Richard Gere sat down for a video Q&A Wednesday about the issue of homelessness, prompted after a photo of him dressed as a homeless man for the film Time Out of Mind went viral on social media.
Gere, who has no social media presence himself, held the forum on costar Jena Malone’s official Facebook page. The film’s director, Oren Moverman, joined him for the conversation.
The actor said his only agenda for the video was to discuss why the public responded so strongly to the photo and accompanying story (which, he noted, was not quite accurate) that was posted on a Facebook fan page.
“I wonder if there’s something that we have in common that we can work together on, that can create a community of responsibility,” he said.
“There’s 60,000 people on any given night that are homeless in New York City, there may be a million people in America — the richest country in the world — a million people who are homeless on any given night,” Gere added later in the video. “This is a huge problem everywhere — where is my home? — and what is our personal responsibility, those of us who do have some stability in our lives … what is our responsibility to our brothers and sisters who don’t have that?”
Gere plays a homeless man in the film, much of which was shot were shot with hidden cameras, that allowed him to panhandle next to real people and be totally unrecognized.
“I could tell when people from two blocks away had made a judgment about me on the corner. Just by the vibe I was giving off and the fact that I was standing still in a city that’s always moving. I wasn’t harassing anyone,” he told EW last month. “I had a coffee cup but I wasn’t shaking it in front of people’s faces. But people are used to making judgments about situations, consciously and subconsciously, from two blocks away. And from that far away they’d make the decision not to engage.”
You can watch Gere and Moverman’s full Q&A below.