Helmer Mira Nair attends with stars Gere, Swank

“It’s my fault you’re all here,” “Amelia” producer Ted Waitt declared at Tuesday’s premiere at Gotham’s Paris Theater.

“I had this crazy idea out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 2006 after I read Susan Butler‘s and Mary Lovell‘s biographies on Amelia Earhart to make this movie, and this is what happened,” Waitt said.

What almost didn’t happen was the casting of Richard Gere as Amelia’s husband, George Putnam, in the Mira Nair biopic.

“I originally told Mira I don’t have time to it,” Gere said at the Bloomingdale’s on 59th after-party. “I was doing two movies back to back, but she was really persistent and asked me to please read the script. So I read it and thought that there was something there.”

Ten days later, Nair began shooting the Fox Searchlight release with Gere onboard. While helmer was trying to persuade the thesp to take the part, pic’s star Hilary Swank was attempting to master Earhart’s Kansas accent.

“It was the most difficult accent I’ve done to date in my career,” Swank said. “It took me over eight weeks to figure it out.”

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