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Richard Gere visits TODAY, and stays, and stays, and stays

Richard Gere, who earned a Golden Globe nomination recently for his work in "Arbitrage," not only popped in for an interview on the Plaza and a sit-down with Willie Geist, he accepted gifts for TODAY's toy drive, then hung out in that green room with Savannah Guthrie. Talk about enthusiasm!

Gere was low-key when asked about the whole awards process, noting that he was in "a very remote place" in India, in a "grass hut, literally" when the Golden Globe nominations were announced. When he finally emerged, Gere noted that he had 50 messages on his cell phone and "at first I thought it was some disaster."

Fortunately, that wasn't the case. But at least the actor has his awards-night outfit all squared away: "I've known Giorgio Armani forever, so the first call I got when I got back was George insisting that he make the tux for me."

Quipped Al Roker: "I got a call from L.L. Bean."

Later, Gere turned up during the "Take 3" segment sitting quite close next to Guthrie as they read the paper. He complimented Guthrie, then teased his audio technician. "This is the woman over here whose job is to turn me on," he joked. "I was a bit confused by that, but I said, 'OK, that's what they do at NBC.'"

"That's how we roll," said Guthrie.

Finally, after he'd walked around the Plaza collecting toys, Gere sat down with Geist and took a more serious tone, noting that small dramas like "Arbitrage" can be very hard to get made. "Everyone wanted to make this movie in the '70s and '80s, the studios were looking for this (kind of) movie, but not any more," he said.

And at long last, Geist gave Gere the all-clear. "We've just received word, you're being released by your captors," he said. "Safe passage out the door."

But as Gere headed off the set, he joked to a member of the staff, "No, I'm staying."

"Arbitrage" is out on DVD on Dec. 21.

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