[Laughs] Yeah, it’s an original print too. Obviously, I’m very excited that you’re reuniting with Richard Gere for your next film, Oh, Canada. We’ve barely seen him on screen in the last handful of years, so it’s great to see you back together. What made this the right project for you to reunite on?
I wanted to do a film about dying. My friend Russell Banks had died and he had written a book about dying. He wrote the book before he got sick, and I wanted to adapt that book. So, then you start thinking about what actors and I have to put a few things together: I have to get actors who say yes, and I have to get them to work for nothing and I have to have them available this year.
So, I send De Niro a message saying, “Bob, I’ve written a script. I think I want you to do it on three conditions. We’re not going to pay you anything, you have to do it this year, and you have to give me an answer in a week. If not, I won’t send it to you.” And Bob calls me back and says, “Don’t send it to me. I’m booked. I’m booked.” [Laughs]
But I knew that Richard, I could do that to. Just like I did to Oscar and Ethan and Joel. I knew he would say yes, and I knew it would be right. And I like the kind of top spin of doing the dying gigolo, the emaciated man in the wheelchair, bald and sick, and trying to get his life straight.
Now I have to cast a younger version of him. So there’ll be two characters. When you package these kinds of films, you have to keep in mind a little bit of the buzz, what I call the top spin. Bret Easton Ellis said to me the other day, “I was told that you’re doing a remake of American Gigolo.” I said, “I’m not, but if they want to think that and it can help me get money, they can think that.” [Laughs]