When you're a renowned Hollywood celebrity, it's hard to imagine what it's like to feel invisible. With all the paparazzi flashing their cameras at you, magazines covering your every single move, kids wanting to be like you ... you hardly ever feel unnoticeable.
But there are so many people who do.
Just in New York, more than 58,000 people are deemed to live the life of a shadow. That is the estimated homeless population in one of the world's largest cities.
Recently, one famous actor had the chance to experience what living as a homeless person is like and the things he discovered changed his perception forever.
Filming his latest movie, Time Out of Mind, Richard Gere was put in the shoes of a homeless man named George. Struggling to find food and shelter, Gere's character perfectly unearths the dark realism of a vagrant lifestyle.
The film has been described as "a miracle," but what's more impressive than the actors' performances is the way they got to understand and fulfill their roles.
Dressed in raggy clothes, Gere and his colleagues hit the streets of Manhattan trying to become the characters they were playing — standing on street corners, eating from trash cans, begging for money ... you know, the usual.
And what did they find? That no one paid any attention.
'I was out there for the very first shot, 40 minutes plus — no one made eye contact with me,' Gere told 'People' magazine.
Gere recalls that all the actors expected for crowds to start gathering and ruin the shots as they were filming. But none of that happened. At one point, Gere was even handed a bag of food by a woman who took him for a real homeless person.
The actor was shaken by the experience.
He told Huffington Post it made him feel like a black hole, something others go out of their way to avoid.
Gere hopes this movie will remind people how close they actually are to the life of George and that homelessness is not only about having no food to eat or no place to sleep — it's also about the mental and spiritual integration, which is extremely fragile.
Check out the trailer for 'Time Out of Mind' below:
If you want to take action and help people who are facing homelessness, visit the coalitionforthehomeless.org website.