Quentin Tarantino has already given us a film critic as a spy in Inglourious Basterds, and now George Clooney is raising the ante for well-written heroes with discerning taste by casting actors to play art historians and museum curators in a World War II heist thriller. Based on Robert Edsel's non-fiction book, The Monuments Men is the story of a special group of experts assembled in the final years of World War II to prevent the destruction of and recover the vast swathes of irreplaceable artworks stolen by Adolf Hitler's Nazi minions during their conquest of continental Europe.
Clooney, who co-wrote the adaptation with longtime collaborator Grant Heslov, will direct and have a smaller role alongside a cast that includes Daniel Craig (Skyfall, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), who is going to need more than a pair of glasses to suggest an academic demeanour, Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Hanna), Hugh Bonneville (television's Downton Abbey) and Bill Murray (Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation). The idea of Bill Murray delivering a deadpan riff to Daniel Craig feels very, very right, and the film is further proof that Clooney is serious about his directing career that already includes 2005's Good Night, and Good Luck and last year's The Ides of March. There was also 2008's Leatherheads, but let's not talk about that.
A list of dramatic actors who really need to switch focus and be in a lunatic comedy would have to include Clive Owen, and that's now coming to fruition for the star of Croupier, Closer and Children of Men (okay, maybe Killer Elite was unintentionally a comedy). In the Hollywood production The King of the Castle, the English actor will play a philandering husband who is blackmailed by a teenager, setting the scene for comic recriminations. The film will be the directorial debut of writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, who recently penned The Sitter for star Jonah Hill and director David Gordon Green.
A centenarian adventure
The comic Robert Gustafsson (Four Shades of Brown), who is often described as “the funniest man in Sweden” (that would be funnier if he wasn't Swedish), often plays comedic creations who are elderly, but he'll go further than ever before when he plays the title role in The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Actor and director Felix Herngren, whose last feature behind the camera was 2006's Every Other Week, will helm the story of a healthy centenarian who ducks out on civic celebrations for his milestone birthday and instead sets off on an adventure.
Expatriate Australian writer and actor Leigh Wannell (pictured), whose script for Saw launched a franchise that won't die, has come up with his next horror genre piece. In Cooties, a virus infects the students of an American elementary (primary) school turning them into bloodthirsty monsters who attempt to kill their teachers. The first teacher holed up in the staff room with whatever weapons come to hand will be played by former hobbit Elijah Wood.