Reporting Terri Lee Sylvester
HOLLYWOOD (WWJ) – Imagine writing the script for your very first feature film and landing as your lead character one of Hollywood’s most powerful leading men. Sounds almost like a made-for-TV movie, doesn’t it? Well in this instance, it’s every bit a true story. Because that’s exactly what happened to first-time director Nicholas Jarecki.
Jarecki makes his feature film directorial debut with “Arbitrage,” starring none other than Hollywood icon Richard Gere as hedge fund magnate Robert Miller.
“He said early on, I’d like to be working on this from the time the first assistant’s desk is wheeled in, and he was a man of his word,” Jarecki said of Gere.
And if landing Gere in your first feature film isn’t amazing enough, Jarecki also landed Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon to star as Miller’s wife Ellen.
“Right away, she had some ideas for the character; how she could play the character, and I didn’t really have the movie together at that point,” Jarecki told me about Sarandon. “She said, well you know I’m into it, so when you get a little further along … call me back and let’s start working.”
Also starring in Arbitrage are actress Brit Marling as Brooke, Miller’s daughter and heir-apparent; Laetitia Casta as French art dealer Julie Côte, Miller’s mistress; Nate Parker as Jimmy Grant, a face from Miller’s past; and Tim Roth as NYPD Detective Michael Bryer.
When I initially received the invitation to see Arbitrage, it didn’t take long for me to accept. Gere is one of my all-time favorite actors, so I wanted to see the movie for a number of reasons, but my number one reason was to see Gere’s work again. And from the moment he appeared on screen, I was mesmerized. And that’s undoubtedly why Gere was cast in – and is perfect – for the role.
“Richard is such a talented actor with an accomplished body of work and he comes to any project with substance and significance,” producer Laura Bickford says of Gere. “In this role, he puts on the suit and immediately embodies this character, but as he (Gere) told Nick (Jarecki) from their first meeting, he wanted to explore the dark side underneath that glossy exterior. He has the same focus, charisma, passion and drive as Miller, and we get a sense of who Robert is just by the way Richard carries himself. And of course everybody knows” says Bickford, “that Richard has the best ‘walk’ in the business.”
As it turned out, Gere’s “walk,” his “talk” and everything else he brought to the role makes “Arbitrage” a definite “must see”. Those things, along with an interesting and compelling script will keep you guessing about what’s going to happen next. Jarecki’s script is tightly written, with enough intrigue along the way that even the ending is a surprise.
One side note: Jarecki’s interest in Wall Street stems from his one-time employment in the commodities industry. His mother, native Detroiter Marjorie Heidsieck, moved to New York to work as a commodities trader. To help fuel his career in filmmaking, Jarecki worked on Wall Street and used his earnings to produce films and music videos.
Next up for Jarecki: a detective story that focuses on the electric vehicle industry.
View the Arbitrage trailer and official website here and I’ll see you at the movies!
Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee