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September 9, 2009

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Clooney plays hippie in Iraq war comedy

AMERICAN actor George Clooney plays a New Age hippie soldier trained for psychic, peaceful combat in a comedy set during the war in Iraq.

"The Men Who Stare at Goats" is based on a book by Jon Ronson about a secret unit created by the United States Army in 1979 which, the author said, believed troops could become invisible, walk through walls and kill goats just by staring at them.

Ewan McGregor plays a reporter who stumbles across a member of the unit as he prepares to enter Iraq, and he and Clooney's character, Lyn Cassady, go on an ill-fated journey that sees them kidnapped, shot at and hit by a roadside bomb.

Jeff Bridges is a long-haired, drug-taking leader of the "New Earth Army," and Kevin Spacey completes the line-up as a rival to Cassady who ends up turning the unit into a lucrative private enterprise operating in Iraq during the war.

"What we love about this film and what's so fun about it is that there's a tremendous amount of it that's true," Clooney told reporters in Venice, where the movie premiered yesterday.

"As funny as it is, it's some of the dumbest parts of the film that are the true parts, so that's what made us laugh the most," added the 48-year-old Hollywood star.

Although set in Iraq in recent times, the war is only an incidental backdrop to a comedy which drew loud laughter at a press screening.

"We thought that this wasn't an Iraq war film," said Clooney. "We thought of it as a comedy about some crazy ideas that went on that started at the end of the Vietnam war and carried on through not that long ago and maybe still carry on."


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