Don Cheadle nabbed an Oscar nomination for his role as hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in 2004’s critically acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda. But it was a recent trip to the country and neighboring states that made a lasting impression on Cheadle.
On Tuesday, the 40-year-old actor will report on his humanitarian trip to Rwanda and Uganda on ABC’s Nightline, which accompanied Cheadle to the war-torn region.
In July, Cheadle traveled to Uganda, the adjacent country north of tiny Rwanda, where he attended the premiere of Hotel Rwanda, and he also visited the Hotel des Milles Collines in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, the site that inspired the film, the Associated Press reports.
It was Cheadle’s first trip to the real setting of the movie, which tells the story of the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and Hutus that erupted in Rwanda. Most of the film was shot at locations in South Africa.
Cheadle also spoke with some of the 1,000 people who took refuge at the hotel for several months during that period, whose experiences he said “were the stuff of epic films.”
He also met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and toured Ugandan camps for people who have been uprooted from their homes by a rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Cheadle said the experience opened his eyes to what is happening in that part of the world, and that he is currently working on a book about how people can individually address Africa’s problems.
“It’s really talking about my path out of apathy, and what people can do who are having the same questions and feelings,” he said.