Don Cheadle Dishes on Brad, George and 'Traitor'

Don Cheadle stars as a Special Forces officer in the twisty new thriller "Traitor." He recently spoke with NEWSWEEK's Nicki Gostin—and brought the funny. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: Are you worried about this movie finding an audience in the summer?
Don Cheadle:
I tend not to think about those things because I don't have any control over it. Hopefully people by then will have seen a lot of big, crazy movies and kind of want to see a movie that's a little different.

You're a producer of "Traitor." Did you demand to have your favorite snacks on set at all times?
Well, there really is no other reason to produce a movie than to get the proper snacks. I did come up with the food that I would eat that would keep me going all day: lettuce leaf with turkey bacon, carrots, tomato, avocado and balsamic vinaigrette.

What are you? A model?
No, no, but you can't eat heavy when you're trying to work.

You learned Arabic for the movie. Was it hard?
It was easier than trying to do that damn accent in "Ocean's Eleven." No question.

I know you're straight but if you were gay, George, Brad or Matt?
Wow, that's actually a question that I wouldn't even allow to come into my mind. That's how straight I am. [Laughs] I don't know. George would take you to a nice dinner before, but then so would Matt, I guess.

What are you saying? That Brad would take you to Mickey D's?
Yeah, Brad doesn't really care too much about that. You'd get a burger.

If I blindfolded you and dropped you off in Amman, Jordan, would you be able to order some mint tea and cookies?
No. I would be able to say, "I have Semtex in the truck." I could say all the lines in the movie, so I don't know if that would work.

You were on the "Golden Girls" spinoff, "The Golden Palace." Can we say it? Betty White's a bitch, right?
Yes, she's only angelic in every other thing you see her in, but on the show she was completely evil. Made out of evil.

Did you ever try playing "Password" with her?
No, I hit on her. I wasn't married yet. I wanted to take her out, but the May-December thing wasn't her thing.

You're a very busy beaver. You don't have to audition anymore, right?
For the most part. I started a production company a couple of years ago. I started putting projects together, which is even cooler, trying to take control of my destiny a little bit.

Do you go out on a lot of breakfast meetings as a producer?
I have meetings that are centered around all of the meals of the day, and sometimes even a post-aperitif.

You're funny. No offense, but I didn't think you'd have a sense of humor. I thought you'd be superserious.
That's so funny. Everyone says that. I guess I really have to work on that public image thing.

I guess it's just the movies you do.
Yeah, but I'm acting! I'm going to call you back because I just got home.

[Three minutes later.]

I was going to say you didn't have to call me back. I don't have any more questions.
Dammit! I could have saved seven bucks.

Seven bucks! What phone service are you using?
I bounce through a few different satellites so it can't be traced. You never know.

Is that because you just did a thriller?
If I told you, I'd have to kill you.