Matt Damon may join up with George Clooney in Clooney’s new film “The Monuments Men” to retrieve artwork stolen by Nazis, according to Deadline. Clooney is directing and starring in the film.
Clooney is co-writing the film with his producer Grant Heslov. “The Monuments Men” is set in the last moments of the Nazi party rule in Germany. Clooney’s film is based on a real life group of American men and women chosen by the U.S government who sought to retrieve artwork before its destruction by the Nazis.
Clooney plays George Stout, a U.S. Army officer and leading art conservationist. He’s part of the team trying to recover tens of thousands of pieces of stolen artwork. There is no word yet on what role Damon would play.
The film already has a star studded cast. Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, and Hugh Bonneville have signed onto the film. Blanchett will play Rose Valland, an art historian and member of the French Resistance. Craig’s role in the film is not yet determined.
Clooney is currently looking for someone to play Lincoln Kirstein, who was an art connoisseur and co-founder of the New York City Ballet. Kirstein was involved with retrieving artwork around Munich and in the salt mines around Altaussee during the war. At one point Paul Giamatti was considered for the role.
“The Monuments of Men” is co-produced by Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox. The film will use the same production crew that Ben Affleck employed for Oscar contender “Argo.” Filming starts next month in Europe and will take place in Germany, Austria, France, and England.
Damon and Clooney have worked together on “Ocean’s 11” and its two sequels. The pair also worked on the geopolitical thriller “Syrianna” in 2005.
“Monuments of Men” will be the fifth film Clooney has directed. He last directed the political thriller, “Ides of March” which was well received by critics. He co-wrote the film with Heslov and Beau Willimon. Clooney helped write the 2005 film “Good Night and Good Luck” in which he also starred. “Good Night and Good Luck” is about veteran radio and television journalist Edward R. Murrow.
Clooney’s film is based on Robert Edsel’s book The Monuments of Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. The book focuses on the work of American and British art experts to find and retrieve stolen artwork throughout Europe during the 11 month period between D-Day (invasion of the Normandy coast in France) and VE Day (Victory in Europe, the end of the war on the European front).