Actor George Clooney admitted stealing ideas and having doubts about his own acting abilities when he unveiled his new film at the Venice Film festival.
George Clooney uses archive footage of Joe McCarthy in his film
Clooney, who has directed his second film Goodnight and Good Luck, told a press conference on Thursday that he had "stolen from every other director".
Clooney also co-wrote and co-starred in the film, which centres on the 1950s communist witch-hunt in America.
He said he enjoyed having other roles as acting was "not my greatest forte".
Filmed in black and white, Goodnight and Good Luck chronicles the battle between real-life TV journalist Edward R Murrow, played by David Strathairn, and Senator Joe McCarthy.
Clooney, 44, said that for his new film, he had stolen ideas "from a lot of documentary makers".
"When I did Confessions of a Dangerous Mind I sent an apology to (two film-makers) for stealing shots from them," he said.
"Acting is, as I've proven time and time again, not my greatest forte. Balancing the two is interesting," he said.
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Clooney's father was a TV news anchor for 30 years and Mr Murrow was considered a hero by the family.
Self-styled "old liberal" Clooney said the film was not aimed at criticising the current US administration.
"There are a group of people out there who are trying to change history and say McCarthy was a good guy," he said.
"We know that he was right about a couple of people he named as spies, of the thousands he named, but that doesn't matter."
Senator Joe McCarthy presided over anti-communist investigations
Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Daniels and Patricia Clarkson also star in the film, one of 19 movies vying for the prestigious Golden Lion.
Others include The Constant Gardener, starring Ralph Fiennes, the Kate Winslet musical Romance and Cigarettes, and Ang Lee's western Brokeback Mountain.
Clooney was the first A-list Hollywood star to grace the festival, which opened on Wednesday.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Renee Zellweger and Russell Crowe are expected to appear.