George Clooney has kicked off work on a new project, a big-budget affair set in Europe during World War II. Clooney will be writing, directing and starring in the movie, entitled Monuments Men, which will follow a group of art experts selected by the US Government to locate and retrieve artwork stolen by the Nazis. The film will be based on the Robert M. Edsel book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History”. Hit the jump for Clooney’s comments, as well as the full synopsis of the book.
Usually Clooney works within a relatively small budget, with his most expensive film to date, Leatherheads in 2008, still costing only $58 million. This time around, Clooney has his sights set bigger. Speaking at Palm Springs Film Festival on Saturday (per The Wrap), Clooney said, “I’m excited about it. It’s a fun move because it could be big entertainment. It’s a big budget, you can’t do it small — it’s landing in Normandy.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Clooney will be teaming with his long time writing partner Grant Heslov (Good Night and Good Luck). Their most recent collaboration, The Ides of March, was generally well received by audiences and critics alike and has a wealth of awards nominations under its belt including for the 2012 Producers Guild Awards.
Clooney acknowledged Monuments Men is intended as a commercial venture for Sony Pictures, saying,
“I’m not opposed to doing a commercial film. I’m just opposed to doing a commercial film that doesn’t feel organic to me. So if we’re going to do a commercial film we thought, ‘Let’s do something that seems fun and actually have something to say.’”
Will this be National Treasure meets Inglourious Basterds? Probably not, but it’s certainly something a little different. George Clooney will next star in Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity when it opens November 21 2012 and if you missed it, he spoke to us about that movie late last year.
Here’s the synopsis for Edsel’s book:
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: “degenerate” works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis. [Amazon]