Richard Gere Says He Isn’t in Big Movies Anymore Because China Doesn’t Like Him

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There’s a reason Richard Gere is sticking to indie fare these days: He has to. After spending years as one of Hollywood’s most famous leading men, he’s been sidelined from bigger studio projects, and he says it’s because of his stance on Tibet. “There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him,’” Gere told The Hollywood Reporter. “I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese.”

China is a power player in Hollywood — “You Can’t Make Movies Without China,” The Wall Street Journal declared this week — with the country’s $6.6 billion box-office total last year second only to the United States’. With China’s tight hold on big studio’s purse strings, Gere is now busy with two small budget features: Sony Pictures Classics’ Norman and the Orchard’s The Dinner. The Pretty Woman star says he’s not itching for big blockbusters anyway — first of all he has enough money (“Page Six” reported he’s worth an estimated $45 million), and second of all, in his words, “I’m not interested in playing the wizened Jedi in your tentpole.” So there you have it.