Miller the billionaire. And all of a sudden he's grabbing the script and going [shouts again], 'C'mere! Stand up!'

"We're in the restaurant; there's 50 people in the restaurant! He throws me up against the wall and we stared deep into each other's eyes. And it was kind of from this moment that we realised we had a shared insanity!

"I was super-lucky that he responded to the material in this way. I think he saw something in the character that he could really give a great performance."

Gere was Golden Globe-nominated for his work on Arbitrage, and you can judge for yourself whether it's the performance of his career when it opens in cinemas from Friday March 1.