The Dance of Life
"You have to trust to do an intimate movie like this," says Richard. "You're telling the story with the other person also, and there's an organic feeling of this thing emerging."
Richard also gave Oprah a little dance lesson on the set! Of the dance process, he explains, "When it's working well, you don't know who's leading. You don't know who started the impulse. It's the same in dance and relationships."
Of his relationship with his son, Richard is clearly a proud and awed father. "You're imprinting everything on this child. He's like a sponge. But I also don't think he's a 'tabula rasa.' There's an element of 'Homerness' about this child that came in with him."
Richard, when confronted with a shirtless 30-something image of himself, said: "Giving advice is a fool's errand. But I'd tell him to 'Hang on, it all changes.' Whatever you're going through now—miserable or happy—it will all change. If you keep your eyes on the prize, it's going to keep getting better all the time."
"I loved all the ideas in it," Jennifer says. "The ideas about having to be fulfilled as an individual; having to have passion in your life. I'm a very passionate person, so that whole thing of having to be whole, to be good with other people. I just like that idea."
Jennifer explains that this movie is a bit like her life in the past year. "I took some time off after everything happened last year. And what I got down to is a little bit like this movie. Coming back to what's important in your life and why you started in the first place. And when I got back down to it…and I was, like, 'I'm an artist.' I like music. I sing. I act. That's what I like to do."
But, Jennifer says she has learned lessons from the "media frenzy" that followed her relationship with, engagement to and eventual break-up from Ben Affleck. "I guess it's the Bronx in me. I'm a free spirit. I'm open by nature. It's hard for me."
Jennifer: Exactly what I'm doing. I'm really, really lucky…I always wanted to do what I'm doing since I was very little.
Oprah: What would you tell her now, knowing now what you know now?
Jennifer: I think I would tell her—well, she wouldn't listen to nobody. That's the first thing. But I think I'd tell her do everything the way you did it. I don't have any regrets. My philosophy on things is life is about two things: loving and learning. Everything that's been good, everything that's been bad, everything that's hurt, everything that's made me feel tons of joy, it was all good. I learned so much.
In response to a question about why people get married, her character says: "Because we need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet. What does any one life really mean? In a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things. The bad things. The terrible things. The mundane things. All of it. All the time. Every day. You're saying your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness."
Susan: I think what [Shall We Dance?] says is that you really have to answer for your own happiness. This whole concept that someone fulfills you and the two of you together make a whole, it kind of is getting off on the wrong foot. In this movie, [Richard Gere's character] has fulfilled his dream. He gets what America's dream is about, right? Your nuclear family. You have a great house and garden.
Oprah: Everything's going so well.
Susan: What's the problem? The problem is each of us has to find what it is and keep that alive, keep that spark alive…. Sometimes that means you have to have things outside.
"The important thing is to understand that every time you have a breakdown is to get to a new paradigm. There is light at the end of the tunnel. When you really think about it, life is pretty sweet."