Q: Did Richard Gere do his own tap dancing in "Chicago"?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Richard Gere admitted in a 2003 interview that the tap dancing sequences in "Chicago" were "humbling," but what you see on screen is all him.

Gere played the prototypical sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn in the 2002 film version of the hit stage musical -- a role that came with the requisite singing numbers but also featured one that was just dance.

That sequence cut together scenes of Gere's character dramatically interrogating a witness on the stand, with scenes of him on a stage, alone, tap dancing his heart out. The implication is that the great lawyer's courtroom antics amount to little more than some fancy footwork for an audience. 

The dance parts are, admittedly, pretty brave -- they are literally just Gere alone under a spotlight. And they're especially brave once you know that he didn't know any tap before taking the role.

"I mean, I was learning from scratch to do something that is -- for anyone -- very difficult," he told CBS's "The Early Show" in 2003. "And something I had to get together in a few months. So that was daunting. It was deeply humbling."

Gere's performance earned him a lot of praise. Gere won a best actor Golden Globe for his performance, and the movie won the top film prize at the American Choreography Awards.

"It has many breathtaking musical numbers to show off, but one of 'Chicago's' best moments is Richard Gere's tap dancing sequence," Guardian newspaper film critic Virginia Cerezo said.

Gere said in his "Early Show" interview that the role was a departure for him, since he was better known for grim, dramatic roles, and that's exactly why he took it. Actually, that's why his wife made him take it.

"When [my wife] read the script, she said: 'You've gotta do this because no one ever sees you be goofy. So just do it.' I said, 'All right.'"


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