Last night we ate dinner next to Richard Gere. It was prior to a screening of I’m Not There, a film about Bob Dylan starring six different actors, including Cate Blanchett, in seven different life phases. Gere plays the oldest Dylan. Whatever. The point is Richard — we call him Richard now — is the silverest of silver foxes, and after a while, we forgot all about the Dalai Lama stuff and the, you know, hamster thing and fell straight in love.
1. Richard is not a “tech” guy.
He has an iPod but only uses it for research purposes. “I don’t like those things in my ears,” he said. “I don’t like headphones. I think music sounds better without headphones.” Also, we saw him pull an old-school silver Motorola flip phone out of his pocket. He doesn’t have a BlackBerry or even a Razr!
2. Richard is a cowboy.
Not long after he sat down next to us he propped his elbow on the table, raised his index finger, and smiled at Todd Haynes. “You never asked me if I rode a horse,” he said. Haynes laughed. “It was like a week into it, and he was riding the horse everywhere and he turned to me, and he was like, ‘Pretty good I ride a horse, huh?’”
3. Richard is generous.
“How is that?” he asked New York, gesturing to our scallops. Not amazing. “Try one of these,” he motioned to his ravioli. Don’t mind if we do! They tasted like pumpkin pie. “I like it,” he said. Plus, Haynes brought a movie soundtrack especially for Richard, who gave it to another dinner guest.
4. Richard is both father figure and guy pal.
Fourteen-year-old Dylan, actor Marcus Carl Franklin, said that during filming Richard took him under his wing. “Well, I hadn’t played this song ‘Walking Down the Line,’” he said. “No one had taught me. But I was freaking out ‘cause Todd wanted me to know the song and, you know, you got to please the director. But Richard Gere knew the song, and he just taught me in like two minutes. And I was like, That was really awesome.”
“You got a girlfriend?” Gere asked Franklin.
“You working on it?”
5. Richard loves media attention.
On the red carpet after dinner Richard put on a show, cracking jokes and taking control of one journalist’s video camera. He was so boisterous he distracted Haynes from an interview. “Richard Gere,” he shook his head. “It’s all about him. All about him.” —Amy Odell
Related: ‘I’m Not There’: The First of Our Seven Reactions [New York]