George Clooney and his wife, the human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, were in London last night to host a screening of a new Netflix documentary about Syria’s incredibly brave White Helmets, the rescue teams who pull injured victims out of the rubble of bombed-out buildings. Chatting after the film, Clooney gave his support to Meryl Streep, who criticised Donald Trump at the Golden Globes on Sunday for impersonating a disabled reporter. The president-elect took to Twitter to call the serial-Oscar-winner ‘overrated’.
'Aren’t you supposed to be running the country?’ Clooney responded, describing the election of Trump as 'unlucky'. He added: ‘At this moment in our lives we have to hope that he doesn’t destroy everything. You have to hope he can do a decent job because when the president of the United States fails, really terrible things happen.’
Clooney was talking at a reception for ‘The White Helmets’, a 40-minute Netflix doc that's on the shortlist for Best Short Documentary at the Oscars. Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, it follows a crew of White Helmet volunteers as they rush to bombings in Aleppo, at one point rescuing a two-week old baby trapped in rubble for more than 16 hours. Clooney has bought the rights to turn the documentary into a feature film.
The Syrian Civil Defence – known as the White Helmets – is composed of 3,000 volunteers and has been operating in Syria since 2013, saving more than 70,000 lives. ‘If you turn on the news you think that the world is nothing but filled with hate, it all just seems terrible.' Clooney said. 'But the reality is that the vast majority of human beings are kind and good and want what’s best for their family and for their neighbours.’ He added: ‘The people who put on these white helmets are extraordinary, who go out and run towards the violence that everyone else runs away from. They risk their lives because it’s the right thing to do.’