The next film George Clooney will direct and star in, “The Monuments Men,” has already cast a wide and impressive array of actors including Daniel Craig, Jean DuJardin, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. As first reported on deadline.com Tuesday, Clooney’s pal Matt Damon “is negotiating” to join this impressive cast.
The project looks promising on either a pure entertainment or possibly even an “Oscar bait” level. The script, co-written by Clooney and Grant Heslov, who will also star, is based on the “non-fiction novel” The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter. The intriguing Amazon synopsis of this book reads:
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.
The source material has already invited comments like “Clooney is mounting his own period version of Ocean’s Eleven” on this Collider post. And I see a lot of people saying stuff like “‘Oceans’ meets ‘The Dirty Dozen'” in various comments sections. Personally, I even see the potential for a “Raiders of the Lost Ark”–like feel with academic types becoming unlikely adventurers. Mostly I like the idea of people like “museum directors, curators, art historians, and others” (others!) being the heroes in what could be mounted as some kind of big budget action-adventure movie. Though with this cast I could see it being done either as a more sober historical drama or something more fun and pulpy.