Richard Gere, 65, plays up his heartthrob status as the suave Guy Chambers in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Here, the former American Gigolo (and now real-life bed-and-breakfast proprietor) reveals the secrets to raising pensioner heart rates—and running a great hotel.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There’s a scene where you walk into the hotel dining room and all the women swoon. That can’t be bad for the ego.
RICHARD GERE: I didn’t even think about it until we shot it and there were all these women. [Laughs] Those actresses are delicious, all of them. It was great fun.
Tell me about filming in India. Was it at all like you would imagine a real-life Marigold Hotel to be?
It was absolutely like a Marigold Hotel. All of us gravitated to the smaller, funkier hotels, which were rebuilt palaces. We moved to a few different places, starting in Jaipur and then we went to Daipur, a beautiful smaller city. And we stayed in this great, smaller hotel on a hill. And you know, depending on when we got back [from shooting], we’d meet at the bar or at the restaurant. There was a great restaurant across the lake and we’d gravitate towards that. We’d all sit at one big table outside and could look back across the lake to royal palaces. It was really beautiful and it actually had a similar feel to Venice. But really, the food was great and the whole experience in Daipur was pretty amazing.
In the movie you’re part of an elaborate Bollywood-style number. We’ve seen your moves in Chicago and Shall We Dance?, too. Do those routines come easily to you?
I had a really bad flu [before filming], and they took me right off the plane into dance rehearsals. There was no air-conditioning, and it was really hot and I was really sick—and I was really having fun. I’m used to [choreography], but I have to say, some of the actresses weren’t as accustomed to that kind of thing. One-two-three-swish; one-two-three-kick! It wasn’t really in their vocabulary.
You own a B&B—the Bedford Post Inn in Westchester County, New York—and you stay in hotels a lot when you’re on location. What’s the secret to a perfect hotel experience?
I talked to Harry Cipriani once. Every time I was in Harry’s Bar in Venice, we had a great time. And so I asked Harry, “Why is it I just have a great time here?” He said, “It’s very simple. Anytime someone asks for something, the answer is yes.” That’s how you have a great place, whether it’s a hotel, a restaurant, or your own house. The answer is always yes.