Actor flies to Dubai to raise Darfur awareness

When “Michael Clayton” opens the Dubai Film Fest Dec. 9, George Clooney will offer some red-carpet glamour — and some sobering non-glitzy talk.

The actor-filmmaker is flying to Dubai to raise awareness about the situation in Darfur and foster some east-west dialogue.

Aside from talking about his career in a public discussion, Clooney tells Variety he will attempt to increase awareness of the conflict in western Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have died since the outbreak of violence in 2003.

“Places like Dubai and Egypt, which are moderate Arab societies, seem like the best places to try and find common ground and get Muslims to talk about Muslim issues, as opposed to just the rest of us talking about them,” he says. “We’re going to have a find a place where we can reach out and cross over our cultures to remember that everybody wants the same basic things for the most part.”

He is expected to meet with some of Dubai’s top players while in the bustling emirate. Clooney was last in Dubai for the lensing of political oil drama “Syriana.”

The visit is the latest in a series of Darfur-related initiatives for Clooney.

He narrated and exec produced “Sand and Sorrow,” an HBO doc from Paul Freedman about the crisis; helped establish Jerry Weintraub’s Not On Our Watch foundation (which, during two days of charitable events at Cannes, raked in some $9 million for the 2 million Sudanese refugees stuck on the borders of Sudan and Chad); and he visited Darfur with his father, journo Nick Clooney, to shoot footage of the humanitarian crisis.

As for career matters, he doubts if he’ll sign for a film soon. “Everyone is trying to jam movies in at the moment but I don’t see anything that I would dare take on without being able to fix the script,” said Clooney. “It looks like the strike is going to be a long slog.”

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