Good Cheadle

“Everybody’s experience in the movie is unbelievable except for mine,” said Don Cheadle, discussing his new film, Darfur Now. The documentary chronicles the struggles of six people, from the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor to a rebel in the Sudan Liberation Movement, to end genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. “I think I have the most sort of logical, rational way of using my, whatever, quote unquote celebrity to help people,” Mr. Cheadle explained in a phone interview.

The 43-year-old actor received an Oscar nomination in 2005 for his role as Paul Rusesabagina, the hotelier who sheltered Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide, in Hotel Rwanda; it was that film that inspired Mr. Cheadle to establish his political organization Not on Our Watch and start lobbying the government to end genocide worldwide. But Mr. Cheadle insisted that others highlighted in Darfur Now are taking bolder steps, like Adam Sterling, an American waiter who dedicates his free time to informing the public about the situation in Darfur and urging his own local government to take action. “I think there’s a propensity for people to say, ‘I can’t do anything, I’m just a fill-in-the-blank,’” Mr. Cheadle said.

“I suggest that they ask themselves this question”—what they can do, Mr. Cheadle added. “What they find is, there’s some untapped resources. Are you active in your community? Are you good at writing letters? Are you good at using the Internet? … You can start from anywhere.”


Darfur Now opens at the Angelicka Film Center on Nov. 2.