This month’s Esquire Magazine has a great interview with George Clooney that appears to have taken place before his passionate speech on Darfur before the U.N. last September. As we’ve written several times, George and his father, Nick, are increasingly supportive of efforts to alleviate the suffering taking place around the countries of Sudan and Chad. In the article, Clooney reveals how he produced his famous on-the-scene Darfur report and the conditions that were experienced.
“There was already a rally scheduled for April 30 on the Washington Mall. Organizers hoped for a crowd of five thousand. The Clooneys decided it was in them to boost those numbers. Together, they dodged a military coup in Chad and official resistance from Khartoum to gather proof of a tragedy. They videotaped children in the backs of pickup trucks, brandishing AK-47’s. In one camp, they found a few hundred Darfuris huddled under trees, begging for plastic sheeting to protect them from the coming rains. In another, outside a village called Bahai, they photographed tens of thousands of refugees scratching out life from the dust. There, a little girl, six years old, came up and tugged on George’s shirt. “Why haven’t you fixed this?” she asked.
“We’ll take care of it,” George said. “We’ll fix it. You’ll be okay.”
“They told the kinds of stories that give you nightmares,” Nick Clooney says. “Wells filled with chopped-up bodies,” says his more specific son.”
The article is currently available online. Additional details include his desire to create socially engaging and responsible films (ala Syriana), the 30-hour stint he took editing the Darfur video to show it on Oprah, CNN, and MSNBC, and why he’ll probably never run for political office. This guy is the real deal when it comes to making a difference. There’s no publicist poking him in the back encouraging him to take on these tasks. It’s simply a matter of using the spotlight to shed more light on causes not receiving enough attention. Let’s hope such people do not remain the exception in Hollywood.