“MotherFatherSon” marks the first time Gere has taken a role in a major series after a career in film. “The world has so turned upside down in terms of movies right now. The most interesting stuff being done for an actor is [on] television,” he said. “I don’t have to work; I do what I want to. This is something I thought is going to be five or six months of my life, but is going to be worth it.”
Gere also said that drama can shine a light on real-world events, particularly at this moment in time. “The reality-show president we have highlights the real stuff even more,” he said. “We have now become accustomed to seeing something that is false and lies and is all artifice. When you do something that is coming from an honest place, a generous place and wanting to somehow explain the world as it is, and with a motivation of making it better [by] understanding it, I think it is highlighted even more.”
“MotherFatherSon” is a political and family thriller. Writer Tom Rob Smith (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) said it is not based on actual people or events, but the series does mirror real life.
Gere plays Max, a newspaper and media baron who can influence elections and shape politics. He has succession plans in place, in the shape of son Caden, played by Billy Howle (“On Chesil Beach”). There is an investigation into how Max’s newspapers got their scoops with echoes of the U.K. phone-hacking scandal that involved tabloids owned by Rupert Murdoch and others.
“Peaky Blinders” star Helen McCrory is Kathryn, the mother of the title and Max’s estranged wife. Max, Caden, and Kathryn’s world – and society more widely – gets thrown upside down when Caden suffers a stroke.
BBC Studios is making the highly anticipated series and handling distribution. It launched the show internationally at Mipcom. Buyers packed out a morning session with the cast and producers and got to see a teaser.
Gere said the drama looks at family dynamics and explores issues around politics and media. “I think we’re all trying to tell stories that relate to this crazy moment on our planet, and it’s probably impossible to go directly at it because you can’t compete with how crazy someone like [Donald] Trump is, and many of these right-wing nationalist tribalists on the planet,” he said. It is a family drama but is set “in the context of really exploring our world in terms of politics, and media, and power in general,” Gere added.
The producers promised a punchy finale to the show, but added there are ways it could return. “There is a way of bringing it back,” said exec producer Hilary Salmon. Does Gere want to do more? He said the schedule was tough, but that that was a good thing. “At my age, I’m not going to do this unless it’s a challenge,” he said. “I would rather stay home with my wife and my kids and walk in the woods. If it wasn’t [challenging], I wouldn’t be here.”