George Clooney is back behind the camera with ‘The Momuments Men’

"The Monuments Men" - Los Angeles Photo Call
“I like it more than acting now,” says Clooney about his seat at the director’s chair. / Getty Images

You may think all the World War II stories that could be committed to film have been covered, but George Clooney’s got a new one for you. His latest as a director, “The Monuments Men,” is based on the real exploits of a team of art experts tasked with recovering priceless works the Nazis were hoarding in the waning days of the war.

“We wanted to make an entertaining film, and we liked the story — we were not all that familiar with this actual story, which is rare for a World War II story — and we wanted it to be accessible,” Clooney says. “We wanted to talk about a very serious subject that’s ongoing and we wanted to make it entertaining. That was the goal. A movie about saving art doesn’t really sound all that fun, so you have to remind people that what we’re talking about isn’t just these paintings on a wall.

“It’s about culture, the fabric of our culture. You can kill them, you can murder their families, but if you take away their culture then that’s when society breaks down.”

The conviction with which he speaks comes from a very personal place — and from personal experiences that helped motivate him to undertake the film in the first place. “I spent a lot of time going through villages in the Sudan and Darfur where it wasn’t enough that you killed them and you killed their children and you did all this stuff, they had to destroy the things that they’d created — from generations before,” Clooney remembers. “They had to destroy what made the village theirs, and that was as important as the raping and the murdering of these families. We started to understand how when we didn’t protect the art during the beginning of the war in Iraq — we didn’t protect those museums and now a lot of those things are lost, those artifacts — how that can actually affect the community in a very deep way. What are you fighting for if it’s not your culture, your life?”

His fifth film as a director, “The Monuments Men” marks Clooney’s first outing behind the camera since 2011′s “The Ides of March,” and while those jobs take longer to get out, he’s much happier in the director’s chair, he’s found. “I prefer directing to doing other things. Directing and writing, I think, they seem to be infinitely more creative,” he says. “I like it more than acting now. I don’t know whether it’s improving or not, but it’s definitely evolving in different directions.

“All you’re trying to do is learn from people that you’ve worked with. I’ve worked with the Coen brothers, with Soderbergh, Alexander Payne — I’ve worked with really great directors. You just try to watch what they’re doing and then steal it. That’s the theory. You go, ‘Oh, I like that. I’m going to do it that way.’”


Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…


Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…


Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…


Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…


‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'


Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.


'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…


Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.


Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.


Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version


This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…


This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…


Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.


5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.