Richard Gere has a serious case of puppy love.
The actor said he “cried like a baby” when he read the script for his new movie, “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story,” a remake of a Japanese classic about a faithful Akita who waited for his owner every day at a Tokyo train station a decade after the owner died.
“I was telling people over dinner, and I could only get halfway through the story and I would start crying,” Gere told a news conference at the Rome Film Festival.
The Japanese were so moved by Hachiko’s loyalty to his professor-owner that they built a statue of the dog at the Shibuya station, now a popular rendezvous spot. Hachiko died in 1935.
The updated film, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, moves the action to modern Rhode Island.
“I wasn’t sure if it was just a very sensitive reaction I had that day, so I read it again a few days later and had the same reaction,” said Gere, who plays the professor.
“This is a love story,” he said. “It has nothing to do with gender or species.”
The movie is scheduled to open in the U.S. in December.