"Don Cheadle is an actor," Mr. Rusesabagina said in a telephone interview on Friday from his home in Brussels, where he now lives. "He is a messenger." The president, he said, "wanted to know who was the person behind the story, the real life behind Hotel Rwanda."Also interesting: Bush does not watch that many movies, but the ones he does choose are pretty serious. He's only seen three films this year: "Hotel Rwanda," "The Aviator," and "Paper Clips." "Paper Clips" is a documentary about schoolkids who collect six million paper clips to be able to visualize the deaths in the Holocaust.
Mr. Rusesabagina said that Mr. Bush was well briefed. "He was informed about everything," he said. "He knew everything that happened in Hotel Collines. He was asking me why did I decide to do that? And then at the end, he said I had done what any human being should have done."
The president and Mr. Rusesabagina also talked about the mass killings in the Darfur region of Sudan, which the United States has labeled genocide. Mr. Rusesabagina reported that "he's interested in what is going on in Sudan, he's following that closely, and he's committed to finding a solution."
Beyond that, Mr. Rusesabagina said the president gave no indication of what he might do. "Sometimes when you talk with a president," Mr. Rusesabagina said, "you have to know that some questions will not be answered."
March 7, 2005
Elisabeth Bumiller writes about President Bush's movie watching habits and reveals that, after he saw "Hotel Rwanda," he invited Paul Rusesabagina -- the person played by Don Cheadle in the movie -- to the White House: