The Pretty Woman star has picked up very early Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Norman Oppenheimer in Joseph Cedar's complex Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer and the writer/director reveals he came up with the character while studying Veit Harlan's Nazi film Jud Suss, considered the most anti-Semitic film ever made.

Jud Suss is a hate-filled account of the life and death of Joseph Suss Oppenheimer, a Jewish banker who served under Duke Karl of Wurttemberg, Germany.

Suss Oppenheimer, who was executed after the Duke's death, has been vilified by history but Cedar was convinced there was much more to the story.

Researching the real-life character for his new movie, the moviemaker uncovered documents detailing conversations between Suss Oppenheimer and his rabbi, which suggested the banker wrestled with the ethics of some of the ruthless things he did as Duke Karl's money man.

"I was amazed by how familiar I found him," the director tells WENN. "In trying to understand him, I wondered if these characters get the bad end of the deal and end up with the unfair reputation of being self-serving and manipulative.

"By making Norman, I'm trying to correct part of that, or at least offer another perspective of this type of person."

In the film, Gere plays a loner who is desperate to become a confidante of a major New York business mogul. His scheming lands the character in the middle of a major international political scandal.

The film also features Steve Buscemi, Dan Stevens, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michael Sheen, and Lior Ashkenazi.