Hollywood actor Richard Gere turned down an invitation to the Oscars, preferring to spend last weekend at the Glasgow Film Festival promoting an forthcoming film in which he plays a homeless man in New York.
The star attended the closing night of the city’s 12-day film festival for the first UK screening of Time Out Of Mind.
Gere, an actor and producer in the movie, plays a man who lives on the streets. “I’m very proud of this movie,” he said. “I spent a lot of time putting this together – about 12 years of my life, so I’m happy there’s a chance for people to see the film and engage with it in a serious way like this.
“There is a group in New York which I have been a part of for a very long time called Coalition For The Homeless and like NGOs I see all over the world, it’s very difficult work, but it’s very important work.”
Gere added that he was amazed by the patience, generosity and compassion that the people in these organisations have and pointed out that the film was not only exploring the physical aspect of homelessness but the emotional side to it.
“It’s a film that’s exploring universal issues. It’s not just about homelessness in the sense of looking for a home in the physical sense but also about finding our home in a spiritual, emotional sense.”
Gere said that attending the Glasgow Film Festival rather than the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles was an easy choice to make: “it was more important to be here.”
Allison Gardner, festival co-director, described the film as “very poignant” considering Gere’s interest in the issue. “He’s very passionate about the subject of homelessness. It’s a film about how people fall out of systems and how that can easily happen.”
Fellow co-director, Allan Hunter, added that the film is obviously very personal to Gere. “He’s going to be working with the Big Issue on the whole homeless issue, so Glasgow’s a nice place for him to launch that and get people talking about the film and the subject.”