Richard Gere Describes What It Was Like to Panhandle on the Streets of New York City

Richard Gere plays a homeless man in "Time Out of Mind."

ByLUCHINA FISHER
October 28, 2015, 5:54 PM

— -- The conversation didn't go exactly as planned, but Richard Gere still kept his promise to discuss the issue of homelessness with his fans on Facebook.

Instead of doing a live Q&A, Gere and his "Time Out of Mind" director Oren Moverman appeared in a video, in which they answered previously submitted questions. The video appeared on co-star Jena Malone's Facebook page. She plays Gere's daughter in the film (Gere plays a homeless man).

"Thank you for tuning in...or I don't even know what you call it -- logging in?" Gere, a novice to social media, said from what appeared to be one of Facebook's offices. "I have no agenda here other than discussing with you as directly as I can why you guys responded to that posting of a picture of me."

Gere was referring to a picture of him as a homeless man on the streets of New York that drew 1.6 million likes and over 500,000 shares when it was posted on a fan's Facebook site.

Since then, Gere said he has received hundreds of stories from people who were either homeless themselves or were transformed in some way after an experience with a homeless person.

It's "this kind of transformation of our thinking that interests me enormously," he said. "How do we get out of our shells and see the world and see other people completely as our brothers and sisters, as ourselves?"

Gere said he's still hoping to have a more spontaneous, live dialogue, but in the meantime, he and Moverman answered questions that had been collected from Facebook users over the last two days.

The 66-year-old actor explained why he made the film, what it was like when thousands of people walked past him while he was panhandling on the streets of New York City and what we can all do to be better global citizens.

"It's a huge problem -- where is my home," he said. "And what is our responsibility to our brothers and sisters who don't have that."

Watch below to see what he had to say:

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