Feature by: Jack Foley
WOULD you be unfaithful? Yes? No? Maybe? It is something that
is impossible to deny. People may claim that they could remain
faithful - but what if temptation was put in your path. What if,
what if, what if
For Richard Gere, who plays the wronged husband in Adrian Lynes
latest sex thriller Unfaithful, the issue is not as simple as
a mere yes or no. Speaking at a press conference at Londons
Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday, June 5, the actor said that even
if you play by the rules, the universe has its own rules
and they will screw you up every time.
It is an answer which certainly applies to Diane Lanes character
in the movie. She is happily married, she has a good sex life;
so why would she risk it all after a chance encounter with Olivier
Martinezs mysterious French stranger.
Director Lyne suggests it is because it creates more drama and
because, occasionally, it happens.
"I always wanted them to have a nice place, for them to
be happy together and for the sex to be good, so that there would
be no possible reason for her to have an affair.
"There was a lot of discussion with the studio at the
beginning about making this about a marriage that wasn't working
and I thought, well, wheres the drama in that? If it was
a crappy marriage and the sex was no good, of course she should
have an affair; but what was more interesting was that she had
no possible reason for it."
It is a view shared by Lane who feels that one of the larger
issues the film touches on is the betrayal of trust
which takes place as a result of her characters actions.
On-screen, it makes for compelling viewing, provoking an intriguing
moral debate which should certainly fuel many a conversation long
after the final reel. Not convinced? Then consider this anecdote
"Maybe Im a hopeless romantic but Ive always
thought that you could love somebody for two minutes," he
said. "Literally, you could meet someone for two minutes
and be hopelessly in love with them and then, bang, theyre
"And I think this was a little bit like that, when she
sees him at the top of those steps with those books and her head
is saying dont even think about going up there
but she does. I think a lot of people would have done the same
and I dont necessarily think that makes them bad people."
In Lanes case, of course, it probably helps that the
person in question looks like Martinez - a point quickly seized
upon by one of the female journalists present - but it certainly
opens the door to several repercussions; none of which lead
to a happy ending.
Unfaithful does not disappoint - although it is at this point
that those who have not yet seen the movie should stop reading.
Lanes affair is discovered by Gere who, in turn, finds
and confronts Martinez; a meeting which forces Gere to confront
a darker, perhaps unknown, side to his character. For Gere,
it is these actions which pose another of the movies many
He maintains that at the beginning of the movie, the people
portray a lack self knowledge about their shadow sides;
they dont know how far they can go out of control.
"These people understand the depths of possibilities
inside them by the end of the film, therefore that self knowledge
relates to empathy for each other which obviously is the basis
for intimacy, real intimacy, and therefore you get forgiveness.
"They are both able to forgive each other because they
know whats inside themselves and, in a larger context,
I found it interesting that they will probably emerge as better
citizens because they will understand people who are out of
Whether this newfound understanding can form the basis for a
continued relationship is yet another of the movies talking
points - and one which, thankfully, the audience is left to
decide for itself.
The ending of the film is deliberately ambiguous even though
it was not the one the studio had initially rooted for. As Lyne
points out, the studio wanted some form of closure,
while test audiences preferred the ambiguity of what remains.
"It just seemed a lot more interesting to leave it up
to the audience," he added. "I tried to make the other
ending work but I felt the present conclusion created the potential
for more discussion at the end, which I always like."
Whether he has succeeded is something only the audience can
decide, but judging by the reaction the film has already had
in the United States, he has got tongues wagging. Which brings
us to the original question? Would you be unfaithful, given
the opportunity? Answers on a postcard.