George Clooney has begun shooting in Berlin on his latest project as a director, The Monuments Men, which Sony's Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox are backing together with Germany's Studio Babelsberg.
The action-thriller, which Clooney co-wrote together with Grant Heslov, who partnered on the screenplays to Good Night and Good Luck (2005) and, together with Beau Willimon, on Ides of March (2011), is based on the book of the same name by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter. It is based on the true story of a group of art historians, museum directors and curators who went on a U.S. military mission behind enemy lines during World War II to rescue artistic masterpieces from the Nazis.
Clooney will star alongside Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and John Goodman.
Clooney and Heslov will also produce through their Smoke House Productions shingle. The Monuments Men will be their first feature since winning the Best Picture Oscar for their work with Ben Affleck on Argo. The feature is clearly targeting the 2014 Oscars, with Sony planning a December 18th release stateside. 20th Century Fox is handling international territories on the film.
Studio Babelsberg is co-producing through its Siebente Babelsberg Film subsidiary. Clooney was spotted at this year's Berlin Film Festival last month as he scouted locations for the film.
The Monuments Men's executive producer is Barbara A. Hall with Babelsberg's Charlie Woebcken, Christoph Fisser and Henning Molfenter serving as co-producers. The film is set to shoot in Germany and the U.K. through the end of June.