The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: An interview with Richard Gere

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is out on Digital HD 22nd June and on Blu-ray and DVD from 29th June.

To celebrate the release of this feel-good all-star comedy (it can be purchased online HERE), we've got an interview with new addition to the cast: the wonderful Richard Gere!


Hollywood Actor and Activist Richard Gere was delighted to join the British and Indian cast for director John Madden’s The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

“Well this one came to me kind of out of the blue. I was getting ready to shoot two other films, and they came to me with this, and the cast is great, obviously, and John [Madden] is someone I’d been chasing for a while,” he says.

“To shoot in India, of course, is something that I was very happy to do, and in Rajasthan, where I’d never been able to spend that much time, so that was all positive.

“I’ve been calling the cast ‘racehorses’ – there are ten or 12 racehorses in this movie, and everyone had difficult schedules to make it all work, and so they found a way finally to make it work for me, and I said, ‘Great, let’s just run with it.’”

Gere had been a huge fan of Madden’s critically acclaimed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), starring Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dame Maggie Smith, Dev Patel and Tina Desai who all return for the sequel.

“I saw the first one, and I thought it was a really charming jewel-like little movie. You could see it wasn’t made with high expectations; they just made a heartfelt movie, and probably because they weren’t aiming so high, it worked. It didn’t try to be something else, it was just itself. It was very charming.”

In the first film, Patel played Sonny Kapoor who runs a ‘luxurious’ hotel, The Best Exotic Marigold, that attracts a disparate group of English pensioners who are enticed to spend their retirement in India where their limited financial resources will go a lot further than back in the UK.

Each had to adapt to a life far away from home and learn to embrace a very different, at times overwhelming culture. But for all of them, the adventure sparked a new, unexpected beginning.

The new film takes up a short time after the first one ended. Sonny is now engaged to the beautiful Sunaina (Tina Desai) and dreams of opening a second hotel to expand his blossoming business.

Muriel Donnelly (Dame Maggie Smith) helps him run the Marigold and joins him on a business trip to the US where they make a presentation to try and convince a hotel chain to invest in the Marigold brand.

They return hopeful that it will happen but on guard that one of the chain’s hotel inspectors will secretly be paying the Marigold a visit to check that it’s all that Sonny and Muriel claim it to be – and that will decide whether much needed investment will follow.

The hotel’s guests have settled into life in their adopted land; Evelyn (Dame Judi Dench) has been offered a job as a buyer for a fabrics company and Douglas Ainslee (Bill Nighy) hopes that their friendship will deepen into a romance although she remains hesitant even though she is clearly taken with Ainslee.

Madge Hardcastle (Celia Imrie) is being wooed by two very eligible local men and trying to decide, which one she would choose should he pop the question and Norman (Ronald Pickup) begins to fear that his girlfriend Carol (Diana Hardcastle) is having an affair.

When two newcomers arrive to stay at the Marigold – the mysterious writer Guy (Gere) and another Brit, Lavinia (Tamsin Grieg), who claims she is researching a place where her mother might stay – Sonny is convinced the handsome American is the undercover inspector and promptly offers him the best room in the hotel and a personal tour of the area.

“Guy is the odd man out, and we don’t know that much about him, frankly. They ask him who he is, and he says he’s there to write a book, and he tells them a little bit about the story, which sounds like it’s about him – a man’s life has kind of fallen apart, and he’s gone to India to get his mojo back and find himself,” explains Gere.

“He’s relaxed in his own skin and he’s very open to the moment. He’s not pushing anything. He’s an adult. I don’t think he has any of the neuroses that a lot of the other characters do in this movie. He’s kind of a solid citizen, and bemused by everything.”

The recently divorced Guy finds himself falling for Sonny’s mother, Mrs Kapoor (Lillete Dubey), much to her son’s dismay.  “Yeah, he’s taken with her right away, and Lillete [Dubey] is a beautiful, energetic, smart woman.

“I was talking to John early on and I said, ‘This infatuation between them is really quick. The casting is going to have to make this work.’ But I think when you see the two of us together, you can see there’s a real attraction there, and it doesn’t have to be explained by events.”

The Second Best Marigold Hotelis, then, a romantic comedy about love and embracing life and new experiences, no matter how old you are.

“Everyone’s in love, or looking for it anyhow. Things happen very quick in this kind of movie. I don’t know how many stories are being told – five? Five different stories are being told, and there’s a certain operatic sense that things happen big and quick, and people fall in love – it’s very Shakespearean that way, very Midsummer Night’s Dream. People fall in love, deeply, and very quickly.

“It’s funny how they get crushes, and they get nervous around each other,” he  laughs. “They’re naïve in a sense, but it’s refreshing to see not young people – men and women – very vulnerable, and willing to take a shot for love. They have this basic yearning that we all have towards love and affection.”

Gere has been a regular visitor to India for years and the chance to work there with John Madden – a filmmaker who has been on his radar for some time –  with a brilliant cast was too good to resist.

“I’m really comfortable in India, so I can blend in, certainly anywhere in India. Anywhere in the world, I’m fine, frankly. I’m easy that way. I knew Maggie [Smith] before.

“I hadn’t seen her in a long time, but I’d met Maggie – she was a close friend of John Schlesinger’s on a movie I did, Yanks, and I remember meeting her. And Bill [Nighy], I had met a few times.

“I hadn’t met Judi [Dench] before. These people are very real. They’re professional, normal people. They work hard and have worked hard their whole lives.

“There certainly was no sense that it was a closed clique. Just the opposite: everyone was just very open and very warm, and also understood space. I wasn’t playing a character that was part of their group. I was the outsider.

“But we were all hanging round in the hotel together. In the end, we all made choices not to be in the glitzy, gold, hotels, which were beautiful – we were in little funky hotels, so we all sat around and had tea, and ate meals together, round the hotel verandas.”

Gere was born in Philadelphia and began his acting career on stage, working with the Seattle Repertory Theatre and Provincetown Playhouse. He starred in the critically acclaimed London stage version of Grease. He began his film career in the mid 1970s, notably starring in Richard Brooks’ Looking For Mr. Goodbar and later, Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven.

His remarkable film CV includes Yanks, American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman, The Cotton Club, Internal Affairs, Pretty Woman, Sommbersby, Primal Fear, Runaway Bride, I’m Not There, Nights In Rodanthe and Arbitrage.

 

Q&A

 

Q: Are you pleased with the film?

 

A: Yes, it’s a genuinely charming movie. Ol [Parker] is the perfect writer to do it. It’s not easy to do actually – take everyone away from themselves and make them give themselves to it. It’s great.

 

Q: Had you seen the first film?

 

A: Yeah, I saw the first one, and I thought it was a really charming jewel-like little movie. You could see it wasn’t made with high expectations; they just made a heartfelt movie, and probably because they weren’t aiming so high, it worked. It didn’t try to be something else, it was just itself. It was very charming.

 

Q: How did you get involved with the sequel?

 

A: Well this one came to me kind of out of the blue. I was getting ready to shoot two other films, and they came to me with this, and the cast is great, obviously, and John [Madden] is someone I’d been chasing for a while. He’s turned down a couple of scripts I sent him, and to shoot in India, of course, is something that I was very happy to do, and in Rajasthan, where I’d never been able to spend that much time, so that was all positive. I just had to fit it into a schedule between these other two movies. I’ve been calling the cast ‘racehorses’ – there are ten or 12 racehorses in this movie, and everyone had difficult schedules to make it all work, and so they found a way finally to make it work for me, and I said, ‘Great, let’s just run with it.’

 

Q: Tell us about Guy, the character you play and how he fits into the story?

 

A: Well, Guy is the odd man out, and we don’t know that much about him, frankly. They ask him who he is, and he says he’s there to write a book, and he tells them a little bit about the story, which sounds like it’s about him – a man’s life has kind of fallen apart, and he’s gone to India to get his mojo back and find himself. He’s relaxed in his own skin and he’s very open to the moment. He’s not pushing anything. He’s an adult. I don’t think he has any of the neuroses that a lot of the other characters do in this movie. He’s kind of a solid citizen, and bemused by everything.

 

Q: The first film was very much about how these people are charmed by the hotel and the country when they arrive there and their lives are changed as a result. Is that what happens with Guy?

 

A: Well, he’s also a world traveller. He’s certainly someone who’s been around the world, not someone for whom this is their first time out of England, or first time out of the US. He’s pretty flexible. When he gets there he says, ‘Look, I’m happy with the smallest room you’ve got. I’m fine with that. I like it that way.’ He’s somebody who doesn’t need the five star hotel.

 

Q: He falls for Mrs. Kapoor while he’s there so romance is in the air. That’s very much part of the theme of both films – new beginnings, being open to what life may bring…

 

A: Yeah, he’s taken with her right away, and Lillete [Dubey] is a beautiful, energetic, smart woman. I was talking to John early on and I said, ‘This infatuation between them is really quick. The casting is going to have to make this work.’ But I think when you see the two of us together, you can see there’s a real attraction there, and it doesn’t have to be explained by events.

 

Q: You were joining an established cast who had all worked together in the first film. Did you feel like the new guy on the block?

 

A: Well, as I said, I’m really comfortable in India, so I can blend in, certainly anywhere in India. Anywhere in the world, I’m fine, frankly. I’m easy that way. I knew Maggie [Smith] before. I hadn’t seen her in a long time, but I’d met Maggie – she was a close friend of John Schlesinger’s on a movie I did, Yanks, and I remember meeting her. And Bill [Nighy], I had met a few times. He actually worked on Yanks, as well. He was telling me a story of something kind I had done to him (laughs). I was thankful that he remembered something kind! (laughs) And I’d seen him when he was doing a play in New York. So I was very happy to work with such a wonderful group of actors.

 

Q: Did you also know Judi Dench already?

 

A: No, I hadn’t met Judi [Dench]before. These people are very real. They’re professional, normal people. They work hard and have worked hard their whole lives. There certainly was no sense that it was a closed clique. Just the opposite: everyone was just very open and very warm, and also understood space. I wasn’t playing a character that was part of their group. I was the outsider. But we were all hanging round in the hotel together. In the end, we all made choices not to be in the glitzy, gold, hotels, which were beautiful – we were in little funky hotels, so we all sat around and had tea, and ate meals together, round the hotel verandas.

 

 

Q: When did you first go to India?

 

A: It was just before my 30th birthday, I think.

 

Q: Most people say that it’s a life changing experience to visit India. Did it change your life?

 

A: Well, you know, I was drawn to the mountains, so I was in the Himalayas, and that’s usually where I go, and even when I’m not there, I’m usually with my Tibetan friends in the south, in villages – these two settlements in the south of Karnataka, in Karnataka state. So I didn’t really know India, or not in that kind of Colonial Indian sense of the Brits, until I started working on HIV/AIDS. That was about ten years ago, when I went travelling all over India, so it wasn’t until then that I got a sense of everywhere in India. We were making PSAs and doing lobbying in every state, so we had to do stuff that was in different languages, where there were different customs, different approaches to medicine, and different sexual issues, so it really meant we had to burrow into real India, everywhere. That probably gave me a better sense of really what India was.

 

Q:  Is it a vastly different experience there to, say, shooting in the States?

 

A: We were in Jaipur and Udaipur. Filming is filming. I’ve filmed in Europe and Mexico and in South Africa, and I can’t say that they are really wildly different experiences.

 

Q: There are some real nods to Bollywood in the film. Talk about the big dance sequence.

 

A:I got right off the plane and I had a really intense flu. I thought, ‘This is the absolute wrong thing to do, to get on a plane right now.’ The first few scenes I shot, my voice is totally different because I’m just so messed up, but I went right into dance rehearsals, and of course it was a kind of common denominator, because no one had done that before, so we were all trying to figure out this Bollywood dancing. We had this wonderful choreographer, who does all the big movies there. The whole movie is framed around this wedding that’s going to happen, and we watched the dances evolve. I think probably this film will have even more appeal because there is so much in it that’s about this young couple, who are brilliant in it.

 

Q: Dev Patel is a real exuberant presence on screen. He represents youth amidst these older people doesn’t he?

 

A: Yeah, John uses him for that, and it’s genuine for him. The guy’s just a bundle of energy, and he’s smart and he’s verbal, and he’s a little goofy. There’s much of this character in the movie that is him. With Tina [Desai] – I have to be honest with you – when I saw the film, I thought Tina was the heart of the movie. She’s just so disarming and real and natural.

 

Q: The film presents love between older characters in a very refreshing way – they make mistakes, they are hesitant but they are very much alive.

 

A: Everyone’s in love, or looking for it anyhow. Things happen very quick in this kind of movie. I don’t know how many stories are being told – five? Five different stories are being told, and there’s a certain operatic sense that things happen big and quick, and people fall in love – it’s very Shakespearean that way, very Midsummer Night’s Dream. People fall in love, deeply, and very quickly. It’s funny how they get crushes, and they get nervous around each other (laughs). They’re naïve in a sense, but it’s refreshing to see not young people – men and women – very vulnerable, and willing to take a shot for love. They have this basic yearning that we all have towards love and affection.

 

Q: You said that you had wanted to work with John Madden. What was it like?

 

A: Well, I think the biggest work was on the script, so all that work made everyone’s life easier on set. He was very much with the camera, very much with his video set up, and I think he trusted the actors. There wasn’t a lot of interaction. He was very relaxed, very easy, and everyone did their job. I think he had a little more money on this, so he was using the camera more than he did on the first one, and using the locations more. The hotel was an incredible set – every square inch of it. He’s a very cheery person, he’s not a brooder, and he delights in actors, and loves to be surprised, and he is very supportive. That’s a big deal for me, because most everyone’s talent gets unlocked with a sense of confidence, and he creates a situation, I think, where everyone feels this great sense of support and confidence.

 

Q: Could you sum up the experience of making this film?

 

A: It was short, and I’m kind of used to being the central character in my movies, so it was a bit funny being just one of five stories in this, and the shorthand of that. There just wasn’t space in the two hours to be following out everyone’s thoughts and emotions. It’s very specific storytelling, but as I said, I just love being in India, so for me it was great hanging out, especially in Jaipur – what a beautiful city! I had a wonderful time there. At any one time, most of the cast was in the hotel, hanging out, or just wandering around the city, so it actually was a very relaxed time. It was certainly not a pressured three or four weeks, or whatever it was that I was there. I knew it was going to be, because clearly with the script I wasn’t going to be needed every day. I had been in Rajasthan before, but it was nice to have the time to explore a little bit. I had a driver there, an assistant, who came from Udaipur, so he was really showing me wonderful places that most people didn’t know – very secluded temples and tribal situations – he’d started a school for tribal people there, so we visited that, and spent time there, and then the King of Udaipur, we spent time with him. It was just a lovely experience.

 

Q: Can you be a little bit more anonymous there than, say, when you are at home in the States?

 

A: Oh well in India, it’s much easier, of course, but I move very simply anyhow – I don’t move around with bodyguards. I put my hat on and keep moving (laughs). It’s not a problem. But India is my second home, and maybe even my first home in some ways, so I’m very comfortable there.

 

Q: One of your first films was Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. How does it feel to look back on that?

 

A: I mean, we were all trying to figure it out. That was his second movie and it was my first movie, and I don’t think Sam [Shepard] had ever been on film before. I think we were all just trying to figure it out as we were making it, in Canada. It was a good experience, it was a frustrating experience, it was an extraordinary experience, it was challenging, but again, it had that kind of energy where we were all trying to figure out what we were doing. I think I know a little more today, and Terry certainly does, but there was a great sense of freshness there. I think we all felt we were in new territory. It certainly was new to us, whatever it was, so it was very alive.

 

Q: Do you enjoy the acting in the same way as you did when you were starting out? Or does it change over time?

 

A: I probably enjoy acting more now. I think it may be easier now. I don’t know if that’s really true, but I trust the process more now. Maybe I trust myself more, so it’s just easy in the sense that there’s not a lot of anxiety around it, and I enjoy working with people. I like quiet time as well, but I do like projects, and I like working with people, and it brings out the best in people when they work together.

 

Q: Collaboration is something that is sometimes overlooked in the director-centric way that we look at filmmaking. Is that important for you?

 

A: Oh yeah, totally, and the director doesn’t do it all. He directs. But a good director creates a situation where everyone does their best, or even exceeds what they thought they could do.

 

Q: What draws you to a project? Director? Script? Part?

 

A: It’s all of the above. Certainly there’s no point in doing a film if the director doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s pointless. Even with a great script, it doesn’t make any sense, but also there have been great directors who have asked me to do things when I just didn’t believe in the scripts, so I didn’t do them. There’s this whole alchemy to it– there’s a certain poetry to making a decision. You get all the information you can and then you let your gut speak to you.

 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is out on Digital HD 22nd June and on Blu-ray and DVD from 29th June. It can be purchased online HERE.

Other film news

From Green Room to Misery: The Best Claustrophobic Thrillers

Most film fans will admit to reveling in the glory of siege thrillers. Who doesn’t somewhat sadistically enjoy sitting comfortably, watching those on screen suffer the horrific, claustrophobic stuff of nightmares? In homage to all films that have incidentally saved on expensive production costs by filming the entire movie in (mostly) one setting, we pay tribute to the newly crowned leader of said genre - Green Room out on Blu-ray and DVD September 19. We’ve listed some of the most genius, gripping films to get you in the mood. Ready your inner Houdini, here are the top ten movies all claustrophobes should give a wide berth.

Saul Bass: 20 Iconic Film Posters (book review)

Saul Bass: 20 Iconic Film Posters book review By Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham Laurence King Publishing September 2016, £19.95 You know when you're looking at a Saul Bass design (or someone ripping him off). The deceptively simple style, the direct focus, the twisted shapes, the solid colours, the striking fonts, the fact that you've been staring at it for way too long as the story within creeps out to greet you... Yes, this is the work of a master.

Check out the trailer for Batman: The Killing Joke here!

Starring Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, Batman: The Killing Joke arrives on Blu-rayTM, DVD & Steelbook on August 8, is available on EST from July 26 and comes to Vue Cinemas for one night only July 25.

Tale of Tales: Great cinematic fairytales without happy endings

Tale of Tales tells the story of a bitter quest of a Queen, two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, and a King that marries his daughter off to an ogre. These tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile and stars Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Vincent Cassell, and Toby Jones

Check out this incredible infographic all about THE REVENANT!

With the Best Picture Oscar winning modern masterpiece The Revenant arriving on DVD and Blu-ray from June 6th, now's a perfect time to look at the film's facts and figures in a fantastic infographic.

GoT a good thing going: Fan favourite Game of Thrones characters revealed!

With the added bonus of the show now being ahead of its source material, nobody knows exactly what lies ahead. Even though we’ve loved and lost many of our favourite characters, we wanted to find out who GoT fans will be getting behind this season. Casino Bonus Tips have conducted a survey of fans to find out which characters they are rooting for. We’ve grouped the top five below, along with why you should keep an eye on them in season six.

Creed: The Rocky legacy by the numbers

As the Oscar nominated Rocky sequel Creed steps out of the ring and to Blu-ray everywhere, let's take a look at the modern classic's stats by the numbers...

The Ninth Configuration

Catch 22 meets Shutter Island, William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration is as deranged and as brilliant as that mash-up promises.

Power up! The best game to film adaptations!

Movies based on video games are always action packed with great characters that are already loved due to their game counterparts! Over the years all types of video games have been brought to the big screen, and to celebrate Ratchet & Clank coming in to cinemas on April 29th, we take a look at some of the best game to film adaptations.

EXCLUSIVE: Watch a clip from Fargo Year 2

Fargo: Year 2 is out now on Digital HD and on DVD from 25th April, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. To celebrate the release, we've got an exclusive "Dancing" scene clip from the brilliantly thrilling and darkly funny offshoot of the Coen Brothers' Oscar winning film classic.

Watch the first official, full length JASON BOURNE trailer here!

JASON BOURNE sees original actor and director, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, return to the iconic series they created along with Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones. Check out the first official, full length trailer here!

Joy: The most famous female inventions in entrepreneurial history!

JOY is available on Digital HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD from April 25, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. To celebrate the release, we reveal the most famous female inventions in entrepreneurial history!

Check out the TRAILER for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story HERE!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is the first film in the new series of standalone Star Wars movies from Lucasfilm. It tells the story of how a group of unlikely heroes unite to undertake a daring and seemingly impossible mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

Always the Bridesmaid... Kristen Wiig's most underrated performances

Her latest role in Welcome to Me sees her as Alice, an extraordinary woman who after winning the lottery, buys her own TV talk show to broadcast her dirty laundry as both a form of exhibitionism and a platform to share her peculiar views on everything from nutrition to relationships to neutering pets. As her national audience rapidly grows, her family, friends and colleagues all become increasingly entangled in Alice's show.

From Goodfellas to Black Mass, cinema's heaviest hitting true crime films

To celebrate the release of Black Mass on Blu-ray and DVD on March 21st and on Digital HD March 19, we take a look at a selection of films based on crime stories.

From Brooklyn to The Graduate: Love triangles on film

Love triangles are the stuff of Hollywood legend, with many a classic film basing its premise on the agonising choice between two very different lovers. The wonderfully romantic BROOKLYNperfectly portrays the dilemma of choosing between two futures, with standout performances from the three young leads (Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson) – so, to celebrate its release on EST, Blu-ray and DVD on the 29thFeb, we’re taking a look at some of the other greatest love triangles on film...

The best of Benicio: Del Toro's most iconic performances

His latest performance as the shady Columbian operative known only as Alejandro in SICARIO (out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms NOW) is nominated for a Supporting Actor BAFTA, yet controversially snubbed by the Academy this year amongst a number of non-white omissions. Never mind the Academy, let’s take a look at some of Del Toro’s most impressive performances to date...

Moral ambiguity in the movies: Modern cinema's greatest anti-heroes

In celebration of Sicario being released on Blue-ray, DVD, and digital platforms from February 1st, 2016 courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment we honour Benicio Del Toro’s performance as the ethically questionable Alejandro by examining other characters that fall into the realm of moral ambiguity...

Seperating the Banderas from the rest: The best roles of Antonio Banderas

A man of many talents, Antonio Banderas is best known for his suave Hispanic charm. From his early collaborations with acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, Banderas then broke into Hollywood in the early 1990s despite at first having to learn his lines phonetically. After a string of small but strong performances in the likes of Philadelphia and Interview With A Vampire, he began to be cast in starring roles that demonstrated his incredible skill-set and made him one of the most unique actors in the world.

Oscars 2016: Here's the full list of nominations for the 88th Academy Awards

The Revenant is leading the pack at the 88th Academy Awards, having scooped the most nominations of the year with an impressive dozen. The period revenge drama is closely followed by Mad Max: Fury Road (10).

Find Your Cinema

Cinemas Online supply showtimes for every cinema in the UK. To find out what's playing near you and to register for weekly showtimes updates from your local cinema, just enter your postcode:

Advertisement : content continues below
Advertisement : content continues below
Advertisement

| Privacy Policy | Contact Cinemas Online