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AUTUMN IN NEW YORK

Production Notes

From the beginning the filmmakers wanted to be honest about the generation gap between Will Keane and Charlotte Fielding, while making it clear that their feelings for one another transcend it. "At first, Will and Charlotte clearly are seen as an older man dating a younger woman," admits director Joan Chen, "but then it stops mattering. It's just love they are experiencing, it has nothing to do with gender or age. It's something that touches your soul and tests what you are capable of whether you are 20 or 45."

Adds producer Amy Robinson: "The film confronts a real issue that exists in the world ' older men, especially successful bachelors like Will Keane, are often attracted to younger women. But what happens to these two people is unconventional."

Robinson liked the fact that rather than coyly ignore the main characters' age disparity, the script highlighted the differences that produce tension ' and sparks ' in Will and Charlotte's relationship. "What was interesting is that all the people who read the script, men and women, young people and middle-aged people, had a different view-point on the characters. But everyone was moved by their love story," observes Robinson.

All classic love stories have at their center a powerful pairing of opposites ' not just a man and a woman, but two people with strongly magnetic personalities that can repel as fiercely as they attract. To capture the excitement and complications of the relationship in Autumn in New York, the filmmakers knew they needed a couple who would be totally unexpected yet completely compatible.

"Richard and Winona had so much chemistry that it often felt like they weren't even part of a Hollywood movie. It feels like we, the audience, are voyeurs watching a real relationship. The intimacy is truly captured," notes producer Gary Lucchesi.

Gere takes on the role of a Will Keane, a man who appears on his handsome, seductive surface to have it all. Keane is wealthy, a successful Downtown New York chef and, most of all, adored by all types of women. He seems like the last guy on earth who would let himself get emotional over a 21-year-old beauty.

Yet something about the predictability of his life has begun to eat away at him. "Will is like a lot of people who look at relationships and know exactly what's going to happen to them ' how they're going to begin and how they're going to end," explains Gere. "He believes there's always an inevitable endpoint to things. So when he meets a young woman who believes in that even more strongly than he does, it makes him take a deeper look. And therein lies the heart of the film."

"Will Keane is at this incredible juncture in his life and he has become tired of the repetition. He seems upbeat and like he has everything a guy could want, but he senses that something is lacking," explains Joan Chen. "When he meets Charlotte he is totally surprised because he didn't know he was capable of this kind of extraordinary love. Richard really captures the nature of their romance, which is very gentle, filled with lots of laughter and fun."

"Richard Gere was the only guy for this role," adds Amy Robinson. "He's a real New Yorker. He's a wonderful actor who makes the character his own ' a relaxed, charismatic guy who has an underlying emotional intensity."

Gere's Will Keane is not only a master of seduction, but of cooking. He is one of New York's hottest rising chefs. For Gere, moving through the kitchen with authority was a new and enlightening experience. "I learned to be a very good chopper," he says. "There's a real Zen quality to chopping. Of course the truth is, I cannot cook. It looks like I know what I'm doing, but I think there's great danger in this. It raises expectations which I don't think I can fulfill in real l

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