George Clooney began The Monuments Men filming from Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday, March 5, Twentieth Century Fox and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced in a joint release.
Clooney will direct and star in the film, which also features an all-star cast consisting of Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, and Jean Dujardin.
The Monuments Men is based on the Robert Edsel book of the same name, which tells the true story of a World War II platoon comprised of seven museum directors, art historians, and curators, who are tasked by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the task of recovering priceless artistic masterpieces from the Nazis.
Complicating the task for these non-soldiers was the fact Hitler and his Reich were growing desperate as they sensed defeat. As a result, the German army was tasked with destroying everything as the Reich crumbled.
To accomplish their mission, “The Monuments Men” had to risk their lives to preserve more than 1,000 years of culture represented in the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Johannes Vermeer, among others, The New York Times noted.
At the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2012, George Clooney explained why The Monuments Men would be his next film.
“It’s an amazing story, and Grant [Heslov] and I are already thinking about how great the casting can be. And there’s also a great love story. … Hitler was an art fanatic, and he stashed masterpieces everywhere. He hid 27 Rembrandts in a coffin,” Clooney said.
In addition to starring and directing chores, Clooney co-wrote the screenplay with Heslov, who partnered with him previously in producing Best Picture-winner Argo.
In December 2012, rumors broke that Damon would be stepping into the number two casting slot.
Other cast members had already been announced, so the inclusion of Damon was the final piece of the puzzle for Clooney, who previously worked with Damon on Syriana.
George Clooney and The Monuments Men are expected to close filming in June for a December 18, 2013, release date.
Do you think Clooney will strike Oscar gold two years in a row, and how excited are you for The Monuments Men?