Why Richard Gere decided to do family film “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale”

USA Today by Cindy Clark, 9/25/10– In this Richard Gere dog film, he stars as Professor Parker Wilson in Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark), which is based on a true Japanese story of canine loyalty. It also marks the first family-friendly film for the 61-year-old actor.

“My agent sent me the script…I don’t normally do G-rated movies, but I read the script and I was incredibly moved by it,” he says. “I have been going to Japan since I was in my 20s. I was surprised when I got this script and I didn’t know the story.”

“I said I’d be happy to do this, but I’d need to produce this as well. The story is very straightforward, almost like a fable,” Richard elaborated.

Film for his Son

Gere also liked the idea of doing a film that son Homer, 10, could enjoy. “There’s nothing I do that doesn’t factor him in,” says Gere. “He’s the joy in my life.” Homer’s mom is Gere’s wife, actress Carey Lowell.

“He’s had this wonderful dog since he was a child.  We’ve had the dog since the dog was a puppy,” Gere says of their 8-year-old “kind of a Border Collie crossed with a Corgi” named Billie, after jazz singer Billie Holliday.

The dog in the film, Hachi, is an Akita that Professor Wilson finds as a puppy abandoned at a train station. After a fruitless search for the dog’s owner, Wilson adopts the dog, making it part of the family.

“We thought we were making a children’s movie…but it’s maybe a little too intense for young kids,” says Gere of the tearjerker. “Dealing with very big subjects and very adult stuff.”

This Richard Gere dog film was made possible because of Hachi’s true, impeccable story. Without speaking to Gere in such a powerful way, our Hachi film may never have been launched.