American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman and Chicago are just a few some of the beloved films that wouldn't have the effect it did had it not included the talented and charismatic Richard Gere.
For two decades, Gere was one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood and although he humbly denied it, he was assigned the status of a sex symbol by women everywhere.
But for an actor who consistently delivered hit after hit at the box office, it's surprising that in the recent years we haven't seen Gere topline a feature film. The 67-year-old actor hasn't landed a leading role in a mainstream film since his 2008 portrayal of Dr. Paul Flanner in Nights in Rodanthe, based on a novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks.
Gere has definitely not retired from acting as he's been starring in Indie flicks, however it's been almost ten years since we last saw the star in a Hollywood blockbuster. Something does not add up and thankfully he finally broke his silence to explain why he's been noticeably absent from the big screen and you'd never guess the reason why.
Gere sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter and revealed that China is the reason why he hasn't made an appearance on the big screen in what seems like forever.
"There are definitely movies that I can't be in because the Chinese will say, "˜Not with him,'" Gere explained.
Click on the next page to find out how China has pushed Hollywood directors to dump Gere.
Gere believes that his strong criticism of China's invasion of Tibet and his friendship with the Dalai Lama has cost him roles in major movies.
The Pretty Woman star, who is a practising Tibetan Buddhist, has been very vocal about the "horrendous human rights situation" China has inflicted on Tibet and has been given a lifelong ban from entering the country after he went off script to voice his opinion during the 1993 Academy Awards.
"I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese," the actor said.
Since China finances a big part of Hollywood, casting agents and producers of big budget movies aren't left with many options but to drop Gere.
"There was something I was going do with a Chinese director, and two weeks before we were going to shoot, he called saying, "˜Sorry, I can't do it,'" explained Gere. "We had a secret phone call on a protected line. If I had worked with this director, he, his family would never have been allowed to leave the country ever again, and he would never work."
Despite all the backlash, there's a silver lining.
Gere isn't too bothered by his career stall, he now takes on smaller roles in indie films and still has all his earnings from his previous work to keep him afloat. "I'm not interested in playing the wizened Jedi in your tentpole," he said.
"I was successful enough in the last three decades that I can afford to do these [smaller films] now." As for China, he says "the feeling is mutual."
The actor made a return to the screen with two recent movies - The Dinner and Norman, co-starring Michael Sheen and Steve Buscemi.
What's your favorite Richard Gere film? Let us know in the comments!