Richard Gere Broke Christopher Reeve’s Heart by Stealing His One Coveted Role Despite Superman Star Gifting Him a Movie Years Back

Reeve also auditioned for the lead role in "Pretty Woman," but it ended up going to Gere again.

Richard Gere Broke Christopher Reeve’s Heart by Stealing His One Coveted Role Despite Superman Star Gifting Him a Movie Years Back


  • Christopher Reeve became a defining actor for his portrayal of Superman in the 1978 film.
  • His performance set a benchmark for future actors in the role.
  • Due to his connection with the character, Reeve was conscious of not taking roles that might impact how people perceive Superman.

There are plenty of heroes whose careers are defined by specific movies. From Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman to Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Hollywood is filled with stars who are always associated with that one movie despite many acting credits. However, only a few gems in the industry can claim to have defined their roles. In that regard, Christopher Reeve’s name comes first to the mind.

Christopher Reeve in Superman (1978)
Christopher Reeve in Superman (1978).

Superman has been brought to life on the big screen and television by countless actors, but Reeve remains the fan-favorite Clark Kent and his portrayal is viewed as a benchmark to this day, leading to every actor who ever dons the Red cape being compared to him. But with great power comes great responsibility and repercussions. The iconic actor’s stint as Kal-El impacted his decision concerning other roles.

Read more: “I have 2,500 hours and a commercial license”: Despite Lacking Henry Cavill’s Greek God Physique, Christopher Reeve Made His Superman Believable With His Real Life Skill

How Christopher Reeve’s Decision to Turn Down a Role Transformed Richard Gere’s Career

Christopher Reeve rose to stardom after his first performance as the DC Comics legendary superhero in the 1978 hit Superman. His on-screen action as the son of scientist Jor-El didn’t just stop with one film. In total, he went on to star in four Superman movies.

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Christopher Reeve Superman
Christopher Reeve as Superman.

The connection he built with the role also supposedly made him conscious of not taking any roles that might influence how people perceive his best-known character. Further, the popularity of Superman also impacted the decision-making of some producers. He recalled in his memoir, Still Me, “some producers would not cast me because I had played Superman, others cast me because I had.”

One of the most prominent movies that Reeve turned down was, American Gigolo. He was offered a paycheck of $1 million to lead the 1980 crime mystery (via IMDb). But the star actor couldn’t accept the offer as he wanted time to prepare (via MovieMaker).

The role eventually went to the relatively less famous actor, Richard GereAmerican Gigolo became a big success, both critically and financially, and established Gere as a s-x symbol of the 80s.


Read more: “I’m going to call the police”: Christopher Reeve Had to Be Threatened to Leave Smallville Set After Superman Star’s Guest Appearance

Richard Gere Went on to Snatch a Huge Role From Christopher Reeve

Almost a decade later, plans for Pretty Woman were being drawn up, and it’s understood Reeve was keen to lead the project. The Superman star even auditioned for the part of rich entrepreneur Edward Lewis, who falls for Vivian (Julia Roberts), a prostitute.

Julia Roberts And Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (1990)
Julia Roberts And Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (1990).

However, the producers eventually went on to cast Gere. As we all know, Pretty Woman went on to become a huge hit at the box office and is now considered one of the best romantic comedies of all time.

Reeve went on to star in multiple movies and television series before his acting career abruptly ended following an accident in 1995. After being thrown from a horse he was paralyzed from the shoulders down. The legendary actor passed away in 2004, but he is still fondly remembered for making millions fall in love with Superman.

Read more: “I ripped the pages in half”: Superman Star Christopher Reeve Felt Humiliated During ‘Pretty Woman’ Audition, “Stalked out of the room” After Insulting Director

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Written by Vishal

An experienced content writer, Vishal juggles his time between analyzing players on the pitch and stars on the big screen.