The actor and director justifies making 'The Monuments Men.'
World War II movies: haven't we had our fill of them yet? Apparently not, according to George Clooney who is currently watching his new war film, The Monuments Men, open across the world after months of anticipation. For every soldier there are a thousand stories and millions fought across all of the nations involved in the Second World War. If that's the case, we've barely scratched the surface.
George Clooney Assembled A Truly Fine Cast For His WWII Movie, 'The Monuments Men.'
Clooney's new film looks at the war from a different kind of frontline; the monuments men were an unlikely platoon of museum directors, curators and art historians who were tasked with finding and saving priceless cultural artefacts against the Nazi plunder. Based on a book by Robert Edsel, the film takes a fairly upbeat approach to this lesser known story and adds one of the finest casts to expect from any movie all year.
As well as directing, Clooneys stars in the movie as the leader of the anti-arts theft effort with John Goodman, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Hugh Bonneville, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchett and Bob Balaban. "People go, 'Really? Another World War Two film?'" said Clooney to The Telegraph. "But this is such a unique story about a trek through the war to find all the stolen art work before Hitler destroys it."
The actor and director added "It was the biggest art heist in the world and Hitler was robbing countries of their culture as well as killing their people," he explains. "It wasn't just a little bit of art. We're talking about six million pieces of the best art in the world. They were burning Picassos and Salvador Dalis because they thought the art was degenerate."
Clooney insists that although the story and characters have been tweaked in places for artistic license, The Monuments Men very much hits hard with the thrill, danger and daring of what the team were doing. The team were aged between 40 and 60 when they were dropped on a Normandy beach and told: "Go and find the art," says Clooney.
"These guys were the ultimate fish out of water. They weren't soldiers at all. Nobody wanted to help them and nobody cared until they found a treasure trove of stolen art works."
Clooney also admitted that whilst he relishes directing the players, he found the necessary computer-generated scenes hard to get his head around. "I'm still confused at times with big computer-generated pieces but we have to do them because it's 1944, we're bringing tanks into occupied France and we're not going to drive down the Champs-Elysées without changing a few things," he joked.
Bill Murray chipped in to herald The Monuments Men as the best Clooney-directed film yet. "This is going to be one of the best looking movies I've ever seen," he said.
The Monuments Men is out now in the USA and UK.
There's Always Room For More War Movies: 'The Monuments Men' Is Out Now.