tv Sharing The Spotlight Pre- Show CNN December 2, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
the thomases say they were told repeatedly not to pick up the trays but the 8-year-old just made a mistake. >> she said she just forgot and as you see in the video, moved the plate is to say she was done. >> reporter: of course we know the dolphin wasn't. the thomases say they won't be back at sea world and they hope others will heed their warning. >> we are not banking on seaworld changing that attraction. you know, i'm sure that's not gonna happen, but perhaps -- >> i'm don lemon. thanks for watching. they garnered global attention for their work in the entertainment world but tonight, we go beyond the glamour, talking to three top stars who are using their fame to shine the spotlight on those in need. actor and director ben stiller is famous for his come dis, but the poverty in haiti made him get serious and get to work. >> i just wanted to be able to help people i thought were doing good work and actually getting things done. >> for decades, supermodel
christie turlington burns is known for her beautiful face. now she is using her voice as a global crusader for maternal health. >> i was already holding my baby and bonding with my baby and i started to hemorrhage. >> he's is ready to perform at cnn heroes, r. >> reporter: b superstar's neotalks to a.j. hammer about the cause close to his heart, giving hope to kids caught in the dposer system. >> a lot of these kids get counted out before they get a chance a-to-even get into the game. raising awareness, providing concrete solutions or simply lending a hand to those who go without, these celebrities are doing what they can to make a difference. join us as we take a look at how they are giving back and hoping to inspire others to do the same. >> one, two, three. ♪
super mold it so title only a few women in the world have held but christie turlington burns has been part of that elite group more than two decades. she worked with fashion's top designs, appeared on the cover over "vogue" nine times and became an icon representing calvin klein. >> i always see you somewhere. >> eternity for men. >> her timeless beauty and record breaking contracts made her a bona fide superstar. but in an industry known for attitude and extravagance, christie has always been known as being down to earth, a woman who marched to beat of her own drum n peak of the fame in the mid'90s, she took a break from the runway to earn a degree from new york university and her passion for yoga led "time" magazine to make her their cover girl. one thing that hasn't changed, she has always been willing to use her star power to advocate for cause she is believes n she was a global ambassador for the red campaign, joining her
friend, bono to lobby president bush about aids research on air force one and she has been a staunch anti-smoking activist for years. >> smoking is ugly. >> she now has two young children with actor/director ed burns and it was motherhood that led her to her current passion, promoting maternal health world wide. >> the best way to address child survival is to invest in a mom. >> deeply committed to making a difference she is currently working on a masterers a at public health at columbia university. the supermodel whose face is so familiar has become a recognized voice on this global issue. i recently sat down with christie to talk about her journey from super model to model citizen. people come to activism in a lot of different ways and it seems like you came to it through very personal ways, first with the death of your father in the '90s? >> my father got sick and was diagnosed with lung cancer, stage 4. so he died after about six months. >> sorry. >> it was not a big surprise because he had been a life long smoker. and after he died, i felt like
there was something in the experience having been a smoker myself i felt i could contribute in some way so i reached out to the centers for disease control and prevention and they were kind of take answer back. we normally go to you people. >> don't usually get calls from people? >> they don't. i think we created a really powerful public service announcement that i'm still really proud of. >> in my life, there are two people in my family who have quit smoking, me and my dad. for me, it took seven years. my dad, it was different for him. he stopped december 1996, just six months before he died from lung cancer. >> i hear people all the time say that they quit smoking because of that public service announcement. >> got to be a great feeling. >> incredible feeling and encouraged me to keep trying to make a difference. >> people are often skeptical of celebrities get sflofgd philanthropic things or actismism. was that a concern on your part? >> i'm skeptical, i have to say
and very limiting to think you don't want to try to do something to better the world because the way that people will think of you, sharing our stories is a really powerful way to help others and so, i felt like i wanted to add my voice. >> for the past decade she has been using her voice on another issue close to her heart, maternal health. it's a cause she embraced nine years ago after she experienced complications giving birth to her first child. >> i was already holding my baby and bonding with my baby and i started to hemorrhage. it went from being this incredibly empowering experience to a terrifying one and my situation was managed really smoothly, but i learned in the weeks after that that same complication is the leading cause of maternal mortality around the world and that information sort of struck me and -- >> had you been some place else in the world, had you been in tanzania, could you have died? >> absolutely. and every year there are hundreds of thousands of women that die 90% of these deaths are preventible. >> that is the incredible thing about the maternal health issue,
we are not talking about huge advances in technology that are needed. these are things which already exist, which are very common sense. >> it's true, but 15% out of all births can result in a complication, so, by not being in the right place at the right time or having access to people who in an emergency situation can save your life and your baby's life, it puts people in incredible danger. >> statistics like that led christy to become a maternal health care advocate for care, a global aid organization, she then spent two years making a documentary about maternal mortality issues. in 2010, she started a campaign called every mother count now a full-fledged non-profit. it's work that's taken her to some challenging situations. have you been in places where you've seen births go wrong? >> well, i have been in places where -- where things start go wrong. you know, when i was making my film, for example -- janet's lane is not progress egg. and the threat of death for both
baby and mother is palpable. with no money to pay for food or transport, the nurses ask us to help. it became clear there was a real problem, we organized transport. we intervened. we did this sort of non-documentarian thing to do but we did. >> the human thing to do. >> the human thing to done exactly. but usually it is that difference of an individual, a chance moment of a car coming by that can make the difference in saving somebody's life. >> i know one of the things you're doing is trying to get motorcycles in one community just to get people to transport them. >> it's true. sometimes just getting a motorcycle or a bicycle to get a health worker to the woman is a huge step. even here in the u.s., we do have a problem. we are ranked 50th and we lose two women per day in the united states. >> why is that? i was you kikind of stunned by >> is stunning but obesity is a big problem here. hypertension. race still plays a big role. african-american women are four times more likely to die in child birth than a caucasian
woman. right now, all we know there are parts of mop lation more vulnerable than others and disparities big part of t. >> what aring you to accomplish with every mother counts? >> aware as soon as key exletting people know this is a global problem. i want them to feel like, okay, what can i do? give people tangible ways they can engage. >> christy even put a twist on a classic celebrity fund-raiser, running a marathon. >> it turns out that the distance of a marathon is a pretty average distance a woman will have to transport to emergency obstetric care. we invited a lot of women to join us in a marathon. >> extraordinary way to think about it the distance of a marathon is the distance people have to travel to get to care u. >> shoutouts we got all through new york, especially in the bronx, which is our hot bed for maternal mortal knit new york, people saying, yes, she does count. yeah, that's right. such a fun thing to have people sort of reaffirm what we were wearing on our shirts and what our mission is. >> up next, christie turlington burns travels halfway around the world to see the work a cnn
hero. >> for the poor, we are the only place they can call on. >> later, neotells aj hammer about the children that moved him to give back. will i hope you're enjoying watching cnn heroes, sharing the spotlight. i'm nischelle turner on the red carpet and we are counting down to cnn heroes, an all-star tribute, 2012. what better way to kick this out with an all star than with an all-star hollywood celebrity of our own, viola davis, oscar nominated-actress viola davis. thank you for coming tonight and thank you for participating with us. >> thank you. >> being one of our celebrity presenters. we were talking earlier, you were telling me, off long history with cnn heroes. this is an event you really hold
dear to your heart. >> i do i find it really inspiring. it's -- you know, it's the one event that i feel that people who are kind of celebrated and kind of devoted and loved on are really deserving of it. >> yeah. it definitely is. and one of the things that cnn heroes prides itself on is telling those extraordinary stories of people just like you and me, every day people thought who are really making a difference. how does this differ, this night differ from all of these award shows that you've been to in hollywood? >> well, because we are really -- we are really elevating heroes. we are really elevating people who have stepped out of their lives and they are living for something bigger than themselves, a higher purpose. and in doing that, they are changing the world. i mean, not down play what i do, but i feel like, um, sometimes what we do is very self-serving and i think it's really, really important to remind ourselves in
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our commitment has never been stronger. complications during the birth of her first child eventually led supermodel, christy turlington burns to start a non-profit, every mother counts to advocate for maternal health issues it is a passion she shares with midwife robin lim, honored a as top ten cnn hero in 2011 for helping low-income women having free birthing clinics in bali and indonesia. >> robin lim is a person i had heard about for a long time.
she is, talk about a celebrity, but a celebrity in the birth community. when she was nominated as a cnn here row, you know, i started tweeting away and doing what i could to say suspect this cool, we have a midwife who is nominated. when i got the opportunity to go and meet her, i was just so thrilled. >> so thrilled that she flew halfway around the world the day after running the new york city marathon. wait, you ran a marathon to raise money for every mother counts and the next day you got on a plane to go to bali? >> yeah. yeah. >> is that wise? >> no. i don't think so i felt like i have to do this i have to meet robin lim this is important. >> what was it like in bali? >> going there was surreal. seeing her, it was just a very welcoming experience, something i felt like we were sisters going way, way back. >> welcome to bali. >> so you go into that clinic and you see that the people are happy, it's bustling, it's busy. in terms of emergency obstetric care, can you do pretty much everything here if it comes to that? >> everything necessary. mm-hmm. we have ultrasound.
a situation like your could have had it here. >> what if a transfusion was necessary? >> we do iv fluids and then we transport to a hospital to transfuse. yeah. for the poor, we are the only place they can call on. >> so, robin's whole career has been based on bringing life into the world in the most supporting, loving way. and to see her do it, she sings to them in their own faith, as their baby is being born. ♪ [ baby crying ] ♪ >> so peaceful. >> four kilos? >> her clinic has been running on a donation basis all these years and it takes that, that tenacity. it takes that, like, keep want to say chutzpa, although it is not my language, a unique kind of spirit. >> not sure what the indonesian
word for chutzpa is, but i'm sure they have t. >> my honor to present cnn hero robin lim. >> a few weeks later, christy presented robin with her cnn hero award at cnn, all-star tribute. >> what is it like being at the event? it is unlike any other awards show. it is awesome. sort of that's the bar now that i hold awards shows too. >> oh, yeah? >> i watched it in the past and i was a big fan of the show because, i mean, truly, these are the people we should be selling. person after person that got on the stage, it is like everyone was an amazing person. and it became that much more like how does one choose just one? >> but at the end of the night, cnn virals did just that and ron and christy got some exciting news. >> the 2011 cnn hero of the year is robin lim! what was it like to see heroin? >> remarkable. i think she was truly shocked that she won. she is a real, like, chatty, opinionated person and for the first time, i don't think she
knew what she was going to say but i think she took in that moment with such grace and we've gone on to continue to support robin and her work. >> you keep in touch with her? >> i heard from her last night totally co-incidently. i get an e-mail from her every now and again. i have made a dear, dare friend in robin lim. >> maternal health, christy seems to have found her calling but ultimately, her message is forrors to find what move was them and take action. >> it's very human to want to make a difference. i think that sometimes we just don't know how to do that we should think about our families our communities as its first place of, like, making impact and change. service to others is really what this world is about. it can make a difference. coming up, comedian ben stiller gets serious in haiti. and next, singer ne-yo shares with "showbiz tonight's" a.j. hammer how he is bringing hope to often overlooked children.
you are watching cnn heroes, "sharing the spotlight," we are gearing up here on the red carpet to cnn heroes, an all-star tribute 2012. i'm nischelle turner. right now, i'm not social media suite. now this is where we want you to become a part of the action tonight. and with me, i have found two hollywood heavy hitters, rainn wilson says are you talking to me, rainn wilson and holly robinson peete are with us. you are doing the live blog here, we can see ourselves, cnn.com/backstage and joint conversation. what are you doing, recording us? >> should i hit record? >> yeah you can hit record. >> there >> the other thing i know it is recording us right now, we look good. >> amazing. >> we look like a group. >> look at us. >> look like a song and dance group. i know both of you guys tweet a lot. you both like the twitter. and so tonight, you can go to @cnnheroes talk to people, when people treat this tonight,
it rainn, will you tweet them back? >> all night long. >> we know holly will tweet you back in a minute. >> i'm obsessed with twitter. it comes to social media, standing next this guy, i'm not worthy. >> also join the party at facebook and instagram as well. stay tuned because we are going to be right back with anderson cooper and more of cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight." >> anderson cooper? he's dreamy! what do you got? restrained driver in a motor vehicle. sir, can you hear me? two, three. just hold the bag. we need a portable x-ray, please! [ nurse ] i'm a nurse. i believe in the power of science and medicine. but i'm also human. >> also join the party at . [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere, thank you, from johnson & johnson.
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you know him as ne-yo, but he was born schaffer smith. the only son of sixes, childhood challenges led him to song writing and his first deal with a record lane at the tender age of 22. he went on to write and produce hits for music royalty, including rihanna, janet, jennifer, mariah, celine, mary j. usher, and of course, beyonce. ♪ you must not know about me ♪ you must not know about me >> in a little more than a decade, he has seen three albums gone platinum, claim as many grammys and appeared several films, including george lucas' "red tails." >> congratulations, captain. >> reporter: but more to his story than silver screen debuts and platinum albums, success meet giving back, working with the boys and girls clubs of america and supporting the respect campaign against family violence but his most personal work has been helping kids who often get overlonged, children
in the foster care system. you had such an incredible ride making a name for yourself. but at some point along the way, you made the decision, i want to give back. when was that? >> that was shortly after my first album. he was getting a lot of praise and you know, the money was rolling in. and i've always been told their given a blessing to be a blessing. so i know i wanted a way to give back, i just didn't know exactly what it was gonna be. >> and why foster care? >> well, it was brought to my attention by my business partner, because a lot of the people that were working for our production company came up through, you know, group circuit and foster care around all of that i don't feel like circumstance should ever dictate where it is you go in life. you know, a lot of these kids get counted out before they even get a chance to get into the game, behind the fact that they have that foster child label attached to them. >> there are a lot of challenges that kids in foster care face that a lot of people don't know about. >> as a foster kid, you're
basically bouncing from house to house with, you know, everything that you own in the world in a trash bag. i eight side from that the thing that really struck a chord was the inspiration to be anything other than a child from a group home. to not use the excuse that i grew up in foster care, now? he that's where we decided to step n >> often they are coming from these terrible circumstance and the cycle continues. >> i feel like the reason the cycle continues is because there's nobody there to let it be known this isn't how it has to be. it is a feeling of, well what other option do i have? there are scholarships out there you can get just because you're foster kid and like i can guarantee that you nine out of ten foster kids don't even know that. that's were the foundation steps n our main goal and folk discuss children in foster, getting them these life still skills and information they probably wouldn't be privy to otherwise. making sure their circumstance doesn't become a wall, you know, maybe a speed bump but not a wall. >> let's talk about the compound foundation. what are a couple of the moments that have stood out to you as you've gotten to meet some of
the people affected by what you are doing for them? >> just some of the stories that these kids tell. like kids that know these super long names of these drugs that they are being forced to take because they have behavioral issues is like, he's 5. and you took him away from the only family that he never flew and dropped him here. you think he isn't going to have behavioral issues? you know, as opposed to teaching this child right from wrong, you medicate him and turn a kid into a zombie. it sucks. sucks. supremely. but you know, the compound foundation, we are here and we are doing what we can. >> each year, his non-profit runs a future ceo academy that helps teens in foster care and group homes develop entrepreneurial skills. for ne-yo, it's all about giving kids hope and faith in themselves. it's something he needed when he was growing up. >> my mom, she worked her fingers to the bone to make sure me and my sister never needed for anything. she would always say that wants are trivial but needs are
ironclad. you know, you need food, you need shelter, you need, you know, someone on this planet that genuinely loves you. i will make sure that you always have these things but as far as, you know, that new pair of nikes, uh, maybe not. >> every kid in foster care obviously has a different story, they have dealt with different situations. >> of course. >> what can you relate to from your childhood? >> well, yeah, you know, i mean, my mother and father did not get along very well. dad checked out relatively early. avenues pretty angry guy, you know, so i -- me and my sister, we saw some things that at that age we probably should not have seen. but she -- my mom was always very, very real and straightforward with us and just made us understand that people don't get along sometimes, doesn't mean that anybody loves any less, doesn't mean that it's your fault or anything like that. sometimes negative things happen. >> you ask a lot of people who their hero is in life, i'm betting you figured out at a very early age that your mom was
your hero? >> oh, yeah, yeah. super early. yeah. i credit my mom for my love of music. when my mom and dad split up, there was a lot of anger in me. like, i got the whole, okay, people don't get along, granted. but i'm your kid. why -- why was i not good enough for you to at least stick around for that part of it? so my mom gave me the pen and the pad and told me to write it down and from that, eventually, turned into song writing which eventually turned into the man you see before you. so, if not for that music, there's really no telling where i might have wound up. what we did we put music studios into group homes. >> ready? one, two, three. i'm fig grurg music can do what it did for me, got work the same way as them. >> maybe discovering real talent here. >> the next ne-yo might come out of one of these group homes. you never know. you never know. >> coming up, how fatherhood made ne-yo a better role model. >> hinted your hustle. >> yeah. later, ben stiller turns
funny into money for haiti's school children. i know you're enjoying cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight," i'm nischelle turner here on the red carpet where we are minutes away from cnn heroes, an all-star tribute 2012. look who i found here with me, jane lynch. thank you so much for being a part of this night tonight. >> well it is my honor to be here this is one of my favorite events of the year and it's really nice when we shine the spotlight on people we otherwise might not have heard about, who are doing extraordinary things. >> yes, you are. you are presenting to mary pore tanny tonight, you went into the field to see the work that she does first harden with the service dogs for veterans. >> that's right. mary is a veteran herself and she takes shelter dogs and matches them one our wounded vet transand she traipse the dogs and she teaches the veterans how
to be with them and they heal each other. it's an amazing relationship h i was in gilroy, california, i spent the day with her and watched her training the dogs. i talked to some of the vets, david rodriguez one of them, an amazing guy you will meet tonight. and she does work that is just so straight from the heart and a such loyalty and dedication to these guys and it's wonderful. >> absolutely. you know what, if you want to join and help mary's cause, you can go to cnn.com. the donations page. help donate. 100% of the donations go to the foundation. you stay tuned. we will return in just a moment with more cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight." ♪
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after his father left, r & b star, ne-yo, paved his way into platinum music and grammy cold, translating his feelings into words. since becoming a grammy star, he shared suck southwest thousands of you, by creating the compound foundation in 2007. the non-profit teach foster kids life skills throughout the year but every season, he does a multicity giving tour, bringing presents to more than 2,000 children in foster care around the boys and girls clubs of america. >> the boys and girls club, a huge part of who you have become as a person. >> absolutely. see, i'm -- boys and girls club alumni. we partner up and give toys and bikes and clothes and just -- to these kids who honestly might not have such a good christmas otherwise. so that's just to make sure these kids understand you are not counted out. >> and you appear on a poster with the words "be a gentleman." pretty simple. >> indeed. indeed. >> the importance of being a gentleman was something that was brought to my attention about the age i was in that picture,
the importance of being courteous you can the importance of being chivalrous, the importance of outward appearance. and i felt like that's definitely a lesson that today's generation needs learn h >> you didn't ask to be a role model, i see you take it very seriously. >> one of the great lines in the first spider-man movie was -- >> with great power comes great responsibility. >> some of the truest words that were spoken. >> i get the impression as a kid you were particularly into superheroes? >> yeah. >> was part of it because of that lack of a male force in your life, do you think? >> now that i long back on it maybe that did play a part. >> did you have a guy growing up who was that role model to you that you are to so many? >> nope. nope. nope. nope. nope. my mom taught me how to be a mark as odd as that sounds. >> i'm sure it has informed your philanthropy? >> my mom said if it hurts, cry. if it feels good, laugh, smile and never be afraid do either one. so, i will say that definitely taught me to not be afraid of to
my emotions. it taught me to think with this, you know? i mean definitely think here but think with this as well, you know? >> you will know there are hard-core performers who might specifically avoid getting involved with something philanthropic because of,could impact their street cred. >> that is the stupidest thing i ever heard in my life. there's a handful of entertainers that want to do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it and face no consequences to their action. there are a handful of entertainers that understand there are people, kids, emulating what you it is i'm doing, maybe i should give them a more positive thing to look at, a more positive thing to emulate. >> have you at all found as a performer, people don't take you as seriously with your philanthropy? >> in the beginning. it was up to me to show all of the naysayer this is not about
vanity fwhoirkts selling albums not about money. for me, this was about helping these this case need this help. >> perhaps as a father? you have a very special -- i just saw your face light up. >> yeah. >> you're a proud dad. i know you are. >> definitely. from the second i saw my kids, it was -- there's nothing that i won't do to make sure you are okay, legal, illegal, whatever, as long as you're all right, i'm all for it. >> actually becoming a dad make you work that much harder at giving these kids a better life, perhaps giving them a father figure? >> i can honestly say, yeah, i almost see my kids' facesize look at these kids. so it heightens your hustle, so to speak. >> obviously thrilled you are part of cnn heroes, an all-star tributele. why did you want to be part of this show? >> the negative is celebrated more than the positive these days, the people truly doing positive things for the right reason, needs to be celebrated and recognized. this show is celebrating them, so how could i not be a part of this? >> we can't wait to see you get
on stage and perform what are you going to be singing? >> there is a song i wrote called "heroes," which basically speaks on the fact that even heroes need heroes at some point, you know, that person that is the lifesaver, you know, who saves his life when he get necessary trouble? you know, just people helping people helping people. >> i imagine you have people looking to you for what can i do for you, ne-yo? >> absolutely. absolutely. what can i do for you, ne-yo? what do you need? what do you need? i got everything i need. it's time for me to turn that around and ask everybody else what it is that they need, 'cause i have been blessed with more than i could have ever asked for through this music. now it's time to turn it around and give it back. coming up, ben stiller takes funny seriously for haiti's school children.
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hello, everyone, i'm nischelle turner at the shrine auditorium you the cnn heroes social media suite. we are gearing up for cnn heroeses, an all-star tribute, 2012. if you look behind me, here we have our twitter board, join the conversation with us at hash tag cnn heroes or #cnn hero he is. tell us what you like tonight, i have holly robinson peete and oscar win, driedian brody, they are on the cnn.com live blog, cnn.com/backstage and you can talk and join the conversation. do it with them, they may talk back to you. now return to cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight."
hollywood writer, producer, actor and director, for nearly two decades, ben stiller's star has skyrocketed, beating the odds, smashing box office records year after hilarious year. with more than 5 billion ticket sales, he has been called the world's biggest comic movie star. in fact, he is the only actor three billion dollar franchises to his name t is a name he shares with his famous father, jerry stiller who along with wife and legendary comic partner, anne meara, introduced their son to show business early on the he wasted to name breaking into the business but aspider a serious film career, a 1987 support video he called "the hustler of money" that grabbed hollywood's attention. >> come on, who's next? you want to bowl? >> it led to a big break performing on "saturday night live" in 1989.
>> waaaa -- >> guys, come on. >> an emmy for "the ben stiller show" in 1993. >> i know i'm missing it and it breaks my heart. >> his extraordinary comedic success has come as something of a surprise, an ironic twist in his quest to be a serious filmmaker but in hollywood, funny is serious money and in recent years, ben has used his comedic gifts to tackle some of the most soccer human crises we face. i recently caught up with ben to find out how he turned into a philanthropist. how did you start doing philanthropic work? >> got asked to do a photo for save the children, but a rewrite the future campaign they were doing and i had never gone to developing world countries and they asked, hey, do you want to go? i was at a point in my life where i was kind of wanting to figure out a way to get involved some. how so i went to uganda and from
that trip, you know, saw a lot of stuff that i previously really only seen on television. and then after that, they invite node go inviteed me to go to haiti six months before the quake. seeing this huge need there, there is a huge domestic poverty issue here but to go there and see that level of poverty so close to the united states, which reminded me of what i had just seen in africa, it was very affecting. >> were you wary as a celebrity to get involved? it is such a -- you can be mocked. i heard you used to be skeptical of celebrity house got involved in stuff? >> i think i was pretty cynical for a long time, because i think charity work in itself can have the opposite affect of people drawing attention to themselves for it. it is very says to sat tar rise because a lot of ego in show business is related to saying, hey, taking yourself very seriously. funchts would have accused ben of taking celebrity philanthropy too seriously in 2001 when his
on-screen persona, mod willing of the moment, derek zoolander, raised funds for the center of kids who can't read good. >> here for the center for kids who can't read good, we teach students of all ages everything they need to know to be a professional model and a professional human being. >> as an actor it is hard, because you don't want to be doing it to draw attention to yourself but yet earthquake the reason that people will, you know, listen to you on any level is because they, you know, they know who you are. >> right. a strange position to be in. >> yeah. it doesn't make you an expert on anything just to be someone who's, you know, famous but you can still have the point of view, try to shine some light on issues that can help -- somehow help, not just by having the attention put on it. >> i guess when i heard sean penn was going down there didn't really know him, met him a couple of times and really skeptical of him down there and then when you actually see what's done, it's really
extraordinary. >> i remember seeing him when katrina happened that picture of him in a row boat, i remember thinking of course we all want to help, sean penn what is he doing in a row boat, necessary a row boat, he is trying to help. i guess the change in thinking for me was like, is he kooky? no, he is actually trying to help people, he doesn't care how he does it. i thought that is actually really good example and shouldn't worry about what people are going to say and whether or not they have an opinion about that he just wants to do something. >> i think sean would say he is kind of kooky, too. >> sean is kooky, nothing to do that. >> being known for comedy, it was hard to be taken seriously? i don't think i wanted to take myself too seriously about t people want to help and looking for ways to help. people take the lead and want to do this for me, i got inspired by sean, wow, i suck, i should be doing something, i should be at least trying to do some little part to help. i feel like it is not about having to be taken seriously, just really about doing something, i think people see that and inspires them to want
to do something. >> that is exactly what ben did, focusing his efforts on educating haiti's children, he launched stiller strong in twintwin 2009, the video including you bill clinton, owen wilson, ryan seacrest and robert den fire in row we -- robert de niro were a viral hit you can raising $300,000 to help children refurbish a school in haiti. asides from the location -- a relief worker said haiti gets to you, once it gets to you, it kind of never leaves you. >> is a special place, a creative energy there that is really strong in terms of music and art and amidst all of, the dichotomy of this incredible poverty there, it is also a very beautiful place. like more people should come here and just see what it is because there's so many great
things here that -- then the earthquake happened and that changed or changed everything. >> coming up, disaster strikes and ben commit to s to helping i rebuild. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
show tonight. first of all, you can talk on our live blog, cnn.com/backstage, and talk us to. also, join us on twittetwitter, #cnn heroes, you can loss onto facebook and facebook.com/cnnheroes, instagram at cnn.com/cnn heroes, only a lit bit of time to get ready. now, let's send you back to cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight." ready. now, let's send you back to cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight." ready. now, let's send you back to cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight." ready. now, let's send you back to cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight." ready. now, let's send you back to cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight." ready. now, let's send you back to cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight."t ready. now, let's send you back to cnn heroes "sharing the spotlight." just months after ben stiller was inspired to help educate haiti's youth, the devastating earthquake of 2010 shook the country to its core. with hundreds of thousands dead and injured, among the casualties were thousands of hate test, teachers, students and schools n response, ben redoubled his commitment to the island nation and its children, helping to raise millions of
dollars for non-profit partners working in haiti to rebuild nine schools and counting. you created the stiller foundation? >> yeah. though i feel very uncomfortable with the name, the stiller foundation. lebron james should have a foundation. i wanted to call it the jennifer aniston foundation because i thought we would get more attention. >> what? stiller? >> i wanted the jennifer aniston make itten foundation to get more hits. >> that was probably taken already. >> she did not want to do that. yeah. >> how do you make sure that the money goes where it is supposed to go and you get the impact that you want to have? >> that's the stuff you learn about as you get more involved and just realize how complicated it is, especially in the whole world of organizations that are out there trying to do good. you try to be really aware of transparency and accountability.
>> your foundation partners about other -- >> yeah, other. i didn't want to start another ngo because i first felt like i'm not qualified to do that i don't really -- i don't have any great, you know, ideas on how to get clean water or to really solve education issues. i'm not an expert on that i just wanted to be able to help people i thought were doing good work and actually getting things done. >> how tough is it actually to get stuff done, like in haiti? >> i think it's hard, very hard, something like 9 or 10,000 ngos in haiti for a population of 9 or 10 million people so it is a huge amount of organizations that most of the time aren't really coordinated. so it's really about i think, patience and just knowing that if you -- if you stick with it and work with people who you believe are doing the right thing, i think that's all you can really do. >> is it strange to go to a place like haiti and see the things you see there and do the work you're doing there and then come back and be on the red carpet and, you know -- it is strange, but you also
have to then say this okay -- show business is weird and ridiculous. so why not use that ridiculous platform for nothing try to help people? >> does help? nch>> >> once the erik is over, people move on to the other thing this is the reality of world to keep talking about something not in the forefront of people's minds, that is difficult. >> do you get recognized, like in port-au-prince? >> not too much. it's kind of depression. no. [ laughter ] the reality -- >> that's what this is really about, isn't it? >> you know, it's a country that doesn't have -- don't have a single movie theater right now. you see what the reality of these people are dealing with, show business is not one of the priorities. >> they got to get their priorities state? >> should get their priorities straight and talk to my agent about making sure i get more exposure. there's cool art deco theaters in and around the presidential palace, all closed down. >> but they are in the process of getting some theaters going.
>> are they? >> yeah and one of the projects that we are funding is haiti's film school. >> that's interesting. >> i did like a q & a with some of the students about a movie i direct ready, made some really hard-hitting questions. >> they did? like what? >> it was about "tropic thunder" and asked me if i thought it was really funny to make fun of war and i was trying to explain to them it was making fun of the actors. >> i'm sorry, can we cut? but funny to re-engage with the movie, like four years ago, the movie came out. i thought i had taken all the tough questions already. movie "tropic thunder" -- >> the explosion of the director in "tropic thunder," what does it mean to you and what message did you want to convey? >> let's go and make the greatest war movie ever! >> yeah! >> yeah!
>> yeah! >> yeah! [ gunshot ] >> sometimes as an ac to you want to blow up the director. [ laughter ] so we thought it might be interesting, funny and surprising to have a character all of a sudden disappear very early in the movie you weren't expect egg. >> genius. did they get it? >> they did get it. they were amazing. >> do you think about hate taye lot? >> when you see the reality you there, the good and bad it is part of your life and no way not to be living our life right here, right now, not knowing how people are living down there and what they are having to deal w the people there are very resilient, they have been through so much and our history so interconnected with haiti, too, because it is so close to us. i