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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 05/19/2010

Chatting up Don Cheadle, environmental crusader

By Liz Kelly

Don Cheadle at an 'Iron Man 2' event in April. (Reuters)

Don Cheadle isn't invited to tonight's state dinner at the White House, but, joked the "Iron Man 2" star, he may show up anyway.

"I don't call it crashing," said Cheadle in a phone interview this morning. "I call it being elegantly present."

If only the Salahis had thought of that line.

Cheadle is in town to lend his celebrity heft to Global Conservation Act of 2010, a recently introduced bill making its way through the House of Representatives that hopes to push the U.S. to the forefront of the environmental movement. Cheadle, along with Jane Goodall, will host a luncheon briefing tomorrow to raise awareness for the bill. Cheadle points out that the proposed legislation isn't designed to prevent disasters like the BP oil spill currently befouling the Gulf of Mexico, but that the disaster does underscore the need for the U.S. to be a big player in the environmental movement. (Cheadle is no stranger to big causes; he testified before a Senate subcommittee about the atrocities in Darfur in 2007.)

"The U.S. needs to be a leader on this issue," said Cheadle. "It isn't yet."

And, although Cheadle's 2007 movie "Talk to Me" was about D.C. deejay Ralph "Petey" Greene, the actor says he only spent two days in the area and most of that time at his sister's apartment -- she teaches at McLean's Potomac School.

"But I don't recommend everyone go over there," said Cheadle. "Not that her apartment is bad. It's just not big enough to house a lot of people."

We're sure his sister is breathing a sigh of relief.

By Liz Kelly  | May 19, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  | Tags:  Don Cheadle  
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