By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood March 5, 2013 at 2:41PM
While Ben Affleck may have been growing his beard for Oscar luck, his "Argo" producer George Clooney sported well-coiffed facial hair at the big awards night for a different reason: "The Monuments Men," which he's helming and starring in. The action-thriller has started production in Berlin.
A monumental cast joins Clooney: Matt Damon, Jean Dujardin, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and John Goodman.
The film is co-written and produced by Clooney and his Smokehouse Productions partner, Grant Heslov. (Heslov's eloquent Oscar acceptance speech for "Argo," followed by a mic hand-off to director-producer-star Affleck, is here.)
"The Monuments Men" is based on the book by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witler, and focuses on a World War II group tasked with retrieving artistic masterpieces stolen by plundering Nazis and returning the works to their rightful owners.