George Clooney: A 10-Year-Old Held a Rifle to My Head in Darfur

Truth rating: 10

By Shari Weiss


George Clooney opens up about activism, Hollywood, and Hitler in a new Variety cover story.

The Oscar winner makes a startling admission about one of his advocacy trips to Darfur, recounting the time he and his group got held up by a young child.

“We got stopped in the middle of nowhere, where we shouldn’t have been,” says Clooney. “A little 10-year-old kid came over with a Kalashnikov assault rifle to my head, basically wanted to get us out of the truck.”

They thankfully emerged unscathed, and the experience didn’t dampen Clooney’s zeal for activism, but becoming a full-fledged politician is far from on the agenda.

“I like the ability to shine light and make it loud,” he says. “But boy, the idea of administrating and legislating. What a nightmare.”

Clooney goes on to discuss his upcoming movie, The Monuments Men, about reclaiming art works stolen by the Nazis during World War II, explaining why decided to star in, write, and direct the project.

“I had some understanding that Hitler was stealing sh*t. I didn’t understand he was taking all of it. They don’t teach that in school. That’s why I loved the story,” he says.

Clooney admits that he and his A-list co-stars, including Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett, took a massive pay cut in order to stay within a $70 million budget.

“If you pay everybody a full boatload, it’s a $150 million film,” says Clooney. “You just can’t do it. Everybody worked for super cheap, like crazy cheap.”

But why not just stay in front of the camera?

The actor points to Batman & Robin flopping as the key turning point in his career.

“Now I had to think: ‘OK, I’m going to be held responsible for the entire script. If I’m going to be responsible for the entire movie, I want more say. I’m going to write it or direct it or produce it,’” says Clooney.

The Monuments Men opens in theaters on Friday.

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