Richard Gere Open to Film to Counter Islamophobia After 'Innocence of Muslims' Controversy

Richard Gere Arbitrage - H 2012

The star also says he is eyeing the Gulf region for a possible future project.

ABU DHABI -- Richard Gere is eyeing the Middle East as the backdrop for his next movie project.

Gere, who is in town promoting Arbitrage, the opening film of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, said he saw the possibility of shooting some of his next feature in the United Arab Emirates.

STORY: Richard Gere, Nate Parker, Nicholas Jarecki Help Open Abu Dhabi Film Festival

“It would be very appropriate,” he said, without divulging any more details.

Said Gere, who was last in the UAE four years ago, "I was talking to a couple of people last night about the possibility of shooting part of a movie that I’m working on here."

The actor, 63, told journalists he was open to shooting any movie that helped present Muslims in a more positive light after the damage caused by Innocence of Muslims. That movie has triggered rioting and violence across the Muslim world.

"If there was a good script that was presenting the Arab world, the world of Islam, the culture of Islam, then, yes of course I would be interested," Gere said.

Arbitrage director Nicholas Jarecki said he was open to making his next feature in the Gulf states too.

Gere heaped praise on Jarecki for writing such a character-based script.

In the film, Gere plays Robert Miller, a crooked New York hedge-fund magnate trying to sell his troubled empire to a bank. The psychological thriller has grossed more than $6 million at the U.S. box office in the past three weeks.

Gere lamented that today’s Hollywood does not make the kind of character-driven movies it used to in the 1970s and '80s, "which reflect the times that we are living in. ... Most young filmmakers don’t write movies like this because it’s about people."

Added Jarecki, 33, “The theme we tried for is, will you give up the power that you love to hang on to your last shred of humanity?”

Also on the panel at festival headquarters Emirates Palace hotel were Arbitrage co-star Nate Parker and executive producer Mohammed Al Turki.

Parker noted that the film makes the viewer question his own morality.

The festival, which has returned to Emirates Palace after a stint last year at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, runs Oct. 12 to 20. It will have eight world premieres, 81 feature films, 62 narrative films and 19 documentaries.