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Richard Gere: 'I was invisible in homeless role'

Published 12/12/2015

Richard Gere
Richard Gere

Richard Gere's view of the society around him has changed radically since he portrayed a homeless man in his latest movie, Time Out of Mind.

Richard Gere found it "confusing and profound" to be ignored while pretending to be homeless.

The Hollywood actor simulated living rough while filming his latest movie Time Out of Mind, in which he plays a man called George who seeks refuge from the streets of New York in a hospital. While sat on the pavements of the Big Apple in full costume, Richard was amazed to see how onlookers reacted to him.

“I was invisible in New York,” he told Britain's Big Issue magazine. “Because I was this character, people decided within two blocks of seeing me that I was homeless, and didn’t look any further. No one made any eye contact. It was confusing and profound.

"If Richard Gere, who has money and fame – and in this situation everyone thinks kindly about me – if I can stand on a street corner and be treated like garbage? That’s a profound lesson for me personally but for an audience it should be as well. It radically changed my view of myself and of the social fabric around me.”

Richard isn't the only big name to have been involved with a project highlighting homelessness; actor-turned-director Paul Bettany has helmed his first ever feature, Shelter, focusing on the subject. His wife Jennifer Connelly and actor Anthony Mackie star as a couple who have nothing but each other while on the streets.

“An agent of mine, who will remain nameless, said you can’t make a romance about homeless people because nobody wants to see them kiss,” Paul recalled to the publication. “I was so shocked by the awfulness of the statement.

"What I heard was how they were thinking of these people as something other. That was what I wanted to discuss and examine."

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