Looks like two major Oscar contenders are vying for similar settings with their upcoming films. George Clooney (The Ides of March) has announced his next directing project will be The Monuments Men, a story about art historians joining the army to recover art stolen by Adolf Hitler. Michel Hazanavicius, director of the Oscar frontrunner The Artist, will next make a film “inspired by” Fred Zinneman’s Oscar-winning 1948 film, The Search. Hit the jump for more info on both projects.
First up, The Monuments Men. The L.A. Times spoke with Clooney, who revealed that he wrote the script with his frequent collaborator and producing partner Grant Heslov and that Clooney plans to direct. Based on Robert Esdel’s 2009 book, Monuments Men tells the real life tale of 11 civilian art experts – among them, the founder of the New York City Ballet, and an employee of the Metropolitan Museum – who never trained for combat, but were tasked with retrieving stolen art from Europe.
“It’s an amazing story, and Grant and I are already thinking about how great the casting can be. There’s also a great love story,” Clooney said. “Hitler was an art fanatic, and he stashed masterpieces everywhere. He hid 27 Rembrants in a coffin.” Sounds like it could be fun, and since he’s never directed a film he hasn’t appeared in, expect the director to step in front of the camera again – if not as the lead, at least in a supporting role.
Hazanavicius’ new prospect is a bit more somber. Eschewing the silent, black and white style of The Artist, The Search will be a drama set in Chechnya. “In the original film, the story revolved around a young boy who survived a concentration camp,” the director told Variety. “In my film, the focus will be on the special relationship between a woman and a young boy as well.” Hazanavicius has already secured Berenice Bejo, his female star of The Artist, for the lead in The Search, a mother on a quest to find her son. (Locking Bejo was a presumably easy task, considering the two are married in real life.)
What do you think about these projects? Sound off in the comments.