After several weeks of pre-production, Hollywood star George Clooney has begun principal photography on his new action-thriller The Monuments Men, which he is directing and also takes a leading part in. The true story is based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. During World War II, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt sends a group of museum directors, curators, and art historians to Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. But this may well be a mission impossible, because 'The Monuments Men' are more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1.
The film is written and produced by Clooney and Grant Heslov. Their company Smokehouse Productions just won the Academy Award for Best Picture for Argo. The German co-production partner of The Monuments Men is the Siebente Babelsberg Film GmbH, a subsidiary of Studio Babelsberg AG, where Charlie Woebcken, Christoph Fisser and Henning Molfenter serve as co-producers. Clooney also applied for the DFFF incentive programme, which provides producers with up to 20% of their production costs spent in Germany. For high-budget films, there is cap of €4m or €10m.
The cast includes Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and John Goodman. The DOP behind the camera is Phedon Papamichael. Other crew members are production designer Jim Bissell, editor Stephen Mirrione, costume designer Louise Frogley, and five-time Oscar®-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat.
After shooting the interiors at Studio Babelsberg, the production will continue to film in Germany and in Great Britain until the end of June. The international distribution is handled by Twentieth Century Fox, and Sony Pictures will release the film in the US on December 18, 2013.
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