Pop Culture

Richard Gere wants to use attention from viral 'homeless' photo to help others

A photo of Richard Gere playing a homeless man that has gone viral has motivated the actor to hopefully turn it into something beneficial for the homeless community.

Gere portrayed a homeless man in the film "Time Out of Mind," which was released last month, and a photo of him from the movie has gotten more than 1.5 million likes on an unofficial fan page on Facebook. The post on the fan page also claims he gave food and $100 bills to every homeless person he encountered after the movie, which he debunked in a Facebook post on "Time Out of Mind" co-star Jena Malone's page.

"While the story that accompanied the photograph was somewhat fictional (especially the $100 hand-outs), it seemed to have touched something important in people,'' Gere wrote on Facebook. "I'd like to find out what that is and what we can do together to make something good and meaningful happen for our homeless brothers and sisters."

Gere is looking to use the attention generated by the viral photo to spark a discussion and bring attention to the homeless issue, and he will be hosting a Q&A Wednesday on Malone's Facebook page.

"I'd like you to join me for a conversation on the issue of homelessness and how it impacts your lives,'' he wrote. "The film's director Oren Moverman I will be taking questions live on Wednesday, 10/28 at 11 AM ET right here on Jena's page, I hope you'll join us. We're excited to see what happens."

Malone plays Gere's daughter in the movie, which includes scenes that were filmed with a hidden camera while Gere went unrecognized as he portrayed a homeless man named George in New York City.

"I was out for 21 days and I only had two people recognize me the whole time," Gere told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on Sept. 8. "It was amazing to me that just the visual and physicality of the guy on the street, people projected panhandling on me."

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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