George Clooney's Next Movie Is Based on a Story You Won't Believe

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 8 2013 2:23 PM

Clooney's Next Movie Is Based on a Story You Won't Believe

John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray in Monuments Men.

© Columbia Pictures, 2013

Good news for film fans: The George Clooney-Grant Heslov partnership is alive and well. The Monuments Men, directed by Clooney and co-written and co-produced by Heslov, just released its first trailer, and it tells a true story that seems almost too far-fetched to believe.

The movie is based on Robert Edsel’s book of the same name about the efforts of seven of the so-called “Monuments Men” (formally, the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program), an Allied force of about 400 men and women tasked with locating and protecting cultural treasures threatened by the Nazi regime. In short, these Ivy League art professors, museum curators, and art historians, often without formal supervision, braved the trenches of World War II to ensure the survival of Europe’s cultural history. After learning about this, George Clooney had the same thought any sane person would: Sounds like a movie.


But is Clooney on the hunt for anything more? Until now, his directorial career has mirrored his frequent social activism: The probing Good Night, and Good Luck and the cynical Ides of March were explicit in their political messages. Those movies also gunned for Oscars, and Oscar prognosticators have been expecting a similar campaign from his latest feature.

Monuments Men, however, seems bereft of agenda, and concerned much more with old-fashioned Hollywood entertainment—not quite as playful (or bad, hopefully) as Clooney’s Leatherheads, but still aimed at delivering laughs and adventure. From the trailer, the film doesn’t seem to be baiting Oscar, but the pitch to buddy Matt Damon must have been simple: “It’s Ocean’s Eleven meets Saving Private Ryan, and in between takes we can hang with John Goodman, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett!”

Damon was down, and so am I.

Sharan Shetty is a writer for Brow Beat. You can follow him on Twitter


The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

Should the United States Grant Asylum to Victims of Domestic Violence?

The Apple Watch Will Make Everyone Around You Just a Little Worse Off

This Was the First Object Ever Designed

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 


How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest jewels.


A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now …

The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.

Is Everyone Going to Declare Independence if Scotland Does It? 

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Trending News Channel
Sept. 12 2014 11:26 AM Identical Twins Aren’t Really Identical
  News & Politics
Sept. 12 2014 7:24 PM Come and Take It Libertarians fight for people whose property was seized by the police.
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
Sept. 12 2014 3:32 PM Yes, Those Straight Guys Who Wed for Rugby Tickets Are Mocking Marriage. What’s New?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
Brow Beat
Sept. 14 2014 7:10 PM Watch Michael Winslow Perform Every Part of “Whole Lotta Love” With Just His Voice
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?