Free at last!

A few hours after his noble arrest for civil disobedience—a valiant and clearly successful attempt at bringing attention to the Sudan crisis—George Clooney has been released from police custody.

And judging by his jovial, on-message comments upon getting released from the clink, his hard time was anything but.

"It is on my permanent record," he joked with reporters upon his release. "And you know that that picture's going to be all over everything." Uh, George? Already is.

"Listen, what we've been trying to achieve today is we're trying to bring attention to an ongoing emergency," he continued. "Our job right now is to try to bring attention to it, and one of those ways was, apparently, get arrested."

"I guess we're not allowed to hang out at the Sudanese Embassy," said Clooney's father and fellow arrestee, Nick Clooney. "I didn't know that."

"I didn't know that either," George said, returning the conversation to his recent trip to Sudan. "We just came back, the real danger of course is there are people dying everyday there…Tens of thousands of people are going to die of starvation. That's man-made. This isn't a famine, this is a man-made tragedy.

"You never know if you're going to accomplish anything, all we're trying to do is bring attention to a moment. We hope this brings attention to it."

George Clooney

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Fresh from his meeting with President Barack Obama this week, Clooney also noted that this isn't a Republican cause or a Democratic cause, but a universal issue that both sides should and have gotten behind.

"We hope people understand there really is a ticking clock on this and we need to get moving," he said. "There's been amazing progress at times. There've been some great strides, but on the other hand, there's an awful lot that's still going on."

Important message delivered, Clooney eased back into his affable self, joking with reporters about his not-so-hard time.

"It was really rough, you can imagine," he said. "Have you ever been in a cell with these guys?"

As for what his experience was like: "Paid a fine, we were all in a cell together, it was nice."

Nice, but not worth repeating. Even if it only set him back $100 in bond.

"It is my first arrest, thanks for asking. And let's hope it's my last."

(Originally published on March 16, 2012 at 11:56 a.m. PT)

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