New film “The Monuments Men” starts pre- production in LA
A film directed by Hollywood A- lister George Clooney has started pre- production in LA this month. The film is based on the book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” by Robert M. Edsel. It is about Adolf Hitler’s attempts to steal the most important art in Europe and set up the worlds greatest museum, in Berlin. 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.
Clooney will be writing, directing and starring in the film, a co-production along with his partner, Grant Heslov. Clooney stated at the Palm Springs Film Festival on Saturday; “I’m excited about this project, It’s a fun move because it could be big entertainment. It’s a big budget, you can’t do it small, it’s la anding in Normandy.” “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. So if we’re going to do a commercial film we thought, ‘Let’s do something that seems exciting and actually has something to say.’”
Robert Edsel began his career in the oil and gas exploration business. In 1996 he moved to Europe to pursue his interests in the arts. Settling in Florence seeing some of the great works, he wondered how all of the monuments and art treasures survived the devastation of World War II. During the ensuing years, he devoted himself to finding the answer. In the process, he commissioned major research that has resulted in this book. Robert also coproduced the related documentary film, The Rape of Europa, and wrote Rescuing Da Vinci, a photographic history of an art heist of epic proportions and the Allied rescue effort. The author lives in Dallas.
Clooney and Heslov have tackled other political or socially-oriented subjects in the past with films like,“Ides of March” which portrayed a corrupt political campaign, and “Good Night and Good Luck,” a look at the limits of freedom of the press. “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” was also a meaty subject exploring the Middle East.
Photo: Hitler visits a museum in 1938