Running Time: 118 minutes
Genre: Action/Docudrama/Historical drama/Thriller
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance)
During World War II, the Nazis steal countless pieces of art and hide them away. Some over-the-hill art scholars, historians, architects and other experts form a unit to retrieve as many of the stolen masterpieces as possible. The mission becomes even more urgent when the team learns about Hitler's ``Nero Decree,'' which orders destruction of the artworks if the Third Reich falls. Caught in a race against time, the men risk their lives to protect some of mankind's greatest achievements.
- Notes provided by Sony Pictures Entertainment -
Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on seven over-the-hill, out-of-shape museum directors, artists, architects, curators, and art historians who went to the front lines of WWII to rescue the world's artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. With the art hidden behind enemy lines, how could these guys hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind's greatest achievements.
Columbia Pictures and Fox 2000 Pictures present a Smokehouse production, The Monuments Men. The film stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett. Directed by George Clooney. Produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney. Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov, based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. Executive Producer is Barbara A. Hall. Director of Photography is Phedon Papamichael, ASC. Production Designer is Jim Bissell. Edited by Stephen Mirrione, A.C.E. Costume Designer is Louise Frogley. Music by Alexandre Desplat.
The Monuments Men is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for some images of war violence and historical smoking. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on February 7, 2014.
ABOUT THE FILM
``The story of the Monuments Men is one that really very few people know, says George Clooney, who returns to the director's chair for the story of a small group of artists, art historians, architects, and museum curators who would lead the rescue of 1000 years of civilization during World War II in his new film, The Monuments Men. ``Artists, art dealers, architects - these were men that were far beyond the age that they were going to be drafted into a war or volunteer. But they took on this adventure, because they had this belief that culture can be destroyed. If they'd failed, it could have meant the loss of six million pieces of art. They weren't going to let that happen - and the truth of the matter is, they pulled it off.
The chance to make a World War II movie was extremely attractive to Clooney and his writing and producing partner, Grant Heslov. ``There's a certain romance around these movies - The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen, The Guns of Navarone, The Bridge on the River Kwai, says Clooney. ``In those movies, you fell in love with the characters and the actors as much as the story. And we thought The Monuments Men was a great chance to cast interesting contemporary actors together for our version of that kind of movie - it's a fun and entertaining way to do it.
Part of the drama of the film is that all of the Monuments Men are so unsuited to serving as soldiers in wartime. ``Wars are fought by 18-year-olds, says Clooney. ``Once you get to the John Goodmans and the Bob Balabans and the George Clooneys, you know - these guys are not getting drafted. Heslov adds: ``They did it because it was clear that they were the only people who could do it.
``Actually, we never really fully thought of this as a war film - it was a heist film, says Clooney. ``And then, the first day, we got to the set, and everybody put on their uniforms and helmets.
Clooney was inspired to tackle The Monuments Men as a feature film not only because of its exciting and dramatic subject matter, but because it marked a sharp, decisive break from his most recent film, The Ides of March. ``We were very proud of that film, but it was contemporary, and very small - and also cynical, says Heslov.
``We've made some cynical films, but in general, we really aren't cynical people, Clooney continues. ``We wanted to do a movie that wasn't cynical, a movie that was straightforward, old-fashioned, and had a positive forward movement to it.
In their search for material, Heslov mentioned that he had recently read the book The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter, and brought the subject matter to Clooney. Here was a chance to tell an optimistic story on an epic scale - a true story with huge stakes.
``I was living in Florence, walking across the Pontevecchio Bridge - the only bridge that wasn't destroyed by the Nazis as they fled in 1944 - and I wondered, this was the greatest conflict in history...how were all of these cultural treasures saved, and who saved them? Edsel asks. ``I wanted to find out the answer.
The answer was the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives group, which would go to the front lines and, for the first time, try to save the treasures that could be saved. ``Culture was at risk, says Clooney. ``You see it time and time again. You saw it in Iraq - the museums weren't protected, and you saw how much of their culture was lost because of that.
``Even today, people are still trying to get back the art that was looted from their families by the Nazis, Heslov says, noting that just recently, a treasure trove of looted art was discovered in a Munich apartment - 1,500 works worth $1.5 billion, paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Dix, and other artists that had been thought to be lost.
``I think what that goes to show is that this is not a story that ended in 1945 - the search for missing art goes on today, Heslov continues. ``There are still thousands of works that are still lost. There are paintings that are hanging in people's homes or hidden in plain sight on the walls of museums. Can you imagine if all of that had just been destroyed? It would have been a catastrophe.
``This story opens up the Second World War in a way that gives you a different perspective on it, says Cate Blanchett, who plays a key role as Claire Simone, a woman who holds the key to the secret location of thousands of priceless pieces of stolen art. ``These men were spurred on by a higher ideal. So many of the works that we take for granted in the great museums of the world were returned by this band of men - it was a near impossible task. Absurd, in a way: non military men going to the front lines and asking generals to stop bombing a certain church or area to save a window, or a sculpture or mural - you wonder how they were able to save anything at all. It's an extraordinary, selfless thing that they did, done to preserve history.
Though the Monuments Men had the support of FDR and General Eisenhower, they did face a challenge in embedding themselves in the field. ``Eisenhower was very keen on the idea - he wanted to make sure that there was something left when the war was over - and the war was going to be over very soon, says Clooney. ``It was something he came to, after Allied bombing destroyed an ancient abbey that really didn't need to be destroyed. So it was important not just to protect the art from the Nazis, but from the Allies' own exploits as they pushed toward the end of the war. The Allies were blowing everything up, so they had this realization that culture can be destroyed - not just by the Germans, but by us.
Edsel says that many museum directors in the US had concerns about the art and cultural treasures that could be lost in the war, but that they were working at cross purposes - each director with his own plan - rather than in concert. ``George Stout - who would later become the unofficial leader of the Monuments Men - made some efforts, but he gave up on it - he figured no one was going to approve the idea of a bunch of middle aged art historians, architects, and artists running around with combat soldiers. But then Roosevelt approved the idea - and not a moment too soon. ``In August 1943, the Allies nearly destroyed The Last Supper inadvertently, Edsel continues. ``I think that set off the alarm bells and accelerated getting the monuments officers into the field.
Edsel says that one might expect that soldiers fighting a war would not be receptive to being told what they could and could not blow up - but it's just the opposite. ``Much to their surprise - and we found this in their letters home, over and over again - there was only mild resistance at the beginning, and that quickly gave way to soldiers asking, 'How are we doing? Have we saved any churches? Have we found any paintings?' The military started getting pretty engaged.
The Monuments Men were also working against a ticking clock. As the Allies closed in on Berlin, Hitler was unwilling to accept unconditional surrender - and if he couldn't have Germany, no one else would either. ``It became known as the 'Nero Decree,' Clooney explains. ``Hitler said, 'If I die, destroy everything' - bridges, railroad tracks, communications equipment - and that was taken to mean the art, too. Everything.
ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
Clooney and Heslov note that while the film is based on the true story of the Monuments Men, they did take some liberties with the characters for dramatic purposes. Though many of the characters are inspired by real Monuments Men, Clooney and Heslov have invented characters for the film. ``For the film, we wanted some of the characters to be flawed - we felt it would help the audience empathize with them as we tell the story, Clooney explains. ``But it's not really fair to take a great man's real name and then give him a flaw he didn't have in real life. Heslov adds: ``I think our characters end up looking pretty heroic in the film, and if our movie inspires people do their own reading and find out that the real men were even more heroic, I'm okay with that.
More importantly, even if the characters are invented, their story is real. ``We invented a few mundane scenes, just to help the story along, but the things in the movie that you'd think are so ridiculous and strange, 'well, there's no way that those actually happened' - those are the things that actually happened, says Clooney.
For the film, Clooney and Heslov were able to attract a top tier of actors, including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett.
One might think it would be difficult to balance so many different huge stars in a single film - but Clooney says that it's just the opposite. ``All of these guys are usually in movies where they have to carry the whole movie, but they're all so comfortable with their own personas that they don't need to own all the scenes they're in, he says. ``There was a huge generosity of spirit in all the actors - they were willing to come and play, because they were all enjoying each other's company.
``This ensemble is just off the charts, says Matt Damon. ``Every day, I came to work with different, fun people who I really admire and whose work I follow carefully. I said to George early on, 'I'm just going to smell the roses, because this is as good as it gets.' When you're doing something with a director that you have complete faith in, with a great script and a top-notch cast, it just doesn't feel like working.
GEORGE CLOONEY heads the cast in the role of Frank Stokes, a leading art historian. ``He's working at The Fogg Museum - Harvard's oldest art museum - working in art restoration when the story begins, Clooney explains. ``He's already been to war - World War I - and has seen what can happen, especially as wars end. He's a natural leader.
What's it like for Clooney to direct himself in a lead role? ``It's one of the things you learn in acting class - director-proof is what we call it. I don't pay attention to a single note I give myself, Clooney jokes.
The inspiration for Clooney's character was art historian George Stout. ``In real life, he was a very scrappy guy. He could do anything - like fix cars and radios. The head of the conservation department at the Fogg, and later the director of the Worcester Art Museum and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Stout was on the front lines during the war, helping to rescue cultural treasures in Caen, Maastricht, and Aachen, as well as Nazi art repositories in Siegen, Heilbronn, Cologne, Merkers, and Altaussee.
MATT DAMON (James Granger) marks his sixth collaboration with George Clooney, but his first major role with Clooney in the director's seat (Damon had a small part in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).
``I literally knew nothing about this story, which is why I was so surprised to find out it was real, Damon says. ``It's a terrific story. Ultimately, this is a movie about people who are willing to sacrifice everything to save what is the very best of us, of humanity. To go after that art and try to rescue it, to save it, to protect it and preserve it... Art is the soul of society, it represents the very best things that we have achieved. To destroy that is to obliterate something irreplaceable.
The James Granger character is inspired by James Rorimer, who later became director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Granger's relationship with Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett) was inspired by Rorimer's interaction with Rose Valland, an employee of the Jeu de Paume gallery in Paris.
In the film, the character of Claire Simone holds the key to the location of many thousands of pieces of looted art - and that location is a piece of information she guards closely. ``She's thinking, 'Why should I tell you where the art is? You'll just take it,' says Damon. ``To her, it's all about protecting the art. Granger has to earn her trust - he has to convince her that by keeping it a secret, she's not protecting the art, she's actually endangering it. By the end of it, she realizes that they are kindred spirits.
Damon was also gratified by the chance to work more closely with Clooney as a director. ``George cuts in the camera, which very few directors do, Damon explains. ``You're not shooting and shooting and shooting to cover scenes - he's already made the decision on how he's going to edit the scene, so he only shoots the necessary pieces. That helps keep everyone focused - any time the camera is rolling, there's a high probability that the shot is going to be in the final movie.
BILL MURRAY was excited to join The Monuments Men from the minute George Clooney first told him about the project. ``It was about two years before we started shooting - and I went, 'Oh God, that sounds so good. I'd really love to be in that movie,' Murray says. ``I really liked the story, chasing down stolen art in World War II. It has everything. It's an action movie, but it's also about good guys on the hunt in the name of something beautiful and wonderful. I just thought it'd be great.
Just getting Murray onto the project was an adventure in itself. ``We knew Bill could knock this out of the park, but he can be a very hard man to track down, says Heslov. ``George had the special number that you have to call - you leave a message and wait... but Bill called right back and just said, 'Where and when do you need me?'
Murray and Balaban had worked together a number of films - in Cradle Will Rock, Moonrise Kingdom, and the upcoming Grand Budapest Hotel - but never so closely as in The Monuments Men. ``We wanted two people who were opposites, who would just irritate each other - without overdoing it, says Clooney. ``Bill's so good at playing that guy who finds a scab and keeps picking at it - he's so good opposite Bob.
``Obviously, Bill brings humor, but even stronger is the emotional component, Heslov says. ``Also, he's bigger than a lot of the other guys - especially Bob Balaban - so he's physically intimidating. When he smiles, he's the dangerous guy in the room.
Murray's role, Richard Campbell, is an architect. ``He's recruited for the Monuments Men because a lot of what they're going to do - saving and reconstructing - involves figuring out how to preserve buildings and monuments, Murray explains. ``Sometimes they'll have to prevent the destruction and sometimes they'll have to figure out how to save something that's been damaged. They need a broad group of artistic types, including fellas who are able to work in a third dimension in real, practical, physical reality.
Murray notes that it's easy to go to the Louvre or the Met and take it for granted that their most prized masterpieces are still part of the collection. The film captures a period when that was in doubt - the ways that a world of art wouldn't be here today if not for the Monuments Men. ``You wouldn't be able to see it in churches or museums - it would be gone, he says. ``Lives ended too soon, but the art lives on. The people fought for it in the same way they fought for freedom. The people who fought to save this art have allowed the art to live on.
Murray's character is inspired by several real Monuments Men, including architect Robert Posey. While embedded with Patton's Third Army during the war, Posey discovered the salt mine at Altaussee, where the Nazis had stashed the Ghent Altarpiece, the Bruges Madonna, Vermeer's The Astronomer, and thousands of other works of art. For his contributions, Posey was awarded the Legion of Honor from France and the Order of Leopold from Belgium.
JOHN GOODMAN says that his character, Walter Garfield, represents the people, men and women, who were stuck on the home front but eager to help the war effort in any way they could. ``My character is way over the hill as far as combat goes, but he's doing what he can, says Goodman. ``He leaps at the chance to get over there and help. It's something that he does for passion and for love, to try to protect what he could.
For Goodman himself, the chance to join the film was a dream come true. ``I always wanted to do a World War II movie and a buddy movie and a mystery - and for my role, this has all of those elements rolled into one, he says. ``I get to put on a World War II uniform and helmet and carry a gun? Neat-o! This movie is everything I wanted to do since I was five.
For the buddy movie aspect, The Monuments Men re-teams Goodman with his co-star from The Artist, Jean Dujardin. ``Jean is an incredible talent, Goodman says. ``He's extremely funny, he's a great-looking guy, he's very agile - he's sharp and easy to work with. And since I worked with him in The Artist, he's learned to speak English, which is great because I'm still too lazy to learn French. Now we can communicate.
The film is also a re-teaming of Goodman with Clooney and Heslov. ``John and I worked together on the first season of 'Roseanne,' and then on O Brother and Argo - we've been in the same circles for years, says Clooney. ``The only question I had was whether he was up for such a big, physical movie - he has a bad knee. He said he'd be fine, and he was more than fine. He did what he always does - he makes every movie he's in better.
``I think what we're doing is honoring the incredible struggles that my father's generation endured, first through the Depression and then a war, says Goodman. ``They did the right thing and they did it for the right reason; they did it constantly and they did it well. In this film, in a small way, I'm trying to honor the previous generation.
Goodman's character is inspired by the real-life Monuments Man Walker Hancock, a renowned sculptor. Hancock was a native of St. Louis, as is Goodman. ``Oddly enough, when my mother and I would take the bus to downtown St. Louis to go shopping, we'd pass one of his sculptures, the Soldiers' Memorial, Goodman says. ``It just put me in touch with the character. It's a small connection, but a happy coincidence.
``These men and women lived their life for art, Goodman concludes. ``They were artists and art caretakers who were willing to risk all for the art they loved. I would like to think a lot of us would be willing to risk our lives to protect history and protect a culture - in this case Western culture but all cultures. It is the best of us. It defines us on a certain level.
Goodman's character, Walter Garfield, is paired with Jean Claude Clermont, portrayed by Oscar(R)-winning actor JEAN DUJARDIN, a re-teaming of Goodman and Dujardin from The Artist.
``They don't talk much to each other, Garfield and Clermont, Dujardin says. ``They don't need to talk to each other. They have a mission to accomplish. But, we have some very funny scenes together, and thanks to George Clooney's talent as director, he manages to put some irony in scenes and very intense scenes as well.
``Jean Claude Clermont is a French Jew who is an art dealer in Marseilles, Dujardin explains. ``He escapes and takes refuge in London with his family. He is recruited by the American army for his artistic knowledge. He's not a soldier, but it's really important for him to take part in the war. He's really proud to be a member of the Monuments Men.
``Jean won the Academy Award(R) in the same year that I was up for The Descendants, Clooney notes. ``I just wanted to get him in this movie and kill him. Actually, I suggested killing him in the very first scene, but Grant thought we should wait a while, so I waited.... Actually, Jean is one of my favorite people that I've ever worked with. I wish we spoke each other's language better, because it would be even more fun to be around him - he is deeply funny and so talented. Even with the language barrier, he loses nothing in personality. He's charming, sort of a rogue.
``He's the French George Clooney, says Heslov.
``George really trusts his actors, says Dujardin. ``He's not a director who tells you what to do; he just gives you some ideas. He's very flexible and everybody really wants to give him their best. He'll come slowly towards you and say, 'I may be wrong, but maybe you could try one like this,' or 'Why don't we try to say it in a French way?'
Still, Dujardin says that it was the chance to do things in the American way that was especially attracted him to the project. ``I got to do a different kind of acting - the French way of acting is often a bit more private, while the American way is very exciting, very playful. I was always criticized in France for being too expressive, so it's very freeing, very liberating for me.
``Downton Abbey's HUGH BONNEVILLE plays Donald Jeffries, a flawed man seeking a second chance. ``When the characters are introduced, you see them in their natural habitats, so to speak, Bonneville explains. ``Donald's happens to be a pub. We come to learn that he has made mistakes in life, has been unreliable and George's character gives him a second chance to re-embrace his first love, which is art.
BOB BALABAN takes on the role of Preston Savitz. ``Savitz is an intellectual, an art historian and a theatrical impresario, Balaban says.
Heslov does not mince words: ``He's a dandy, he says. ``This is not a guy who you would expect to find in a war. All of the guys are fish out of water, but Bob's character is a whale out of water. It's that juxtaposition against Bill's character that I think is so funny.
``George is very focused. Very prepared. And very calm. He knows what he wants, and he's a great communicator, says Balaban. ``He maintains his sense of humor under pressure. He pays attention to detail. He has great taste and he makes it a pleasure to come to work in the morning. What more could you want in a director?
Clooney and Heslov had both known Balaban socially, and were just beginning to consider actors for The Monuments Men when their paths crossed. ``We had just finished the screenplay for The Monuments Men and we were at an event to support Argo, and Bob was there, says Heslov. ``That night, we were talking about it, and we thought he'd be great for Savitz. We called him up, and he was in.
Preston Savitz is inspired by Monuments Man Lincoln Kirstein, an American impresario, art connoisseur, author, and a major cultural figure in New York who co-founded the New York City Ballet.
The screenplay drew Balaban into the history. He gained a greater perspective from Robert Edsel's book and he drew inspiration and insight from another book given to him by Edsel - a book of poetry written by Kirstein. ``It was written while Kirstein was overseas. Balaban says. ``He was clearly overwhelmed and unprepared for his war experience. His book reminded me that while the Monuments Men were often too old and in many ways unqualified for the enormous task ahead of them, each of the guys was deeply honored to be there, and utterly committed to their mission.
The final Monuments Man in the film is Sam Epstein, played by DIMITRI LEONIDAS. Not yet 19, Epstein is the only real soldier in the group, recruited for his ability to drive and to speak German.
``My character grew up in Germany - but Germany rejected him, because he's Jewish, Leonidas says. ``When we meet Sam, he is a private in the Army and is basically lost in the system. They don't know what to do with him. They know he could be useful in some way, because of his German background, but he falls through the cracks. Frank Stokes is the one who sees his true value - as a driver and with his ability to understand German, he's handy to have around.
The inspiration for Leonidas's character is Harry Ettlinger. ``I was born in Germany under the Jewish faith, says Ettlinger. ``Hitler was on his way to get rid of all Jews in all the world. My father lost his business, and my parents realized that economic life for a Jew was no longer possible in Germany.
So, in September 1938, Ettlinger's Bar Mitzvah was moved up from January - and the next day, the family left for America. ``Actually, the rabbi suggested that we leave that same afternoon - even though you're not supposed to travel on the Sabbath, Ettlinger remembers. ``But my father said, 'The war isn't going to start this afternoon' - and we left the next day.
After coming to America, Ettlinger enlisted at 18 - as all young men did at that time. On his 19th birthday, he was pulled out of a transport on its way to the front lines to fight the Battle of the Bulge, and three months later, joined the Monuments Men.
Working in the mines, Ettlinger came into contact with numerous pieces of priceless art. ``Jim Rorimer found a painting by Grunewald, the Stuppach Madonna - that was the item most precious to everybody - but on a personal basis, I saw a Rembrandt self-portrait that belonged to the museum in Karlsruhe, my home town. That painting was the museum's pride and joy - and actually, my grandfather had a print of that painting. It is hanging in my living room..
In fact, Ettlinger's family had an extensive collection of ex libris prints that they had lost when coming to America. ``During my stay in Germany, I took a Sunday drive to Baden Baden, the resort town, in a Jeep driven by a Holocaust survivor named Ike. I hadn't told my sergeant, so technically, I was AWOL. That's where I found the warehouse with my grandfather's collection, says Ettlinger. ``We had a bit of a celebration - and that night, we ended up in the top suite in the best hotel in town. Here we were, a Holocaust survivor and an AWOL buck private, sleeping in a bed meant for the Kaiser of Germany. I'm very proud of that.
CATE BLANCHETT rounds out the cast as Claire Simone, a Frenchwoman in a unique position in Occupied France. ``Claire Simone is a curator at the Jeu de Paume - once an art museum but became a kind of depot for art looted by the Nazis, Blanchett explains. ``But her real work goes on at night, when she records the provenance of the works and where they were being taken in an obsessively detailed way. She's the catalyst for the third act of the movie - the Monuments Men know the works are disappearing but they don't know where they are going, and they need her information.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
The Monuments Men was primarily shot on location in Germany, with a few weeks in England.
Behind the scenes, Clooney and Heslov reassembled a team of department heads who have collaborated on several of their films, including director of photography Phedon Papamichael, ASC (who filmed The Descendants and The Ides of March), production designer Jim Bissell (who marks his fourth film with Clooney as director), editor Stephen Mirrione, A.C.E. (who has eleven collaborations with Clooney, including all five of Clooney's feature films as a director), and costume designer Louise Frogley (who has collaborated with Clooney on eight films in total, including his most recent four films as a director).
``The whole crew - the editor, the production designer, the first A.D., the cinematographer, the sound guy, the wardrobe - they're all the same people picture after picture, because we trust them and love working with them. It makes it fun to go to work. It feels like family, Clooney says.
Bissell admits that he was surprised by the new project's scope and ambition when he first read the script for The Monuments Men, even though he was expecting a break from the small-scale approach of The Ides of March. ``I thought, 'That's a lot of sets' - I broke it down and it was 146 sets. It shattered George's own personal record of 110 sets on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
``I don't think most people realize the extent to which a production designer contributes to the making of a film, says Heslov. ``They're the first ones in, they find the locations, and they're the ones that make the locations look right for the scene...
``...and then, invariably, you have to improvise - say, you get bad weather. You can't waste the day, so you think, 'Well, I could shoot this other scene...' Jim says, 'OK, give me an hour' - and he makes it work, says Clooney. ``I wouldn't make a movie without Jim Bissell.
Over the course of many pictures, Bissell has developed an economical and easy way of working with Clooney. ``I talk to George about a shot - what elements are important compositional factors in a scene. Once I've talked with him, I can usually go out and either design the set or find the location that is good for what we need. Then, I'll go back and consult with him and he'll make a commitment at that point - before the shooting company is there. He really likes to be prepared and he doesn't like to waste, Bissell explains.
An Oscar(R) nominee for his design work on Good Night, and Good Luck, Bissell knows that seamless production design allows the audience to focus more fully on the essence of story and character. ``The most important thing always was to create an atmosphere, an impression of what it was like for the Monuments Men and what the dramatic settings were like where the story actually takes place. If I did my job right, nobody knows or notices what I did, he says.
For The Monuments Men, three core locations were selected for filming: southern and southeastern England in the United Kingdom; the city of Berlin and the area in and around Babelsberg, Germany - including the 100-year-old Babelsberg Studios and the adjacent countryside in Potsdam - and the Harz Mountains, the highest mountain range in northern Germany.
However, there were dozens of sub-locations within those countries which had to double for a variety of spots on the globe - including Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, Paris, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy - while representing a plethora of specific settings: churches, cathedrals, museums, castles, salt mines, hospitals, airfields, a military training base and field headquarters, country roads, offices and living quarters.
Shooting on location helped the actors, says Dujardin. ``Imagine being in a place with 300 extras, jeeps, tanks, and an intense story. We acted in Germany, in England. We shot in every kind of weather: snow, rain, wind, sun. Of course, it inspires you a lot, he says. ``I remember one scene with John Goodman. We're in the jeep and I'm wounded, lying in John's arms. Behind us, it's drizzling and incredibly foggy. I believe it does add to the picture and all the emotion.
``It was really challenging to make Germany work for France and Belgium, and to a certain extent, to make the U.K. work for Germany, Bissell says. ``Fortunately, Gothic cathedrals have a scale and style that sort of transcends national identities. So, we were able to be a bit more generic in the way we approached them.
For example, Bissell redesigned the interior of the Cathedral of St. Stephen and Sixtus in Halberstadt, the capital of the Harz district. Under Bissell's supervision, The Halberstadt Cathedral was made to double as the St. Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, the rightful home for the Van Eycks' Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (aka The Ghent Altarpiece).
Geological processes have produced numerous caves in the Harz Mountains, many of which were mined for their mineral deposits. Bissell and crew transformed these into the mines for the film, principally those in Merkers, Germany and Altaussee, Austria, two monumental hiding places for Nazi plunder.
``The Harz Mountain area has the exteriors of all of our mines in the film, Bissell says. ``We found some great old period mines. Some of them were derelicts; others were abandoned but picturesque enough that we could fix them up and make them work for us.
One of the biggest challenges for Bissell was in conveying the enormity of the caches of stolen art and artifacts. ``Reading about the scale of the Nazis' thievery, the sheer volume is mind-boggling, Bissell says. ``It's very important that our audience understands what our Monuments Men found - even they were surprised at the extent, the scale of the theft. We needed that dramatic impact. You have to look at this - when they first start discovering these mines where the stolen art has been stored - and feel what they felt. It's awe, disbelief - before you begin to feel the elation from finding these treasures.
Though some filming was done in real mines, most of the tunnels were built on sound stages at Babelsberg Studios. ``That's a lot of stuff to shift around - paintings, crates, sculptures - and in order to get the scale you have to have large rooms that are accessible by one or two tunnels, fifteen hundred feet underground, Bissell says. ``That's not where you want to send a shooting company. So, we made the decision very early on to make a large mine set that was modular in a way where we could shoot it from different angles and it could be different art caches. We built those sets at Babelsberg Studios. They were large, but they had to be large.
In addition to these sets, effective masterpiece doubles were also key to the production. Over a thousand art works had to be authentically replicated, even if only a corner of the great painting, sculpture or tapestry would show on screen.
The production had a number of means of sourcing art. There are many rental houses - primarily in England - that have collections of oil paintings for rent. ``They're not masterpieces, but they're quite nice, mostly portraits, says Helen Jarvis, the film's Supervising Art Director, who sourced many of the necessary artworks. Many sculptures could be acquired the same way, by renting reproductions that had been made over the years.
Another means was obtaining high-resolution digital files and printing the paintings. ``Many of these paintings are quite complex, and printing has become so sophisticated; it was clearly the way to go, says Jarvis.
Two of these pieces, however, were artistic co-stars in the film: the Bruges Madonna and the Ghent Altarpiece. They would be getting quite a bit of screen time, and required special attention.
For the Bruges Madonna, the filmmakers took several tacks. ``We knew we were going to need two reproductions - one for our 'hero shots,' as beautiful as we could get, and another that would be moved around, wrapped in blankets - used more as a prop, Jarvis remembers.
In Italy, the film's set decorator, Bernhard Henrich, found a yard full of statuary that had once belonged to Cinecittà, the famous Italian film studio. ``Amazingly enough, they had a Bruges Madonna, made of fiberglass, says Jarvis. ``We knew we were going to be renting several works from them, so we had that one sent ahead so we could see how good it was - and it was very, very good.
The filmmakers also hired a sculptor out of Berlin to carve a new reproduction out of high density foam. ``We went to Bruges and took some high-resolution images - and we purchased even better images in the gift shop! Also, in the Town Hall in Bruges, there happens to be a 100-year-old plaster cast of the Madonna sitting in a hallway. From that reproduction, we were able to get some very good side photos of the Madonna. Then, our very accomplished sculptor carved for two or three weeks.
The filmmakers then compared three life-sized photos side-by-side: the real Madonna, the fiberglass Italian reproduction, and the foam sculpture. ``The Italian fiberglass one won, says Jarvis. ``It was closer to the original. The foam Madonna became our backup.
The other key piece was the Ghent Altarpiece. ``For the Ghent Altarpiece, we obtained the rights to a very high resolution digital file printed, Bissell says.
``We went through test after test, says Jarvis. ``We printed the panel of the Madonna in the green velvet dress on several different kinds of material before we found that a more modern technique - a vinyl-coated printing technique - was what worked best. Then we handed it off to our scenic painter, who put a paint finish over the top of it - an acrylic that had wax in it - that gave it a great look of having been painted. And then, our carpenter created all of the wooden framing, and we built an elaborate stone altarpiece for it to sit on.
The filmmakers also recreated The Burghers of Calais, the large Rodin sculpture. ``We found a company in New York that made two-foot-high replicas of the statue, says Jarvis. ``You might not think those would be useful, but they were great because we could rotate them can see every nuance of the drapery. Again, we carved those out of dense foam, but the bronze texture was much more forgiving than the marble.
Louise Frogley, the costume designer, says that her challenge was similar to Bissell's - one of logistics and scope. ``There were so many big scenes involving uniformed and civilian people in different stages of deterioration, Frogley remembers. ``There were large quantities of people involved and large amounts of costume, and we had to do pre-fits while filming was still going on. Plus, we would be shipping stuff ahead while we were filming. Plus, we had to clothe people in one location while we were pre-fitting people in another. We had to find watches for every main actor, multiples for them. We had to do glasses, coated and uncoated. And sunglasses, coated and uncoated. For people with reading glasses, we had to do coated and uncoated, plus blank, coated and uncoated. It went on and on and on. We were driven mad with all of these details, but we did it.
Despite the number of past World War II films, military uniforms were not so easy to come by. ``Many of the original uniforms have been sold, destroyed or are in bad condition, Frogley says. ``This stuff doesn't last long if it's not looked after. There's original stuff still in existence, but the sizes are almost always too small. We had some wonderful, original Nazi jackets, but in sizes like 36-chest - and no trousers.
Frogley, along with costume supervisor John C. Casey and military costume supervisor Joe Hobbs, had the added task of outfitting actors who represented several different armies: American, German, British, French and Belgian. ``And, of course, mid-way through the war, the uniforms changed, Frogley adds.
To pull it off, Frogley explains, it turned into a true international effort. ``The uniforms came from all over the place, Frogley explains. ``We had stuff made in Poland. We had the fabric made in Pakistan. We bought stuff from dealers in Holland. We had boots from Mexico.
But although the Monuments Men spend most of the movie in uniform, it was important to design costumes in the early scenes that reflected their civilian lives. ``We were very much trying to reflect who they were first as civilians because they weren't the normal military types, Frogley says. ``That way we would show what difference being in the military must have made. Stokes (George Clooney) is an intellectual, so he's smartly dressed, appropriately but not outstanding. Granger (Matt Damon) is slightly more arty; we first see him in nice period overalls over more casual clothes before he dresses up a bit to meet with Stokes. Campbell (Bill Murray) is an architect, so we see him in a suit, on site of a building project. Garfield (John Goodman) is a sculptor, so we meet in him a sculpting smock and cap; in uniform, he's still a bit of a mess, because that fits the character. Savitz (Bob Balaban) works in the world of dance; we dressed him a little more flamboyantly.
Once they've joined the military, each man becomes part of a unit, working toward the same goal. ``Of course, the actors still bring individuality to their characters and they can use the way they wear their uniforms to reflect that - a shirt tucked into a waist just so, a collar askew, little things that show different traits. These guys are all pretty smart actors. They're going to use every last thing they can, anything to enhance the character.
``Louise Frogley is a brilliant designer, says Cate Blanchett. ``I always find her wardrobe fittings really informative and creative. Together, you kick images and ideas around. Louise always approaches recognizable periods in unexpected yet true ways.
ABOUT THE REAL MONUMENTS MEN AND THE ART
For centuries, conquering armies have treated the art of their vanquished as spoils of war. But the world was not prepared for the pillage of the Nazis, who stole millions of art treasures as they marched through Europe.
Adolf Hitler was a great art lover. A frustrated artist who had twice been rejected by the prestigious Vienna School of Fine Arts, Hitler dreamed of transforming his adopted hometown of Linz, Austria, into a super city. The centerpiece of this dream metropolis was to be the Fuhrermuseum, which would house and display practically all of the world's finest art: paintings, sculptures, tapestries... anything that Hitler deemed worthy of his collection. Hitler's second in command, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, was Hitler's main procurer in the acquisition of Europe's art, while also stealing a significant number of great works for himself.
The sheer volume of stolen pieces is staggering: more than five million of Europe's greatest cultural treasures were looted by the Nazis. The stolen items included tens of thousands of works by the Masters, a veritable Who's Who of classic art: Michelangelo, DaVinci, Rembrandt, Van Eyck, Vermeer and many more. Just one repository for the artwork - the salt mine at Altausee, Austria - included 6,577 paintings, 230 drawings or watercolors, 137 sculptures, 122 tapestries, and 1200-1700 cases of rare books.
As word spread to the United States about the Nazi art thievery and the destruction of churches, museums and monuments by both sides in the War, leaders in the American art community organized to save the western world's cultural history. They took their case to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and, with FDR's backing, formed the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe. From that commission sprang the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) group, which would form the brigade that would protect the remaining historical monuments, recover the looted art and restore those treasures to their country of origin.
At the time of Germany's surrender, there were only about a dozen Monuments Men in the field in northern Europe, including:
Lieutenant George Stout, a leader in the field of art restoration who first conceived the idea of the Monuments Men. Stout was the acknowledged leader of the group (military rank did not necessarily reflect the practical hierarchy within the MFFA).
Second Lieutenant James J. Rorimer, a future director of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the man most responsible for the Met's famous Cloisters.
Captain Walker Hancock, one of America's most renowned sculptors.
Captain Robert Posey, a well-known architect who served as MFAA advisor to Patton's Third Army.
Private Lincoln Kirstein, future founder of the New York City Ballet.
Private Harry Ettlinger, a German-born Jew and at age 18, by far youngest of the group. Ettlinger came to America with his parents shortly after the Nazi takeover of his homeland. Although Ettlinger did not move in the same artistic circles as the others, he proved invaluable as driver and translator.
The Monuments Men also found a valuable ally in Paris, in the person of Rose Valland, an art historian, member of the French Resistance and, at the time of the Nazi occupation, the overseer at the Jeu de Paume Museum. The Germans used the museum as their central storage and sorting depot for up to 20,000 works of art.
Valland surreptitiously kept records of each piece that came through the museum. For four years, she managed to keep secret the fact that she spoke German while tracking the destinations of the artworks and, at great personal risk, informing the French Underground which railroad shipments contained priceless works of art.
Valland is one of most decorated women in French history.
In March 1945, with the Allied troops fast approaching, Hitler issued his infamous ``Demolitions on Reich Territory Decree (nicknamed the ``Nero Decree), which ordered the destruction of German infrastructure to prevent their use by Allied forces - and was widely interpreted to extend to the massive collection of stolen art.
While the Monuments Men were responsible for the rescue and preservation of millions of European art treasures, two pieces in particular took on special significance: the Bruges Madonna and the Ghent Altarpiece.
The Bruges Madonna
Michelangelo's fourth treatment of the Madonna and Child theme represents a major departure from his earlier work. The Madonna does not cradle the Christ Child in her arms or on her lap. Instead, the Child has slid down between her knees, as if to take his first independent step. The worried gaze of his mother seems to indicate an awareness of his fate.
Around 1506, the Mouscron brothers, wealthy Flemish cloth merchants, brought the fifty-inch, free-standing marble statue to Belgium, where it was placed on the altar of their family chapel in the church of Notre-Dame in Bruges. Since then, the Bruges Madonna has been Belgium's most famous resident. The sculpture was removed from Bruges by retreating Nazis in September 1944, and was found and returned by the Monuments Men.
The Ghent Altarpiece
The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb or Lamb of God, an early Flemish polyptych panel painting, is one of the world's most spectacular and revered artworks. It is commonly called The Ghent Altarpiece due to its home in St. Bavo's Cathedral in the Belgian city of Ghent.
It is believed the work had been started by Hubert Van Eyck around 1415 and taken over by his younger and more prolific brother, Jan, upon Hubert's death in 1426. Jan completed the work in 1432. Art historians generally agree that Jan did the lion's share of the painting. The magnificent 12-panel altarpiece is a complicated production, comprised of eight hinged shutters, painted on both sides, which presents two distinct views, depending on whether they are opened or closed.
The Ghent Altarpiece is also reputed to be one of the most frequently stolen pieces of artwork:
1566: The altarpiece is dismantled and hidden to protect its burning as a Catholic icon by Calvinists.
1784 to 1860: Two panels, depicting the nude figures of Adam and Eve, mysteriously disappear.
I794: The four panels depicting The Adoration are taken to Paris by the French Army.
1816/17: Six shutters are purchased by William of Prussia.
1914-1918: The altarpiece is divided among three cities, Brussels, Berlin and Ghent.
In 1914: Germans steal the Adam and Eve panels.
1919: A clause in the Treaty of Versailles - at the insistence of world art critics - demands the return of all panels to their original site in Ghent. The clause was not enforced until 1923.
1935: The Righteous Judges and Saint John the Baptist panels are stolen, followed by a ransom demand. The Saint John panel is returned as a ``show of good faith but no ransom is paid. The Judges panel is never recovered. (Belgian restorer Jan van der Veken repainted the missing panel after World War II.)
ABOUT THE CAST:
GEORGE CLOONEY (Frank Stokes / Director / Producer / Co-writer) has been recognized with Oscar(R) nominations and numerous other honors for his work as an actor, writer, director,and producer, and is equally recognized for his global humanitarian efforts.
Clooney will next star alongside Hugh Laurie and Britt Robertson in Disney's sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland, directed by Brad Bird and written by Bird, Jeff Jensen and Damon Lindelof.
He most recently starred opposite Sandra Bullock in the worldwide hit film Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. In addition, with his producing partner at Smokehouse, Grant Heslov, he produced the feature film August: Osage County.
With Heslov and director/producer Ben Affleck, Clooney won the Oscar(R) for Best Picture for the thriller Argo. The film also won Best Picture awards from BAFTA, the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild of America (PGA).
In 2012, he received an Oscar(R) nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on the political drama The Ides of March, which he also directed, produced, and starred in. He also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay, as well as nominations from both the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award.
Previously, Clooney's highly acclaimed film Good Night, and Good Luck, which he also co-wrote with Grant Heslov, garnered a series of accolades. He earned Academy Award(R), Golden Globe, BAFTA Award and Critics' Choice Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay; nominations from both the Directors Guild of America Award (DGA) and a Writers Guild of America (WGA); an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Director; and a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award(R) nomination for Best Ensemble, shared with the cast. He also received the Freedom Award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association for the film.
His directorial debut, the 2002 film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind won the Special Achievement in Film Award from the National Board of Review.
Clooney was previously partnered with Steven Soderbergh in the production company Section Eight, which produced the Ocean's trilogy, directed by Soderbergh and starring Clooney as part of an all-star ensemble cast. Other Section Eight films include Michael Clayton, Syriana, Good Night, and Good Luck, The Informant!, The Good German, Insomnia, Far From Heaven, The Jacket, Full Frontal, and Welcome to Collinwood. For Section Eight's television division, Clooney executive produced and directed five episodes of ``Unscripted, a reality-based show that debuted on HBO in 2005. He was also an executive producer on HBO's ``K Street.
Clooney has been equally honored for his acting performances. He won an Oscar(R) for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Syriana; in addition, he won a Golden Globe Award and earned BAFTA Award, SAG Award(R) and Critics' Choice Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Clooney has also been honored with three additional Oscar(R) nominations for Best Actor, for his roles in Michael Clayton, Up in the Air, and The Descendants. His performance in The Descendants also earned him a Golden Globe and several critics groups' awards, as well as BAFTA Award and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award(R) nominations for Best Actor.
His other film acting credits include the Coen brothers' films Burn After Reading, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, for which Clooney won his first Golden Globe Award, and Intolerable Cruelty; Soderbergh's Solaris and Out of Sight; The Perfect Storm, The Peacemaker, Batman & Robin, One Fine Day and From Dusk Till Dawn. He also lent his voice to the title character in Wes Anderson's Oscar(R)-nominated animated feature Fantastic Mr. Fox.
On the small screen, Clooney has starred in several television projects but is best known for his five years on ``ER. His portrayal of Dr. Doug Ross on the hit NBC drama series earned him Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award(R) nominations. Additionally, in 2000, he was an executive producer and star of the Golden Globe-winning live television broadcast of ``Fail Safe, based on the 1962 novel of the same name. He is also an executive producer on the Smokehouse series ``Memphis Beat.
More recently, Clooney was nominated for an Emmy for his producing work on the 2010 telethon ``Hope for Haiti Now, which raised more than $66 million, setting a new record for donations made by the public through a disaster-relief telethon.
The son of an anchorman, Clooney is a strong First Amendment advocate with a deep commitment to humanitarian causes. In 2006, Clooney and his father, Nick, went to drought-stricken Darfur, Africa to film the documentary Journey to Darfur. Clooney's work on behalf of Darfur relief led to his addressing the United Nations Security Council. He also narrated the Darfur documentary Sand and Sorrow.
In 2007, Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Jerry Weintraub co-founded Not On Our Watch, an organization whose mission is to focus global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities in Darfur.
Among the many honors received as a result of his humanitarian efforts in Darfur was the 2007 Peace Summit Award, given at the eighth World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates at their annual meeting in Rome. Also taking part in the ceremony were Rome's Mayor, Walter Veltroni, Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Dalai Lama. In 2008, Clooney was designated a U.N. Messenger of Peace, one of eight individuals chosen to advocate on behalf of the U.N. and its peacekeeping efforts.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Clooney the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2010 Primetime Emmys. He was the fourth recipient of this prestigious award.
Later that year, Clooney received the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award for his dedication to humanitarian efforts in Sudan and Haiti.
In December of 2010, Clooney, along with the United Nations, Harvard University and Google, launched ``The Satellite Sentinel Project, an effort to monitor violence and human-rights violations between Southern and Northern Sudan. Not on Our Watch funded new monitoring technology, which allows private satellites to take photographs of any potential threats to civilians, detect bombs, observe the movement of troops and note any other evidence of possible mass violence.
MATT DAMON (James Granger) most recently starred in the sci-fi hit Elysium, directed by Neill Blomkamp, and in his seventh film for Steven Soderbergh, ``Behind the Candelabra, produced by HBO and released theatrically worldwide following its network television premiere. For his performance in ``Behind the Candelabra, Damon was honored with Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe nominations. Damon previously worked with Soderbergh on The Informant!, Contagion, Che, Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen.
``Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas as Liberace, was nominated for the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival and won 11 Emmys in its U.S. television release.
Damon's other television accolades include three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for executive producing the three seasons of the documentary series ``Project Greenlight.
Damon received Academy Award(R), Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for his role in Clint Eastwood's 2009 historical drama, Invictus. Previously, for his work on the film Good Will Hunting, he was honored with Academy Award(R) and Golden Globe award nominations for his performance and an Oscar(R) for co-writing the original screenplay. He also received Golden Globe nominations for his starring roles in Soderbergh's The Informant! and Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Damon starred as Jason Bourne in the thrillers The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. He also starred opposite an all-star cast in Stephen Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, and Ocean's Thirteen.
Damon's credits also include Promised Land, which he co-wrote and produced in 2012; We Bought a Zoo; Margaret; The Adjustment Bureau; True Grit; Hereafter; Green Zone; The Good Shepherd; The Departed; Syriana; The Brothers Grimm; Stuck on You; Gerry; All the Pretty Horses; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Dogma; Rounders; Saving Private Ryan; The Rainmaker, Chasing Amy; Courage Under Fire; Geronimo: An American Legend and School Ties.
BILL MURRAY (Richard Campbell) most recently starred as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actor. Last year, he also reunited with director Wes Anderson on Moonrise Kingdom. He has acted in all of Anderson's previous features, including The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, and Fantastic Mr. Fox (in voiceover). His starring role in Anderson's 1998 comedy, Rushmore, brought him the New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Independent Spirit Awards for Best Supporting Actor. He will also be starring in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel alongside Ralph Fiennes in March of this year.
Born in Chicago, he began his acting career there with the improvisational troupe Second City. He joined the cast of NBC's ``Saturday Night Live in the show's second season, and shortly thereafter won an Emmy Award as one of the show's writers. He later authored the book Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf.
After making his screen debut in Ivan Reitman's Meatballs, Murray re-teamed with the director on Stripes and the Ghostbusters movies. His film credits also include Harold Ramis' Caddyshack and Groundhog Day; Art Linson's Where the Buffalo Roam; Sydney Pollack's Tootsie; John Byrum's The Razor's Edge; Richard Donner's Scrooged; Frank Oz's What About Bob?; John McNaughton's Mad Dog and Glory and Wild Things; Tim Burton's Ed Wood; Peter and Bobby Farrelly's Kingpin; Jon Amiel's The Man Who Knew Too Little; Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock; Michael Almereyda's Hamlet; Gil Kenan's City of Ember; Aaron Schneider's Get Low, for which he received Spirit and Satellite Award nominations; Mitch Glazer's Passion Play; and Roman Coppola's A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III.
For his performance in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, Murray received the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Independent Spirit, and New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago film critics' Awards, among others, for Best Actor. He also was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award(R).
He starred for Jim Jarmusch in the Delirium segment of Coffee and Cigarettes; in Broken Flowers, for which he was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actor; and in The Limits of Control.
JOHN GOODMAN's (Walter Garfield) recent film projects include Ben Affleck's drama Argo, which won the 2013 Academy Award(R) for Best Picture, Robert Zemeckis' thriller Flight; and Clint Eastwood's sports drama Trouble with the Curve. Goodman won the 2013 National Board of Review Spotlight Award for his composite work in Argo, Flight and Trouble with the Curve.
Among his 2013 releases were the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis, which premiered to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Disney/Pixar animated feature Monsters University.
Goodman's other recent film credits include the Weinstein Co.'s Academy Award(R)-winning black-and-white silent feature The Artist and Warner Bros.' Oscar(R) nominated drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, directed by Stephen Daldry.
His recent TV credits include DirecTV's ``Damages and NBC's ``Community. Among Goodman's many accolades for his work on television are a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and seven Emmy nominations for his role in ``Roseanne. He also earned Emmy nominations for his starring roles in TNT's ``Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long and in the CBS production of Tennessee Williams' ``A Streetcar Named Desire. In 2007, Goodman won his second Emmy, for Outstanding Guest Actor, on ``Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
HBO's biopic of Jack Kevorkian, ``You Don't Know Jack, reunited Goodman with Al Pacino (Sea of Love) and Susan Sarandon (Speed Racer). The film also brought him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie and a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.
Previous film credits include In The Electric Mist, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Bee Movie, Pope Joan, Alabama Moon, Gigantic, Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, Beyond the Sea, Masked and Anonymous, Storytelling, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Coyote Ugly, What Planet Are You From?, One Night at McCool's, Bringing Out the Dead, Fallen, The Borrowers, Blues Brothers 2000, The Runner, The Flintstones, Mother Night, Arachnophobia, Always, Pie in the Sky, Born Yesterday, Matinee, The Babe, King Ralph, Punchline, Everybody's All-American, Sea of Love, Stella, Eddie Macon's Run, C.H.U.D., Revenge of the Nerds, Maria's Lovers, Sweet Dreams, True Stories, The Big Easy, Burglar, The Wrong Guys, Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski. Goodman earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the Coen Brothers film Barton Fink.
He has lent his voice to many animated films, including Monsters, Inc., The Emperor's New Groove, Tales of the Rat Fink and The Jungle Book II. He also voiced a main character in NBC's animated series ``Father of the Pride.
Goodman went to Southwest Missouri State intending to play football, but an injury led him to switch his major to drama. He never returned to football and graduated with a degree in Theatre.
Goodman starred on Broadway in ``Waiting for Godot, for which he received rave reviews as Pozzo. His other stage credits include many dinner theatre and children's theatre productions, as well as several off-Broadway plays. His regional theatre credits include ``Henry IV, Parts I and II, ``Antony and Cleopatra, ``As You Like It and ``A Christmas Carol. He performed in a road production of ``The Robber Bridegroom and starred in two Broadway shows, ``Loose Ends in 1979 and ``Big River in 1985. In 2001, he starred in the NY Shakespeare Festival Central Park staging of ``The Seagull, directed by Mike Nichols. The following year he appeared on Broadway in the Public Theatre's ``Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.
Goodman and his family have homes in Los Angeles and New Orleans.
JEAN DUJARDIN (Jean Claude Clermont) garnered international acclaim for his performance as George Valentin in The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius' tribute to Hollywood's silent era that went on to win five Academy Awards(R) in 2012, including Best Picture and a Best Actor nod for the French star. That same year, Dujardin was also awarded a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical, a BAFTA award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Independent Spirit Award, amongst other prizes. The amazing journey of The Artist started at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011, where, following the film's premiere, Dujardin received a Best Actor trophy from the hands of jury president Robert De Niro.
Jean Dujardin began his career in the early 1990s doing standup with his comedy troupe Nous C Nous, who eventually got their own special on French national television. In 1999, he got his big beak, starring in the hit sitcom ``Un gars, une fille with Alexandra Lamy. The show lasted for five seasons and averaged seven million viewers per episode, a phenomenal success that allowed Dujardin to transition to the big screen. After supporting roles in Mariages! and Le Convoyeur (2004), he got his first leading role in Brice de Nice, based on a character Dujardin had created on stage. The film became the most successful French movie of that year. Dujardin had another hit the following year with the spy comedy OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, which spawned a sequel in 2009, OSS 117: Lost in Rio. Both were directed by Michel Hazanavicius, who teamed up again with Dujardin in 2011 for The Artist.
After winning the Oscar(R), Dujardin made his American debut in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, playing Swiss banker Jean-Jacques Saurel opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.
Dujardin is currently shooting the thriller La French, which reunites him with Gilles Lellouche, with whom he wrote, produced, starred in and co-directed a segment of the anthology film Les Infidèles in 2012. This Christmas, Dujardin will also produce and appear in a second edition of his ``Saturday Night Live-inspired TV sketch comedy show Le Débarquement.
Additional credits include 99 francs (2007), Ca$h (2008), Lucky Luke (2009), The Clink of Ice (2010), Little White Lies (2010), Un balcon sur la mer (2010) and Möbius (2013).
BOB BALABAN (Preston Savitz) most recently co-starred in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and with Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening in the comedy Girl Most Likely. He will next appear in Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel and in John Turturro's Fading Gigolo.
Balaban was an Academy Award(R) and Golden Globe Award nominee as producer of Robert Altman's Best Picture contender Gosford Park, which brought Altman the Golden Globe Award for Best Director and Julian Fellowes the Academy Award(R) for Best Original Screenplay, based on an idea by Altman and Balaban. He also shared the Screen Actors Guild Award's top prize for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture. He and his fellow producers won BAFTA's Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film.
He directed the telefilm ``Georgia O'Keeffe, starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, which was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and nine Emmy Awards. The movie brought Balaban his second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special. The first came for ``Bernard and Doris, which he also produced. That movie, starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, received 10 Emmy Award nominations overall, as well as three Golden Globe Award nominations. Balaban also earned Directors Guild of America Award nominations and a Producer's Guild Award nomination.
In 2002, Balaban produced and directed the hit Off-Broadway play ``The Exonerated starring Richard Dreyfuss and Jill Clayburgh, which won the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the New York Times ``Play of the Year. He produced and directed the show's touring version with Robin Williams, Stockard Channing, and Mia Farrow among many others. And the television version, which starred Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Aidan Quinn, Delroy Lindo and Brian Dennehy.
HUGH BONNEVILLE (Donald Jeffries) was a member of the National Youth Theatre, studied Theology at Cambridge and made his professional debut at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, in 1986, bashing a cymbal in ``A Midsummer Night's Dream and understudying Ralph Fiennes as Lysander. He then spent several seasons with the National Theatre, where he appeared in ``School For Wives, ``Yerma, ``Entertaining Strangers, and ``Juno and the Paycock; he also played Charles Surface in ``The School for Scandal and the title role in ``The Devil's Disciple. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991, appearing in ``Two Gentlemen of Verona, ``The Alchemist, ``'Tis Pity She's a Whore, ``The Virtuso, and ``Amphibians. He also played Laertes to Kenneth Branagh's ``Hamlet. His work at the RSC brought him a nomination for The Ian Charleson Award. Other theatre includes ``Habeas Corpus at the Donmar, directed by Sam Mendes, and seasons at Colchester, Leicester Haymarket and Chichester. He also appeared in ``My Night with Reg (Criterion & Playhouse), ``Us and Them (Hampstead) and ``Cloaca (Old Vic, directed by Kevin Spacey).
In recent years Bonneville has become a familiar face to television audiences, with leading roles in ``The Cazalets, ``Take a Girl Like You, ``Armadillo, ``Daniel Deronda and ``The Commander. He appeared in the Emmy award-winning ``The Gathering Storm and played the poet Philip Larkin in ``Love Again. Other credits range from comedies like ``The Robinsons, ``The Vicar of Dibley, ``Freezing, ``Rev, ``Getting On, and ``Mr Stink to dramas such as ``Diary of a Nobody, ``Tsunami: The Aftermath, ``Miss Austen Regrets, ``Five Days, ``Hunter, ``The Silence, and ``Doctor Who.
``Twenty Twelve won a British Comedy Award (2011) and a BAFTA (2013) for Best Situation Comedy, with Bonneville being nominated two years running as Best Comedy Actor. The show also won Best Comedy at both the South Bank Sky Arts and the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.
``Mr Stink, in which Bonneville played the eponymous tramp, was nominated for a BAFTA as Best Comedy in 2013.
``Downton Abbey has won two BAFTAs, nine Emmys, a Golden Globe, a SAG award for Best Ensemble Cast as well as Broadcast and 2 National Television Awards. Hugh has received nominations for a Golden Globe and 2 Emmys for his performance as Robert, Earl of Grantham. In 2013, the cast won Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the first non-US show to do so.
Bonneville made his feature film debut in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in 1994, directed by Kenneth Branagh. He has since appeared in more than a dozen films, including Notting Hill, Mansfield Park, Stage Beauty, Asylum, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Man to Man, From Time to Time, Glorious 39, Burke & Hare, Third Star and Shanghai. In 2002 Bonneville won the New Talent Award at the Berlin Film Festival and a BAFTA Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of the young John Bayley in Iris; in 2008, he won Best Actor at the Monte Carlo Film Festival for his performance in French Film. Filming has recently completed on a big screen remake of ``Paddington Bear, the classic BBC children's series and much loved Michael Bond books, with producer David Heyman (Harry Potter) and director Paul King.
In the mid 90's, Bonneville co-produced ``Beautiful Thing at the Duke of York's Theatre and wrote ``Half Time with Christopher Luscombe, which he also directed.
With BBC Films, Bonneville has been developing his first feature as a producer from a screenplay by Aschlin Ditta (Scenes of a Sexual Nature, French Film, ``The Catherine Tate Show), based on Me: The Authorised Biography, the autobiography of journalist Byron Rogers. Filming is scheduled for September 2014.
CATE BLANCHETT (Claire Simone) served as the co-Artistic Director and co-CEO of Sydney Theatre Company, alongside Andrew Upton from 2008-2013. She is a graduate of the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art and holds Honorary Doctorates of Letters from the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney.
Blanchett won an Academy Award(R) for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, for which she also won BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards and received a Golden Globe nomination. In 2008, Blanchett was nominated for two Oscars(R): for Best Actress for her performance in Elizabeth: The Golden Age and for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There, making her only the fifth actor in Academy history to be nominated in both acting categories in the same year. Additionally, she received dual SAG and BAFTA Award nominations, for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively, for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and I'm Not There. For the latter, she also won a Golden Globe Award, an Independent Spirit Award, several critics groups' awards, and the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 2007 Venice Film Festival.
She earned her first Oscar(R) nomination and won BAFTA, Golden Globe and London Film Critics Circle Awards for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth. She also received Oscar(R), Golden Globe and SAG Award(R) nominations for her performance in Notes on a Scandal. Additionally, Blanchett has earned Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress for the title role in Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin and her work in Barry Levinson's Bandits, and, earlier, another BAFTA Award nomination for her performance in Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Blanchett most recently starred in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine and is reprising her role as Galadriel in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. Blanchett originated the role of Galadriel in Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This year, Blanchett will also star in Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups with Natalie Portman and Christian Bale, and will voice the character Valka in the upcoming animated film How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Blanchett's many other film credits include Joe Wright's Hanna; Ridley Scott's Robin Hood; David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Steven Spielberg's blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Steven Soderbergh's The Good German; Babel; and Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Among her other film credits are Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination; Ron Howard's The Missing; Gillian Armstrong's Charlotte Gray; Lasse Hallström's The Shipping News; Rowan Woods' Little Fish; Mike Newell's Pushing Tin; Oliver Parker's An Ideal Husband; Sam Raimi's The Gift; Sally Potter's The Man Who Cried; Bruce Beresford's Paradise Road; the romantic comedy Thank God He Met Lizzie, for which she won both the Australian Film Institute (AFI) and the Sydney Film Critics Awards for Best Supporting Actress; and Gillian Armstrong's Oscar and Lucinda opposite Ralph Fiennes, for which she also earned an AFI nomination for Best Actress.
Blanchett has worked extensively on the stage in Australia and abroad. For the past five years, she has been the co-Artistic Director and co-CEO of Sydney Theatre Company (STC), alongside Andrew Upton. During this time, Blanchett performed ``Richard II in the celebrated STC production of ``The Wars of The Roses; Blanche Du Bois in Tennessee Williams' ``A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Liv Ullmann, which traveled to much critical acclaim from Sydney to Washington D.C. and New York (she received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress in a non-resident production for this role, and her performance was considered the 'Performance of the Year' by The New York Times); Yelena in Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, in a version adapted by Andrew Upton as part of STC's 2010 Main Stage season, which was also staged in Washington, DC and at New York City's Lincoln Center Festival in June 2012 (and for which she also won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress); and Lotte in Botto Strauss' ``Gross und Klein, which toured extensively throughout Europe in 2012 following a 2011 Sydney season and was part of the London Cultural Olympiad. Her performance in ``Gross und Klein received much critical acclaim and won her the Helpmann Award for Best Actress and a nomination for Best Actress in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. In the summer of 2013, Blanchett co-starred with Isabelle Huppert in the Sydney Theatre Company's adaptation of Jean Genet's 1947 play, ``The Maids, directed by Benedict Andrews and adapted by Andrew Upton.
Blanchett has been awarded the Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society through Acting, and in 2007 she was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People. She has also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2008, Blanchett co-chaired the creative stream of the Prime Minister of Australia's National 2020 Summit. She is a patron of the Sydney Film Festival and an ambassador for the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Film Institute.
Blanchett resides in Sydney with her husband and three children.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS:
GEORGE CLOONEY (Director / Co-writer / Producer / Frank Stokes) Please see biography in Cast section.
GRANT HESLOV (Co-writer / Producer) has been recognized for his work as a producer, writer, director and actor.
A four-time Academy Award(R) nominee, Heslov earned the Best Picture Oscar(R) as producer of Argo, the multi award-winning historical drama directed by Ben Affleck. The film also won Best Picture awards from BAFTA, the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild of America (PGA).
Heslov received an Oscar(R) nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2011 political drama The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney, who also starred in the film alongside Ryan Gosling. In addition, Heslov received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations for the screenplay, as well as a Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award nomination as one of the film's producers. He won dual Oscar(R) nominations, for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, for Clooney's fact-based drama Good Night, and Good Luck. For his work on the film, Heslov also won a Writers Guild of America Award and the PGA's Stanley Kramer Award. Among the film's numerous honors, Heslov also garnered two BAFTA Award nominations, for both Best Picture and Original Screenplay; a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay; an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Feature; and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination as part of the ensemble cast.
In 2009, Heslov made his major feature film directorial debut with The Men Who Stare at Goats, starring Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey. He has also produced Clooney's period football comedy Leatherheads and Anton Corbijn's thriller The American.
For television, he recently served as an executive producer on the TNT series ``Memphis Beat. Additionally, he served as an executive producer and director on the HBO series ``Unscripted, and as co-executive producer on ``K Street, also for HBO.
Heslov began his producing career as a co-producer on Intolerable Cruelty, which marked his first collaboration with Clooney. Heslov and Clooney most recently collaborated as producers on the film version of Tracy Letts' award-winning play August: Osage County.
ROBERT M. EDSEL (Based on the book by) is the New York Times bestselling author of the nonfiction books Rescuing Da Vinci, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History and Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis.
Edsel is also the co-producer of the award-winning documentary film, The Rape of Europa. In addition, he is the Founder and President of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, a not-for-profit entity that received the National Humanities Medal, the highest honor given in the United States for work in the Humanities.
Edsel has been awarded the Texas Medal of Arts Award, the President's Call to Service Award and the Hope for Humanity Award, presented by the Dallas Holocaust Museum. He also serves as a Trustee at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.
BARBARA A. HALL (Executive Producer) has an extensive list of feature film credits to her name. The Monuments Men is her fifth film with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. She also worked with them on The Ides of March, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Leatherheads and Good Night, and Good Luck.
Hall's credits as executive producer include Hanna, All Good Things, The Company Men, Milk, and Art School Confidential. She also executive produced the HBO movie The Sunset Limited.
Hall served as co-producer or line producer on Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Ray, Ghost World, and Albino Alligator. She began her career as a production coordinator on such films as City Slickers, The Mambo Kings, and Benny & Joon.
An award-winning director and cinematographer, PHEDON PAPAMICHAEL, ASC (Director of Photography) was born in Athens, Greece and moved with his family to Germany, where in 1982 he completed his education in fine arts in Munich. Working as a photojournalist brought Papamichael to New York City in 1983, where he started crossing over into cinematography.
His first feature film, the 35mm black and white Spud, earned him the award for Best Cinematography at the Cork Film Festival, Ireland. Following a call from John Cassavetes, his cousin and later collaborator, Papamichael moved to Los Angeles. While continuing to work on short and experimental films, he began his feature career as a director of photography for Roger Corman, for whom he photographed seven films in two years.
Papamichael now counts 44 feature films to his credit as director of photography, including early blockbusters America's Sweethearts, starring Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Phenomenon, starring John Travolta and directed by Jon Turteltaub, for whom he also shot While You Were Sleeping and Cool Runnings.
His credits include many critically acclaimed and award-winning films, such as Unstrung Heroes (Un Certain Regard, Cannes 1995) directed by Diane Keaton, Unhook the Stars starring Gena Rowlands and directed by Nick Cassavetes, and The Locusts (Mezzogiorno, Venice Film Festival 1997). The Million Dollar Hotel, directed by Wim Wenders, and 27 Missing Kisses are also among his credits.
In 2001, Papamichael shot Moonlight Mile (Berlinale, 2003) directed by Brad Silberling, starring Academy Award(R) winners Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Holly Hunter. It was followed by Identity, directed by James Mangold, and the Oscar(R)-nominated Sideways, directed by Alexander Payne.
He collaborated with Gore Verbinski on The Weather Man, starring Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine, and re-teamed with James Mangold on Walk the Line, for which Joaquin Phoenix received a Best Actor Academy Award(R) nomination and Reese Witherspoon won the Academy Award(R) for Best Actress. The film also won the Golden Frog at Cameraimage (President's Award 2005) for Best Cinematography.
Papamichael shot the critically acclaimed Western 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale; 10 Items or Less directed by Brad Silberling and starring Morgan Freeman; The Pursuit of Happyness, for which Will Smith received an Academy Award(R) nomination; and Oliver Stone's W. He also served as Director of Photography on Alexander Payne's The Descendants starring George Clooney, which went on to win an Oscar(R) for Best Adapted Screenplay along with nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Editor.
More recently, he shot the popular Judd Apatow comedy, This Is 40, and collaborated again with Alexander Payne on Nebraska, which took the Cannes Film Festival by storm with a nomination for the Palme D'or and a Best Actor win for Bruce Dern.
As a director, Papamichael's psychological horror film From Within, starring Adam Goldberg, Thomas Dekker and Jared Harris, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008. It has won a total of seven awards, including the 2008 Solstice Film Festival Grand Jury Award. His fourth directing endeavor, Arcadia Lost, starring Nick Nolte and filmed entirely on location in Greece in 2008, was selected by 11 international film festivals. His latest directorial assignment, Lost Angeles, starring Joelle Carter, renewed his collaboration with Adam Goldberg, Seymour Cassel, Mark Boon Junior and Kelly Blatz.
In addition to his feature work, Papamichael has shot and directed over 100 commercials for such clients as BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Cadillac, Nissan, Allstate, Goodyear, McDonalds and many others.
His work also includes several ventures into television, among them Oliver Stone's innovative miniseries ``Wild Palms, which received a 1993 ASC Award nomination for Best Cinematography. The Francis Ford Coppola-produced pilots ``The Conversation and ``White Dwarf followed, the latter earning him his second ASC Award nomination in 1995.
His work as cinematographer includes music video collaborations with U2, Eric Clapton, Bryan Ferry and Pearl Jam. He also worked on the Grammy-nominated long-format video for Willie Nelson at the Teatro, directed by Wim Wenders. Papamichael was also the Visual Supervisor for Wenders' Academy Award(R)-nominated Buena Vista Social Club..
Papamichael's many international awards include the Orpheus Career Achievement Award given by the LAGFF in 2010. He was accepted as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1997, where he served several years on the Cinematographers Branch Executive Committee. Papamichael is also a member of The American Society of Cinematographers and the International Cinematographers Guild.
Papamichael resides in Los Angeles and Athens, Greece with his family and speaks English, German, French and Greek. He holds German, Greek and U.S. citizenship.
JIM BISSELL (Production Designer) began his career as a motion picture production designer on Steven Spielberg's enduring classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which earned him a BAFTA nomination for Best Production Design. He later reunited with director Spielberg on the films Always and The Twilight Zone, and producer Spielberg on Harry and the Hendersons and Arachnophobia.
Over his 35-year career, he has collaborated with directors such as John Schlesinger (The Falcon and the Snowman), Ridley Scott (Someone to Watch Over Me), Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer and Jumanji) and Ron Shelton (Hollywood Homicide and Tin Cup). Early in his career, Bissell won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Director for a Television Series for his work on ``Palmerstown, U.S.A., which was produced by Norman Lear and Alex Haley. More recently, he was honored with nominations from the Art Directors Guild for his work on Zack Snyder's 300 and The Spiderwick Chronicles. In all, he has served as Production Designer on 30 films.
Bissell is a regular collaborator with director George Clooney, starting with his directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. This was followed in 2005 with Good Night, and Good Luck and continued with the 2007 release of Leatherheads. Good Night, and Good Luck garnered Art Direction nominations from both the Art Directors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as a Satellite Award for best Production Design. The Monuments Men is his fourth collaboration with the director.
From 2009 through 2010, he worked with director Brad Bird on developing 1906, and then went on to design Bird's live action directorial debut: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
He has been a guest lecturer at USC, AFI and the North Carolina School of the Arts and is a former instructor at the UCLA School of Continuing Education. Bissell is a past vice president of the Art Directors Guild and is on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He holds a BFA in Theater from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
STEPHEN MIRRIONE, A.C.E. (Editor) has collaborated with George Clooney on four previous features, most recently editing the political thriller The Ides of March. He also edited the romantic comedy Leatherheads, the highly acclaimed Good Night, and Good Luck - which earned Mirrione editing nominations from BAFTA and the American Cinema Editors Awards - and Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
In 2001, Mirrione received an Academy Award(R) for his work on Traffic, his first film with Steven Soderbergh, which began a long-term collaboration that included The Informant!, Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, and Contagion.
Mirrione recently reteamed with director Alejandro González Iñárritu on the Oscar(R)-nominated Best Foreign Language Film entry from Mexico, Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem. In 2007, Mirrione garnered his second Academy Award(R) nomination for his work on Iñárritu's Babel, which premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, earning Mirrione the Vulcain Artist-Technician Award. He won the American Cinema Editors Award for his work on Babel as well as a BAFTA nomination. In 2004, he earned a BAFTA nomination for editing 21 Grams, also directed by González Iñárritu.
Most recently, Mirrione edited Jill Sprecher's The Convincer, his third film with the director following their collaboration on Clockwatchers and Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. Other editing credits include Doug Liman's Swingers and Go.
LOUISE FROGLEY (Costume Designer) has received Excellence in Costume Design for Film (Contemporary) nominations for both Ocean's Thirteen and Traffic. She also collaborated with Steven Soderbergh on the films The Good German and The Limey.
In 2006, Frogley's designs for Good Night, and Good Luck, directed by George Clooney, earned her a Costume Designers Guild nomination for Excellence in Costume Design for a Period Film. In 2008, she again collaborated with Clooney on the period romantic comedy Leatherheads, which he directed and starred in. She was also the Costume Designer on the feature The Ides of March, which he produced, co-wrote and starred in opposite Ryan Gosling. The Monuments Men will be her eighth collaboration with Clooney as an actor, director or producer.
For her work on Stephen Gaghan's Syriana, she received the Guild's nomination for Excellence in a Contemporary Film. She had previously collaborated with Gaghan on his feature film directorial debut, Abandon.
In 2010 Frogley designed the costumes for Robert Redford's period drama The Conspirator, Julie Anne Robinson's The Last Song starring Miley Cyrus, Grant Heslov's feature directorial debut The Men Who Stare at Goats starring George Clooney, and the James Bond film Quantum of Solace directed by Marc Forster and starring Daniel Craig.
Her costumes were also seen in the romantic thriller Skeleton Key starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands and John Hurt; and the horror-fantasy Constantine, based on the comic book Hellblazer and starring Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz.
More recently, her costume design can be seen in Soderbergh's thriller Contagian, in the Oscar(R) nominated Flight starring Denzel Washington and in Marvel's Iron Man 3.
Her first movie assignment was as assistant costume designer on Hugh Hudson's Academy Award(R)-winning film Chariots of Fire. Since that initial foray, Frogley has dressed over 20 features including the romantic thriller Spy Game and Man on Fire for director Tony Scott, Stigmata, U.S. Marshals, Ron Shelton's Bull Durham and Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa, among others.
Born in Britain, Frogley spent her childhood commuting from school in England to her family's home in Kenya. She has been based in Los Angeles for the past 20 years.
ALEXANDRE DESPLAT (Composer) has been nominated for five Oscars(R) for Best Original Score: The Queen (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and Best Picture Academy Award(R) winners The King's Speech (2010) and Argo (2012).
A gifted musician who is classically trained as a flautist, Desplat was born in Paris to a Greek mother and French father who had met when studying at Berkeley, California. His early love of cinema led him to study the scores of Derlerue, Jarre, Rota, Waxman, Herrmann, Mancini, Williams and Goldsmith.
He began his career in European cinema scoring over 50 movies before making an impression on Hollywood in 2003 with his evocative score to Girl with a Pearl Earring starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth. The film earned him Golden Globes, BAFTA, and European Film Award nominations. He established his reputation as one of Hollywood's elite composers with highly acclaimed scores to Jonathan Glazer's Birth and Stephen Gaghan's Syriana, his first connection with George Clooney.
In 2006, he wrote the score to Stephen Frear's The Queen, for which he received his first Oscar(R) nomination. In the same year, he won a Golden Globe for his score to John Curren's The Painted Veil.
He went on to write the scores for Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, for which he won the Taiwanese Film Festival's Golden Horse Award for the best original score; David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA and earned his second Oscar(R) nomination; and Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox for which he also received BAFTA and Oscar(R) nominations.
In 2010, he wrote the score to Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, for which he won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar(R) and a Golden Globe. He also worked with David Yates on Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2, for which he was nominated for a Grammy. He collaborated for the second time with George Clooney on the political drama, The Ides of March.
More recently, Desplat provided the scores for Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Rust and Bone starring Marion Cotillard; Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, Jacques Audiard's A Prophet and The Beat That My Heart Skipped (for which Desplat won the Silver Berlin Bear), Roman Polanski's Venus in Fur and The Ghost Writer (for which Desplat won the Cesar and the European Film Award). His upcoming work includes the scores for Jerome Salle's Zulu, starring Orlando Bloom; writer/director Daniel Auteuil's Fanny; Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel; and the anticipated remake of Godzilla, starring Bryan Cranston.
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