Richard Gere is speaking out for the homeless of America, as his latest film, Time Out of Mind, allowed him to explore the plights facing the homeless everyday in every city of the world. Working on Time Out of Mind, Gere developed a deep appreciation for the struggle of living on the streets and now seeks to educate the public and raise awareness for those less fortunate.
Time Out Of Mind Teaches Richard Gere About The Importance Of A Helping Hand
In Time Out of Mind, Richard Gere plays George, a Manhattan homeless man who seeks refuge in a men’s shelter at Bellevue Hospital and, while there, befriends another homeless man, Dixon, played by Ben Vereen. Throughout their friendship, Dixon tries to convince Gere’s character to reunite with his estranged daughter, played by Jena Malone (The Hunger Games, Sucker Punch). Though Time Out of Mind seeks to tell the story of George’s relationships with Dixon and with his daughter, much of the film shows Gere’s character struggling to survive as a homeless person, scrounging and begging for change, trying to obtain identity documents, and feeling hopelessly lost in his attempts to pull himself out of his situation.
In discussing that dismal glimpse into homelessness, Richard spoke publicly about the importance of mankind’s willingness to help one another instead of expecting charities or government agencies to fix the problem.
“The thing that heals people is not money and it is not governments. It is people heal people. It is people who care about each other and look each other in the eye, you want to hear their story and people who want to hear your story,” said Gere. “And these human connections is what heals us, certainly emotionally, psychologically but even physically that’s the beginning of healing us in all ways.”
Richard Gere Reminds Us That Anyone Could End Up Living On The Streets
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It takes very little, a simple change in one’s luck, for any one of us to end up out on the streets and that’s something Gere came to realize and to share, as he stepped into his Time Out of Mind role. Prior to taking up the character of George, Gere says he had never realized just how easily one can end up as a homeless person. Before Time Out of Mind premiered at the Taormina Film Festival, Mr. Gere screened the film for a gathering of homeless people at a Rome, New York soup kitchen.
Richard told the gathering of the homeless that he hadn’t understood the troubles of the homeless until he had started working on Time Out of Mind. For the film, Gere was made up as a homeless man and sent out to beg for change on the streets, but Richard says nearly everyone ignored him.
“It’s that fragile, the difference between us who have seemingly productive lives, and someone who ends up lost, a lost soul on the streets,” said Mr. Gere.
Richard said it was more than just not having food, shelter, and the basics. He said he felt a disconnectedness unlike anything he has ever experienced, as one looking in on society as an unwelcome stranger. Essentially, Richard expressed feeling like a ghost living on the streets, while acting out his role in Time Out of Mind.
“I could feel in a very visceral way what it is like to be untethered, not connected to reality any more, not connected to society anymore, not connected to friends anymore, being invisible on the streets,” Gere added.
According to The National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are as many as 564,708 homeless people living on American streets on any given night. Of that number, 15 percent, or 83,170 people, are considered to be “chronically homeless”.
[Image by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images]