In 'Norman,' Richard Gere plays small-time hustler with big-time friend

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Richard Gere (left) stars in "Norman," directed by Joseph Cedar (right). (KABC)

Richard Gere plays the title role in the new independent film, "Norman."

His character is a small-time operator, always hustling for the next get-rich-quick scheme.

He becomes friends with a politician who later becomes an influential world leader. And that changes Norman's life - but maybe not all for the better.

"He's annoying and you've got to be honest in dealing with me that way," said Gere. "(Co-star) Michael Sheen, I mean, it's like brilliant work. He loves me, I'm his uncle but he doesn't want me to use his name."

"This is a difficult story to pull off," said director Joseph Cedar. "It's about something that's complicated and the effect it creates is nuanced."

"A computer could not have made this," added Gere. "You couldn't program this. You couldn't go to a screenwriting class and figure out how to do this because it breaks the rules all the time, of the expectation of where it's going."

"My experience with Richard was that I had absolute confidence that no matter what we're doing in front of the camera, it will be full of life and full of dramatic tension and that's something that has nothing to do with the script or anything," said Cedar. "It's just something that Richard brings to a set."

"Norman" is rated R.

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