By Simon Dang | The Playlist January 8, 2012 at 11:05AM
Even though "The Ides Of March" is on the awards season comeback trail, it didn't make the initial waves we anticipated. Another strong directorial effort from George Clooney after the misstep that was "Leatherheads," the return to form looks to have revitalized the filmmaking bug in Clooney, as the actor/director is now attached to co-write, direct and star in an adaptation of WWII-set heist film "The Monuments Men."
The Wrap reports that the big-budget adaptation of Robert M. Edsel's "The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History" has been set up at Sony, is being eyed by Clooney as his next effort behind the camera, and will follow the story of a hand-picked group of American and British art experts chosen by the U.S. government to try to retrieve artwork stolen by the Nazis.
“I’m excited about it,” Clooney revealed at Palm Springs Film Festival. “It’s a fun move because it could be big entertainment. It’s a big budget, you can’t do it small -- it’s landing 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 fun and actually have something to say.' ”
Here's the full synopsis, courtesy of Amazon: At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, 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.
Politically tinged material, it definitely sounds like it's squarely in the wheelhouse that Clooney and Smoke House partner Grant Heslov love to tackle, and, as he mentions, it could easily be his most ambitious yet accessible project.
No word either on what leading role Clooney will take on himself, but there seem to be plenty available, with an ensemble cast set to surround the actor-director. Last we heard, Clooney and Heslov's Smoke House shingle had planned to have "Our Brand Is Crisis" as the next project in production; whether that means 'Monuments' has now been pushed to the front of the line, or if Clooney's simply just added one more film to his development pile, remains unclear. The duo have also recently been linked to a film about '60's comedians The Smothers Brothers, so clearly they've got a lot of options to turn to next.