Gere role boost for AIDS movie

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 January, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 January, 1993, 12:00am

THE American cable television channel Home Box Office is having an easier time casting And the Band Plays On, the movie version of Ray Shilts' best-selling book on the history of AIDS.

Several big names in Hollywood were reluctant to take on the project - apparently for fear of being associated with the disease.

Among the stars who reportedly refused roles were Richard Dreyfuss, Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson.

But then Richard Gere (right) announced he would appear in the project. His decision has been seen as a gutsy move, since Gere has been plagued by rumours that he is gay, despite his marriage to supermodel Cindy Crawford.

Now that Gere has taken the plunge, other stars, including Whoopi Goldberg and Matthew Modine, have signed on.

Their participation is making it easier for the producers to cast the 106 parts in the movie, expected to premiere later this year.