George Clooney and Renee Zellweger were greeted by an excited London crowd at the European premiere of their new film Leatherheads on Tuesday night.

The former ER star and his leading lady appeared at the Leicester Square gala screening of their screwball comedy set in the world of 1920s American Football.

Leatherheads had been expected to debut at the top of the box office charts in the US but, after a disappointing opening weekend, had to settle for third spot after earning $13.5 million (£6.8 million) in its first three days on release, some $1.6 million (£806,000) less than gambling movie 21, which stayed at the top for a second week.

The film hits UK screens on Friday and at a press conference before the premiere, Clooney joked about his sex symbol status.

"What's not to love?" he said. "How much time do we have? I think it's really hair."

Zellweger, 38, interjected: "It looks almost natural."

Clooney - who has a 'messenger of peace' role with the United Nations - visited prime minister Gordon Brown earlier in the day to call for action in the wartorn region of Darfur.

Mr Brown agreed the situation is "unacceptable" and added "the world must take note and act".

He also thanked Clooney for "the leadership [he] has shown in drawing attention to this crisis".

09/04/2008 10:37:54