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Directing The Monuments Men

TheMonuments men 2The Monuments Men is not your average Nazi war movie. Shot all over Germany the action drama story is based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful, mostly Jewish owners. This group of seven museum directors, curators, and art historians risk their lives to stop the destruction of 1000 years of culture. 

From Director George Clooney, the film stars Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett. The screenplay is by Clooney and Grant Heslov, based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. 

The story is fascinating and untold. The power of the film shines a light on a story many people are oblivious too.  

Most of the film is a true story with a few additions for extra viewing enjoyment. The filmmakers wanted to create a positive outlook to what was a devastating war.  “We wanted to make an entertaining story,” said Clooney. “We liked the story. We weren’t all that familiar with the original story which is rare for a World War II film.”

The-MonumentsMen 1Clooney finds inspiration going after stories other filmmakers wouldn’t choose to take on. “I think Grant [Heslov] and I, who have been partners for a long time, try to find stories that are unique and that are stories that aren’t necessarily slam dunks for the studio to make,” said Clooney. “Its hard to make films like [The Monuments Men]. Sometimes they’re successful and sometimes they aren’t, but those are the ones we want to make.” 

This story drew Clooney in the first time he read it.. He admitted to “prefer directing to doing other things. Directing and writing seem to be infinitely more creative.” Having worked with the industry’s finest directors including the Coen brothers, Alexander Payne and Steven Soderbergh, Clooney was ready to sit in the director’s chair and give it his all. “You succeed some, you fail some and you keep slugging away at it,” said Clooney. “I really enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s tricky directing yourself obviously but I enjoy directing. I don’t know if its improving or not but its certainly evolving in different directions.” 

Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett were both on board to shoot in Germany. “I loved working there,” said Damon. “I’ve worked there before on the second Bourne film. So I’ve spent a lot of time in Berlin. Its one of my favorite cities in the world.” 

Blanchett knew Germany was the perfect place to shoot The Monuments Men apart from the obvious reasons but because given that the film deals with the importance of culture. “The amount of artist living and working in Berlin is unparalleled,” says Blanchett. “It’s one of the strongest economies not just in Europe but globally and its because of its understanding of the importance of culture. So it felt fantastic to be working there.”

The Monuments Men hits theaters nationwide on February 7, 2014. 

 

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