George Clooney to Film Tale of World War II Art Historians

George Clooney’s next movie will tell the story of the men and women who helped to rescue art stolen by Adolf Hitler.

The Monuments Men, a 2009 book by Robert Edsel, recounts how a group of art experts landed at Normandy during the Second World War and subsequently helped to save priceless art looted by the Nazis. Clooney confirmed to reporters at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Saturday that he would direct and star in Monuments Men, and that his film partner Grant Heslov would again be on production duties. Clooney said:

“It’s an amazing story, and Grant 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 Rembrants in a coffin.”

The 11 experts who conducted the art-saving mission were all civilians, untrained in combat, who faced live fire in the war. Two of the group would die while on the mission. Between them, there was a rich artistic background, and their number included the founder of the New York City Ballet, Lincoln Kirstein.

The love story in the film (apparently also true to real-life events) involves Rose Valland, a member of the French Resistance who also tracked down looted art during the war.

Clooney, who previously directed acclaimed political drama The Ides of March, told press members at the Palm Springs festival that Monuments Men was his top priority. It’s certainly a different angle for a World War II flick – is it one that would interest you?