“Monuments Men” Explores Little Known Fact
U.S. Release Date: 2/7/14
Not too many people are aware that, during World War 11, artists, art dealers and architects – guys considered way too old for normal military service – hit the front lines to nab masterpieces of art, which had been stolen by Hitler, and return them to their rightful owners.
George Clooney, the movie’s director and co- star, says the Monuments Men, faced with the possibility that cultural icons could be ravaged and destroyed, assumed the mantle of preventing the loss of six million art treasures.
“They weren’t going to let that happen – and the truth of the matter is, they pulled it off.”
Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Hugh Bonneville make up the unlikely team determined to get the job done. Cate Blanchette plays a Frenchwoman who knows a thing or two about where a good chunk of the stolen art is stored.
“Wars are fought by 18-year-olds,” says Clooney. “Once you get to the John Goodmans and the Bob Balabans and the George Clooneys, you know – these guys are not getting drafted.”
Grant Heslov, Clooney’s writing and producing partner, adds:
“They did it because it was clear that they were the only people who could do it.”
Clooney says his pic honors The Great Escape, The Guns of Navarone and The Dirty Dozen – films which he believes allowed the audience to fall in love with characters and actors, as well as the story.
“We thought The Monuments Men was a great chance to cast interesting contemporary actors together for our version of that kind of movie – it’s a fun and entertaining way to do it.”
One might think that such an ensemble of big stars would be competing with one another for screen time, but Clooney says there was no such squabbling.
“There was a huge generosity of spirit in all the actors – they were willing to come and play, because they were all enjoying each other’s company.”
In fact, Clooney, in a recent interview with Variety, says the cast accepted major pay cuts to star in the film.
“If you pay everybody a full boatload, it’s a $150 million film,” Clooney, who remained under his $70 million budget, tells the publication. “You just can’t do it. Everybody worked for super cheap, like crazy cheap.”
For the actor / filmmaker, The Monuments Men wasn’t about big bucks going into his pocket – he was far more interested in putting the story on screen.
“I had some understanding that Hitler was stealing s–t,” he says in an interview with E. “I didn’t understand he was taking all of it. They don’t teach that in school. That’s why I loved the story.”
Studio: Sony Pictures
Director: George Clooney
Screenwriters: George Clooney & Grant Heslov, based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter.
Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett
Producers: Grant Heslov and George Clooney
Executive Producer: Barbara A. Hall
Image Info: (l to r) John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray in Columbia Pictures’ THE MONUMENTS MEN.PHOTO BY:Claudette BariusCOPYRIGHT:© 2013 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.