This Co-Star Called Richard Gere a "Brick Wall"
Their chemistry was great onscreen, but not so much off.
Audiences couldn't get enough of the romance in An Officer and a Gentleman when it hit theaters in 1982, but behind the scenes, the film's two leads were far from lovey-dovey with one another. Debra Winger and Richard Gere did not get along on the movie's set, and Winger did not have kind things to say about her co-star after it was all over. That said, in the years that have passed since the film came out, the actors were able to move past their issues and even joke about the tension they once had between them. Read on to find out more about this Hollywood feud.
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Winger called Gere a "brick wall."
It's been widely reported that Winger said Gere was like a "brick wall" to work with.
"The only remarks that ever made print were those that ruffled a few feathers," Winger told The Guardian of their pairing in 2002.
Gere and Winger's co-star Louis Gossett Jr. confirmed the friction between them in his book, An Actor and a Gentleman. "The onscreen chemistry between the two of them was terrific, but it was a different story once the camera was turned off," he wrote (via ABC News). They couldn't have stayed farther apart from each other."
Winger has said Gere wasn't to blame for all the problems she had on the film.
During a 2018 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Winger shared that the Officer and a Gentleman set wasn't her favorite to work on, but not because of Gere.
"When pigs are involved, when there are bad men running the show, they tend to take the fun out of it," she explained. "Officer and a Gentleman wasn't so much the director [Taylor Hackford], but we had bad men running the show and so it kind of dirties the water."
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She and Gere have joked about their past.
Winger has said on more than on occasion that she and Gere are on good terms now and have a sense of humor about their past tension.
"I run in to Richard Gere quite a lot and he half jokes: 'Are you still saying terrible things about me?'" she told The Guardian. "We had a moment in our life which was not good, but everyone has to get it into perspective."
The actor shared a similar anecdote on Watch What Happens Live. "I did run into him lately, about a year ago at the Guggenheim," Winger said. "He said, 'Do you still say [expletive] things about me?' And I said, 'I never said [expletive] things about you,' which I probably did, but I didn't mean 'em. And so then we laughed."
Gere has praised Winger's talent.
In 2011, Gere received a lifetime achievement award at the Rome Film Festival, which was presented to him by Winger. She thanked him for "all his kindnesses over the years" and called him a "great human citizen of the world."
Gere mentioned the award and their reunion in an interview with Film Festival Traveler in 2012. "I hadn't seen her in a long, long time. It was nice to see her there," he said.
He also complimented her as an actor. "She has a really interesting quality," he said. "It's very hard to be as kind of open and unguarded and nice. You know, a nice person and kind of a genuine person and true heart on camera. That's not an easy thing to do. She's able to pull that off. I could never be that way. I was too complicated. There were too many things going on. Just the straightforward presence is an extremely difficult thing to do."
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