Now that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is full up with its long-term residents, co-managers Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) and Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) have a dream of expansion, and they’ve found just the place: “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” With plans underway, Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) venture into the Jaipur workforce, wondering where their regular breakfast dates will lead. Meanwhile, Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) navigate the swirling waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two very eligible suitors, and recent arrival Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) finds a muse in Sonny’s mother, Mrs. Kapoor (Lillete Dubey) for his next novel.
As his marriage to Sunaina (Tina Desai), the love of his life, quickly approaches, Sonny finds his plans for the new hotel making more claims on his time than he has available. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is Muriel, the keeper of everyone’s secrets. As the big day nears, family and guests alike find themselves swept up in the irresistible intoxication of an Indian wedding.
The latest arrival at the Marigold Hotel is an alluring mystery– the American Guy Chambers who might or might not be the key to Sonny’s dreams, but is definitely about to shake things up one way or the other. The role brings the Golden Globe® winning actor Richard Gere into the ensemble. Gere, who plays Guy Chambers, found the invitation to be in the film irresistible. “I thought the first film was terrific,” he says. “You see fewer and fewer films about the real dilemmas of our lives, so it was a rare thing. And then to see such a really good script the second time around; that doesn’t happen all that often. John and Ollie developed something wonderful … and it’s the most extraordinary cast to bang heads with.”
Gere couldn’t resist joining the crew. “I’m always happy to do anything in India,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to work with John Madden and then of course, there was this cast. It’s widely accepted that Judi and Maggie are royalty in the film industry. They’re such appealing individuals to see up on the screen, but in terms of who they are as people . . . they have wicked senses of humor!”
The energy of the entire cast, no matter their chronological stats, was exhilarating to him. “You can’t be an actor and not have a youthful spirit,” he says. “It doesn’t happen any other way. I was in dance rehearsals right off the plane basically, so there was an immediate sense of joy and fun. A lot of that feeling comes from John, as well. He’s someone who is delighted by people, by performances, by the culture in India and I think he brings all of that out in this production.”
Gere was also drawn to the sophisticated wit of the comedy. “At times it’s almost like a Shakespearean comedy of manners, with all these human foibles on display,” he muses. “And it seems that all the characters are mostly focused on modifying the damage Sonny wreaks on everything! As for Chambers, Gere demurs: “I can’t say much except that he has a lot of secrets . . . “
Watch Richard Gere’s timeless charm as he dance Bollywood style in “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” that will open this March 18 exclusive at Ayala Malls Cinemas from 20th Century Fox.