It wasn’t Oren Moverman’s Oscar nomination for his screenplay of “The Messenger” that prompted Richard Gere to call him about making a film together. The resulting collaboration on “Time Out of Mind,” written and directed by Moverman, and starring Gere, probably wasn’t even because Gere was impressed by Moverman’s writing and directing skills with the only two previous films for which he wore both hats: “The Messenger” (2009) and “Rampart” (2011). No, Israeli-born Moverman, who currently resides in Manhattan, believes it goes back to the time he spent with Gere when they were making “I’m Not There” (2007), the film Moverman wrote for Todd Haynes, in which Gere was one of several actors portraying a different side of Bob Dylan. Moverman spoke about their conversation and how “Time Out of Mind” came to him on a recent phone call from New York.

Q: Richard Gere has owned a version of the “Time Out of Mind” script, about a homeless man in New York, for quite a while. Why did he come to you to rewrite it and direct it?

A: The night before we started shooting “I’m Not There,” we had a dinner where I was seated next to him, and we talked for a couple of hours about the Middle East and peace and spirituality. Then I didn’t see him for a few years, and we ran into each other at a party. By then he had seen the two movies I directed, and he was describing a few projects he was developing. He had been obsessed with playing a homeless man in a movie about homeless shelters in New York. It was an old script [by Jeffrey Caine] that, by the time Richard bought it, was already an old script. I thought I’d like to get involved with it, and he asked me to consider directing it.

Q: Did you make a lot of changes to the Jeffrey Caine script? Is any of his still left in yours?

A: In the original script [Richard’s character] George had been homeless for a while. But in our script we meet him on the first day that he becomes homeless, when he has exhausted all invitations and all couches, and he has nowhere else to go. Jeffrey’s script was more of a classical narrative, but what I wanted to do was something a little more neorealist in a way. My approach was: What if you are a character who, like many of us in New York City, is just rushing from one place to another, really busy, with our schedules of “very important things” to do. And then there’s a guy who’s moving at his own pace, without a schedule, just worried about the basic things: home, shelter, food, warmth, sleep.

Q: So what was the first thing you did to start the project?

A: I went to the shelters, with Richard, working with the Coalition for the Homeless. We were given permission to talk to people. We must have spent months just going to shelters and talking to clients, as they’re called there, and to guards and to administrators, and people in the Coalition for the Homeless and the Department of Housing, really getting into the issues, and observing and hearing what people had to say. We were getting a sense and a perspective of what modern homelessness in shelters in New York City looks like and sounds like and smells like. It was as if we weren’t trying to tell a story, we were just trying to go into this immersive experience through one man, and kind of be in his world.

Q: You’re very much in demand as a screenwriter. Would you mind questions on two of your other projects?

A: No problem.

Q: You wrote the Brian Wilson film “Love & Mercy,” with Paul Dano as the young Brian and John Cusack as the older Brian. Is it true that at one point there were going to be three stages of Brian?

A: Absolutely. My first draft had a Brian past, which was the ’60s, Brian present, which was the ’70s, and Brian future, which was the ’80s. Then we found out, for reasons both artistically and financially, that if you pull out the ’70s portion of it, you could actually still tell the same story. But man, there were a lot of fun scenes in that ’70s character. It was going to be a different actor in that part, but it would have had to be someone who weighed 300 pounds. We pulled it out before we even started shooting.

Q: Can you give me anything on your script for “Raised Eyebrows,” the Groucho Marx biopic that Rob Zombie is directing?

A: It’s the very end of Groucho’s life. It’s about his secretary, Erin Fleming, being insane and abusive and splitting him from his family. It’s a dark story that’s sad and fascinating. It’s about how his demise was sort of playing out, then him ultimately dying three days after Elvis, and not to a lot of notice.

“Time Out of Mind” starts opening on Oct. 2, then opens across the country over the next couple of weeks.

Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.