Film

Richard Gere: "Re-integration for the homeless is about personal pride"

Richard Gere discusses Time Out of Mind, his film about homelessness, at a Big Issue-hosted Q&A in Glasgow

When a female fan came charging towards the stage happily shouting, “I wanted to remind you you’re the hottest man on the planet,” Big Issue editor Paul McNamee looked delighted.

This quickly turned to resigned acknowledgement when the focus of attention was revealed to be, of course, Hollywood legend Richard Gere.

The star took part in a spirited Q&A at the Glasgow Film Theatre, hosted by McNamee, following the British premiere of Gere’s film Time Out Of Mind, a movie dealing in simple and unsparing detail with homelessness (see trailer below).

There are 60,000 people living on the street in New York City

“I’m very proud of it,” said Gere. “It has taken 12 years to make. We wanted to show what this guy faced, the problems he had, the loneliness.”

The Pretty Woman veteran explained his interest in homelessness went back a long time, singling out Coalition for The Homeless, a New York charity he has backed for many years.

“There is a law in in New York where anyone who requests shelter must be offered a place to sleep yet there are 60,000 people living on the street in New York City,” he added. “It’s omnipresent. The shelter system doesn’t work. It’s warehousing of human beings. Permanent housing must be a priority. Re-integration is about pride, your place, your letterbox, your key, your community. To be seen, embraced, to be cared about.”

Covering China, the Free Tibet movement and the challenges of convincing as a homeless man while still looking like heartthrob Gere, the discussion ended with the star challenging the 400-strong audience to work together to find ways to address the issue at the heart of his movie.

The Q&A and screening, on Monday February 29, had been sponsored by The Big Issue, as part of the Glasgow Film Festival.

Big Issue editor editor Pau McNameee (left) in discussion with Richard Gere at Glasgow Film Theatre.

Time Out Of Mind, featuring cameos with Steve Buscemi and Kyra Sedgwick, is on release now.

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