We asked Cheadle's friend Matt Damon to get the scoop on the journey from actor to activist.
MATT DAMON: Everything good there?
DON CHEADLE: Yeah, just getting ready to go on this book tour.
MD: Then that's where we'll start our big interview. Tell me about the book, or rather, tell everybody else about the book [laughs]—I know about it.
DC: Well, John Prendergast and I traveled to Darfur a couple of years ago with Nightline, and now we've co-authored a book. In addition to describing our path into this actor-vism and activism, the book talks about ways that individuals can get involved and how we can address the problem in Darfur. Hopefully it will help to create a grassroots, and eventually a global, effort to prevent this and other crises like it in the future.
He sighs. He's heard the story before. And while he likes the release version (2hr 37mins), there is a 3hr 20mins version that he'd like to get shown one day. "But we had to make it a reasonable length. You see, every action in this sort of film - you don't know if it's for real or a game. And I think that affects the people in the business. They get to be people who can't trust anyone."
"Do you think maybe you'll direct more often now?"
"I want to. The Good Shepherd has done quite nicely - not great, but OK, you know? And we are talking about two more films coming right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Trace the whole story. Because, you know, that's a war we won - the Cold War."