ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: For the most ambitious of his five films as director, George Clooney assembled a top-shelf cast of fellow actors to play art experts tasked with retrieving artistic treasure stolen by the Germans during World War Two. The star-studded cast reunited for the film's world premiere in New York on Tuesday (February 4). Co-star Matt Damon plays a New York museum director in the movie and said he was surprised to learn about the story of these unlikely soldiers. "These guys who, they weren't, they were well past like their soldiering prime. And they had real great careers as curators and professors and art historians. And they just gave it all up to go and rescue these treasures. These masterpieces, they're kind of - the centerpiece of our culture because they knew that to lose those would be kind of a deaf blow to who we are," Damon said on the red carpet. Clooney, who also co-wrote and stars in "The Monuments Men," explained his passion for film making. "I like the writing process and I like the directing process. I think they are the most creative parts of film making. And I enjoy doing it. You know, it's just creative, you know, you get to boss all these actors around, that's fun," he said with a smile. For Clooney, "The Monuments Men" is "by far, by far" his most ambitious project in a career directing smaller films like "The Ides of March" and "Good Night, and Good Luck." The film cost $70 million to make, shared by Sony Corp and 21st Century Fox, and is forecast to bring in $24 million in its first weekend in Canada and the United States. He and producing-writing partner Grant Heslov based the movie on the book of the same name by Robert Edsel, and were inspired by the men that formed that group, but changed names and took liberties to develop characters. Clooney, 52, plays Frank Stokes, the group's leader and an art historian, based on George Stout from Harvard's Fogg Museum. Clooney made up his Monuments Men with a sculptor played by John Goodman and Bob Balaban as a theater director. Oscar winner Jean Dujardin plays as a French-Jewish art dealer, and Hugh Bonneville portrays an alcoholic British art expert looking for a second chance. Actress Cate Blanchett plays a Parisian curator who leads Damon to find art stowed away in mines by the retreating Nazis. The film opens in North America on Friday (February 7) and will make its international premiere Saturday (February 8) at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Feb. 04 - Clooney serves as actor and director in his latest film ''The Monuments Men. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) ( Transcript )
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