Known for producing and/or starring in films boasting overt political themes, George Clooney is looking to add yet another one to his resume with a new espionage thriller entitled "The Monuments Men", based on the true story of a group of American and British art experts who were dispatched to track down artwork stolen by the Nazis during WWII.
“It’s a fun movie because it could be big entertainment," Clooney told The Wrap during a red carpet interview last night at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, where he was accepting the Chairman's Award for his work in "The Descendants" and "The Ides of March". "It’s a big budget, you can’t do it small - it’s landing in Normandy.”
The actor will co-write, direct and star in the film, which he's producing with creative partner Grant Heslov. The two started their own company, Smoke House, in 2006, after their successful collaboration on the 2005 film "Good Night, and Good Luck", which was nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director (Clooney) and Best Original Screenplay (Clooney and Heslov). Their most recent film was last year's "The Ides of March" starring Clooney and Ryan Gosling.
Set up at Sony, "The Monuments Men" is based on the non-fiction book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History" by Robert M. Edsel. It will focus on a specific 11-month period of time occurring between D-Day (June 6, 1944) and V-E Day (May 8, 1945).
“I’m not opposed to doing a commercial film, I’m just opposed to doing a commercial film that doesn’t feel organic to me," said Clooney, speaking on the project's mixture of popular appeal and political resonance. "So if we’re going to do a commercial film we thought, 'Let’s do something that seems fun and actually have something to say.'”
Clooney's next film is Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity", a sci-fi thriller co-starring Sandra Bullock. It's slated for release in November.