[NEWS] Richard Gere Was in Philly Last Night to Advocate for the Homeless
Last night it was a packed house at the Ritz East in Old City for a red-carpet premiere of Time Out of Mind, a new film about homelessness directed by Oscar-nominated Oren Moverman (The Messenger, Rampart) and starring Richard Gere, who produced it as a passion project.
Both director and star were at the theater and participated in a pre-screening panel, but on the red carpet — such as it was, an abbreviated strip taped to the Ritz lobby’s floor with electrical tape — all eyes were on Gere, including those of several female reporters who, I suspect, do not normally dress in such finery for junket interviews. (In the interest of full disclosure, given that Gere was my biggest teenage crush, I also considered dressing up to meet him, and then thought, What’s the point? It’s not like he’s going to leave his 32-year-old tall, blond, Spanish socialite girlfriend for a 5-foot middle-aged Jewish Philadelphian. I wore jeans.)
Like many movie stars, Gere was magnetic in person, but also incredibly warm and generous with his time. A woman from Philly’s street newspaper One Step Away, sold by homeless individuals, gave Gere a copy of the paper. She was accompanied by a man who’d been homeless himself; as soon as Gere heard that, he turned his full attention to him and asked how he was doing. He called him a hero. It could have been a cringeworthy celebrity moment, but it wasn’t. There was no condescension in Gere, only what seemed to be genuine interest and respect. Later, he emphasized the notion of treating people with high regard, even if they're in reduced circumstances.