Jason Russell set his humanitarian sights on Uganda years ago—and now, Hollywood is following suit.
The Kony 2012 director and cofounder of Invisible Children Inc. sat down with E! News' Catt Sadler today for an exclusive interview about his foundation's latest efforts to put an end to the abduction of children by the army of rebel leader Joseph Kony in war-torn Central Africa.
"This is about human beings waking up to their potential and their power around the world, and uniting for justice," Russell says of the campaign to bring Kony to justice.
Kony 12, a 29-minute video encapsulating nine years of research and detailing the horrors of the situation in Uganda, has already been watched more than 2 million times since going up online barely 48 hours ago, with celebs including Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Kristen Bell, Kelly Osbourne, Cory Monteith, Kim Kardashian, Nina Dobrev and Alyssa Milano spreading the word via Twitter.
"We're not worshipping the celebrities," Russell notes. "They're humans just like us." But, he acknowledges, getting some of the most relevant celebs out there—people like George Clooney, Stephen Colbert, Angelina Jolie and Oprah Winfrey—on board with the cause would make a huge difference.
Rihanna has reached out to them about making another video, according to Russell, and the White House recently offered its congratulations to Invisible Children Inc. for its newfound visibility.
To critics who say that Kony 2012 is a flash-in-the-pan effort meant to drum up donations, Russell admits that his short film is just a starting point for really understanding what's going on in Uganda.
"You have to do your research," he says. "This is a complex war, 26 years, over four continents involving multiple layers. The movie we try to make simple, but you have to dig deeper."
And having a little star power usually doesn't hurt.
"I want…I'd like indicted war criminals to enjoy the same level of celebrity as me. That seems fair," Clooney says in an interview in Kony 2012. "Our objective is to just shine a light on it."
"I'm a peacemaker, that's what I do, but in this specific instance, we do need a military strategy, and it needs to be smart," he said, when asked about President Barack Obama's October 2011 decision to send troops into the region to disarm Kony's Lord's Resistance Army.
Urging people to tweet using hash tag "#konysurrender," Russell says the ultimate goal is to bring Kony to justice.
"We don't want this to end with bombs and a bullet to the head, we want to bring him alive to an international court," he says. At this point, Russell adds, Kony 2012 needs "love and support."
All donations go to "the movie, the movement and the mission—all of them need to exist in order for this to work," Russell says.
"We can't stop," he insists. "We should stop at nothing to make sure that Kony surrenders soon."