{short description of image} Best Man Richard Gere

Runaway Bride sees the long-awaited return of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, together for the first time since Pretty Woman. Can they re-create the romantic magic of their first movie? We talked to Richard (and, in the issue, director Garry Marshall)…

From the November 1999
Film Review
TEXT IAN SPELLING

Richard Gere, Julia Roberts and Garry Marshall wanted to work together again – really. The trio scored with Pretty Woman and figured something would eventually come along to reunite them. Suddenly, a decade had passed... Every so often, the rumour mill went into overdrive, suggesting that Roberts and Gere would re-team for this and that. One rumour finally panned out: the shamelessly feel-good romantic comedy Runaway Bride opened this past summer and continues to draw American movie-goers, running away with nearly $150 million to date.

“The script had been around for about 10 years, with various permutations of actors and actresses involved. They offered me the script,” recalls Gere. “It wasn’t at all what I was thinking about. I was doing political things at the time. Then it came again and I read it straight through, and I couldn’t think of a reason not to do it. I thought whether or not I did it, Julia should do it. The part was perfect for her. Perfect. I could see her in it much more clearly than I could see myself in my role. I called her and said just that.

“It’s a real 1940s romantic comedy. The characters are combative, smart and sharp. Julia said, ‘I think I’ve read that before, but let me read it again.’ She read it and responded. We both responded to it. We met in my office and like good professionals, we had our list of directors out. We started laughing and said, ‘Garry.’ We called him right there, from my office. He said, ‘Fabulous. Send it over.’ Two days later we were all making the movie.”

Runaway Bride stars Roberts as the title character, Maggie Carpenter, a woman with a habit of falling in love, getting engaged and leaving her prospective husbands at the altar. When big city newspaper columnist Ike Graham (Gere) gets wind of the story, he pens a nasty story, doesn’t check his facts and loses his job because of it. Unemployed Ike then heads to bucolic Maryland to get the real story about Maggie for a proposed magazine feature. And once there, he meets Maggie, her friends, family and former beaus. Maggie, of course, doesn’t exactly like Ike, (and the feeling’s mutual), but – this is a movie, after all – that changes soon enough.

As for Gere and Roberts, they got on swimmingly. “It was a pleasure,” Gere says. “Julia and I know how to do this kind of thing. We’ve been friends a long time. When we did the first read-through it was so clear. We were smiling at each other. We knew how to do it. We were on solid ground right from the beginning. That made it easy for Garry and for everyone else. We could try a lot of things and we knew we could always go back if it didn’t work.”

Image copyright: Buena Vista International. Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 1999. Not for reproduction.
Runaway Bride opens on Oct 8 in the UK.
Full feature and review in this issue of Film Review


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