The former heartthrob spent a year before cameras rolled creating and perfecting his look as nebbish Norman Oppenheimer in writer/director Joseph Cedar's forthcoming film.

This involved developing a slight stoop and making sure the character was always bundled up.

"Transforming Richard into Norman was very delicate," Cedar explains.

"We didn't want to play too much with his appearance, but we still wanted to give him something that changes his body language, changes his own perception of himself," Gere adds. "There's a whole different physicality about Norman. He's not an alpha male. This is not a guy who has flirtations with women - he's kind of bound up. There's always stuff around him; his coat, hat, earbuds, and briefcase, and the coat and hat are always tight."

"I did a thing with my ears, where they stick out quite a bit more than mine do," the Pretty Woman star adds. "It just seemed to hunker him down into himself in a funny way."

In the film, Gere's Norman plays a lonely schemer dreaming of becoming a fixer for New York's biggest business moguls, but one generous act lands him in the middle of a major international scandal.

The movie, released in the U.S. next month (Apr17), also features Beauty & the Beast star Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lior Ashkenazi, and Steve Buscemi as an influential Big Apple rabbi.