'Monuments Men' parts inspired by real people
In this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 photo, from left, actor Bob Balaban, director, screenwriter and actor, George Clooney, actor John Goodman, actor Bill Murray, actress Cate Blanchett, actor Matt Damon and screenwriter Grant Heslov pose during a photocall for "The Monuments Men" at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Los Angeles. The World War II drama opens Friday, Feb 7, 2014. Based on a true story, the film is adapted from Robert Edsel's book, "The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History." (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
DALLAS (AP) — The characters in the new George Clooney film "The Monuments Men" were inspired by real people who worked to save cultural treasures across Europe during World War II. Filmmakers fictionalized some of the characters, but the Dallas-based Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, founded by Robert Edsel, who wrote the book the movie is based on, matched some of the cast with the real people they were based on.
MATT DAMON: Damon plays James Granger, inspired by museum director James Rorimer. After graduating from Harvard, he went to work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Largely responsible for developing the Met's medieval collections, he became curator of the building that housed them, known as the Cloisters, when it opened in 1938. He became Cloisters director after the war in 1949, and became director of the museum in 1955, a position he held until his death in 1966 at age 60 from a heart attack.
In this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 photo, actress Cate Blanchett poses with cast members, rear, John Goodman, Bill Murray and Matt Damon, during a photocall for "The Monuments Men" at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. The World War II drama opens Friday, Feb 7, 2014. Based on a true story, the film is adapted from Robert Edsel's book, "The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History." (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
GEORGE CLOONEY: Clooney plays Frank Stokes, inspired by George Stout, a Harvard art conservationist who had served in World War I. Edsel said it was Stout's idea to create the group that eventually became the Monuments Men. "Every time they would find discoveries, the word went out to find Stout because he was such an even steady hand. And he was methodical and he was calm," Edsel said. Stout left Europe in July 1945 and was sent to Japan in October, where he volunteered his services as a Monuments Man there. He later resumed his position as head of the conservation department at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum. In 1947, he became director of the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts. In 1955, he became director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where he remained until 1970. He died in 1978 at the age of 80.