Richard Gere is currently filming for a new film called Time Out Of Mind, his character spending time living on the streets of New York City. After having the makeup put on him and sticking on the threads, he walked out onto the streets of NYC while being filmed, spending forty minutes out in the open with little covering his face, still recognisable enough. It’s surprising to note then that Gere was entirely ignored during his time in public, claiming that nobody even made eye contact with him. In his own words, “I was in one of the busiest places in New York. If I had been Richard Gere there, I wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds.”
It’s clear that Gere believes his own form of acting was what kept the public away from him, claiming that “It was just I wasn’t the movie star and people’s projections on what they saw from the body language and where I was in the street filled in these spaces with an erroneous story.” However, I believe it comes down to another reason, a far more insidious reason that highlights a major problem with how we perceive the homeless and those in need.
We’ve become so accustomed to homelessness, allowed it to bleed so completely into our daily life, that even when a noticeable film star is made up to like someone struggling on the streets of NYC, they’re still not recognised by the passersby, who presumably didn’t even give Gere a second thought. We’re all guilty of this. Homelessness and poverty have been turned into political problem rather than a social issue which could be solved by redistributing wealth and investing far more in a viable network of healthcare and charity. Not only are people struggling to survive everyday, they’re also being ignored on a daily basis by each and every one of us. It has to stop.
What are you thoughts on this and homelessness in general? Do you think more has to be done, that more light must be shone on those who can’t find basic levels of living in a supposedly rich and developed country? Let me know what you think in the comments below.