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Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

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Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Mazy on Mon Jul 01 2013, 23:37

There is a few really nice pictures I got excited like I just got a present, great one with George and Grant.

Monuments Memories
Eight weeks ago I paid a secret visit to the set of George Clooney‘s Monuments Men in Germany’s Harz mountains. It wasn’t on the level of Henry Kissinger‘s secret visit to China to arrange for Richard Nixon‘s 1972 state visit, but when Sony publicity told me to keep mum until after shooting wrapped on 6.26, I gave them my word. Yes, I’d previously told HE readers I was doing it, but then I clammed up and pretended I’d never posted such a thing. My mother called from Connecticut to ask where I was. “I can’t say, mom,” I replied, “but I can tell you this much — I’m definitely not visiting a movie set.”

On the set of Monuments Men in Bad Grund Germany on 5.6.13: (l.) producer & co-writer Grant Heslov, star-director-producer & cowriter George Clooney.

The outdoor mine-shaft set that was Ground Zero on the day I arrived.

Based on Robert Edsel‘s “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” it’s basically about a bunch of caring wisecares in fatigues and helmets saving civilization from ruin. Literally. By doing what they can to rescue or salvage tens of thousands of art treasures — mostly paintings — that have been stolen and freighted away by the Nazis. Enlightened warriors, if you will. Guys who know that after World War II ends the quality of life on the planet earth will be seriously diminished if the great European art treasures have been hidden or destroyed. And so they’re out to prevent that with whatever maneuvers they can think of.

Clooney plays Frank Stokes, the leader of a ragtag group of art commandos…hold on, I’m giving the wrong impression here. This is not Ocean’s 11 in olive-drab fatigues or an art-appreciating Dirty Dozen or Kelly’s Heroes. Or is it? I don’t really know because a script is only a starting point, but I know it’s not Schindler’s List. It feels more to me like a “movie” than a “film”, but that in itself might be inaccurate. I really don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. Do bad or life-threatening things happen to some of these guys? Yeah. So it’s not a WWII romp? No, it’s not — it’s about serious shit. On the other hand there are no Telly Savalas types who strangle blondes in the third act. Every Monuments man seems like a fairly cool cat, or so it seemed to me when I read the script. Besides Clooney we’re talking about about Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonville and Dimitri Leonidas.

To go by Clooney and producer-co-screenwriter Grant Heslov‘s script Monuments Men will be a clever, adult, carefully-threaded, occasionally sardonic and wise-cracking “drama” by way of a skillfully massaged 21st Century Hollywood war flick attitude. Clooney and Heslov (director-writers of Good Night and Good Luck and The Ides of March, producers of Argo and August: Osage County) make smart, classy dramas for cultured adults (i.e., guys like me), but with a little polish and pizazz. In the context of Monuments Men that probably means they’re going to be delivering “grave but not doleful,” “better in some ways than The Guns of Navarone” and “about serious matters but assembled with crisp discipline and a little movie-star panache.” Right now Monuments Men looks good enough to rank on anyone’s list of likely Best Picture candidates.

Is Monuments Men a cousin of John Frankenheimer‘s The Train, which was also about saving art from the Nazis? Well, they historically overlap, but the similarities are relatively few. Cate Blanchett‘s character of Claire Simone is based on Rose Valland, the Jeu de Paume art historian and member of the French Resistance who also appeared in The Train as Suzanne Flon‘s “Madamoiselle Villard.” Otherwise The Train is an apple and Monuments Men is an orange.

The much-beloved Frankenheimer flick, released in early ’65, was about some French resistance workers (led by Burt Lancaster) who don’t know shit about the great works of impressionism but have been ordered by their bosses to try and prevent an art-worshipping Nazi officer (Paul Scofield) from carting off dozens of impressionist classics to Germany. Which they manage to do. Monuments Men has little to do with trains and the good guys are much better educated and not French. In actuality there were something like 350 Monuments Men operating in Europe, but in Clooney and Heslov’s film the squad is closer to nine or thereabouts. More dramatically manageable.

The Monuments Men trip began disastrously in Berlin when I drove out of the Tiegel Airport rental car lot with my cell phone lying on the roof of the car. After I started picking up speed I heard a “buhlump!” sound. Whatwazzat? Like something that fell on the roof or fell off it. I didn’t stop because I was on the autobahn and going about 50 or 60 kph. I realized what had happened about ten minutes later. I pulled off in a restaurant-and-gas stop and wept real tears. My Berlin pal Marion Magura, whom I’d invited along, unfortunately had to witness my breakdown. I got down on the pavement and howled.

I had to order a new phone from the Apple guys and have it sent to my place in West Hollywood, and then I asked the woman staying at my apartment to synch it with my iMac and then FedEx it to me in Germany. Total cost was about a grand. So I was hugely pissed at myself as I drove out to Bad Grund, which is between two and a half and three hours southwest of Berlin. We got there late, and there was no wifi in the room. Thank you.

The next morning (5.6) Monuments Men unit publicist Rob Harris picked Marion and I up and drove us to the outdoor set on the other side of town. It was adjacent to a huge factory of some kind and was basically using a fake set that represented the exterior of a mine shaft which the Nazis are (I think) using to store several art treasures. Or planning to store or whatever
The first famous guy we saw was John Goodman, dressed in bleached fatigues and riding a bike. “Ohhh, it’s John Goodman!,” Marion said. I gave her a dirty look. “Don’t do this to me, Marion,” I pleaded. “Don’t do the star-struck, autograph-seeking tourist thing, please. Not on a film set.” She promised to hold back.

We arrived at the shooting location, and within minutes Clooney, whom I’ve spoken to several times at parties and film festivals and who is always cool, open and gracious, came over in his fatigues and steel-pot helmet and about six or seven days of beard growth. He’d heard about my iPhone tragedy. “Howz it goin’ with that?” he smiled. “You holdin’ up?” Yeah, I’m okay, I said. I feel like a fucking asshole but I’ll survive…thanks. Not long after Clooney told a funny story about some idiot he knew who had his iPhone stashed in his chest pocket and (stop me if I’m getting this wrong) came up on some swans in a pond and he leaned over a bit and honked at the swans and happened to look down and saw an iPhone sitting under a couple of feet of water and said to himself, “Hey, look…somebody dropped their iPhone in the pond!”

I was told by Harris not to take any shots of anything, but I asked George if I could take a few of him and he said sure. I also shot one of Clooney and Heslov, who was sitting under a small tent in front of two widescreen color monitors. Plus a couple of the mine shaft set plus one of a special cake in honor of Clooney’s 52nd birthday.

Heslov is pretty funny in a blunt sort of way. He’s an easy-enough guy to shoot the shit with, but he says what he thinks. He didn’t exactly call me a pathetic loser for leaving my iPhone on the roof of my rental car but he almost did, and I had no argument against that. I like guys who look you in the eye and just say it. He also took a gander at my Canon PowerShot Elph 330 HS and said it was a “low tech” device. “But it’s not,” I said. “The resolution is excellent for the size and the cost, particularly with night shots. And it shoots good 1080p video.” Call me whatever you want for losing my phone, Heslov, but don’t put down my equipment.

Clooney was shooting a group scene featuring himself, Damon, Goodman, Murray and two or three others. After each take he would come over to the mini-tent and watch the playback and then shoot a little shit with me before the next take was ready. We talked about The Train and the general tradition of the better World War II movies and how he’s basically looking to raise the bar. Clooney is as sharp as they come but he has what you might call a layered but accomodating temperament. He likes to aim his films at places where people live, and in this context he’s looking to make a film that does the old “play to the smarties but also to the popcorn crowd” routine.

Monumnts Men unit publicist Rob Harris (r.)
One Clooney quote sticks out: “The Guns of Navarone doesn’t play so well any more.” I agreed, I said, except that it does work up until the end of the cliff-climbing scene. And Dimitri Tiomkin‘s score works pretty well, I added. But Clooney was basically saying that if you’re going to make a good World War II film these days, you’ve got to improve upon the old models because they don’t fit the current sensibility. That’s certainly true.

I loved watching Clooney and the above-named ensemble perform that fast-talking scene in front of the mine shaft. It was just talk but everyone delivered exactly the same way with exactly the same body language in take after take. For whatever reason Clooney wasn’t happy with the playback and so he kept saying “let’s do it once more.” They did it six or seven times. It was like watching big-time actors perform a scene for a final dress rehearsal version of a play. Clooney wasn’t giving any big explanations to anyone about what was wrong or what he needed. He just waiting for it to feel right.

I also shared some brief chat time with Damon (he would soon be leaving for the Cannes Film Festival and screenings of Behind The Candelabra) and Murray. Murray’s skin was the color of Elmer’s glue-all and he had let his hair go gray (nobody pretties up for a war film). It’s been said before that Murray is a relentless hoot, and it’s true. I’ve talked to him in quiet-down modes but today he was on. Every subject that came up he batted around in some flip, snarky way. “Ask me anything…go on,” he said. “Oh, you mean give you straight lines?,” I said to myself. Sure, man. And so I asked him about Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel, in which Murray costars, and he shared three or four little stories about that. And then we switched over to another topic and yaddah-yaddah. I also love how Murray is occasionally rude or dismissive with simpleton journalists. He’s a God to me in that respect.

I said my goodbyes to Clooney and Damon, who were chatting when I walked by. I thanked Clooney again for letting me come on the set. It was totally his call. The next day a herd of 20 or 30 Hollywood Foreign Press people were due to arrive. Thank God I got my visit out of the way first. And I told Damon that I’d see him in Cannes, which I did by watching him field questions at the Candelabra press conference.

Harris and his wife and Marion and I had dinner that night in a neighboring town. He gave me a copy of his book, “Unexposed Film: A Year on Location.” Rob is a good writer and a fine fellow. I apologized to him for being pissed about my lost cell phone, but he waved it off. I was in a shitty mood as we drove out, I told him, but the vibe of the set was so cool and friendly that I forgot about my loss and learned to relax again.

Incidentally: I don’t like the sound of The Monuments Men — too many syllables. Maybe Clooney or Sony will end up dropping it. Let’s see how it plays out.

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Zen


Last edited by Katiedot on Tue Jul 02 2013, 05:12; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Corrected thread title and changed it from all capitals to normal)

Mazy
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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by it's me on Mon Jul 01 2013, 23:53

Thanks for the article!

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by theminis on Tue Jul 02 2013, 00:31

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by it's me on Tue Jul 02 2013, 00:50

Nice cake!

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by party animal - not! on Tue Jul 02 2013, 01:05

Not exactly the happiest of bunnies in his reporting, is he? Do I get the impression they're altering some of the characters' names for the film. Confused

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by The next mrs clooney on Tue Jul 02 2013, 01:09

He looks like he was starring in Dad's Army (probably only the brits will know what I mean)

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by theminis on Tue Jul 02 2013, 01:10

I know what you mean, used to watch that show all the time growing up (was one of my Dad's faves).

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by party animal - not! on Tue Jul 02 2013, 01:14

Can understand why they didn't want any on-set pix.......wonder if they'll give this guy access again to anything

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Mazy on Tue Jul 02 2013, 01:22

Must be me I love the pictures because they were different than what we had gotten. Specially the one with George and Grant. The cake made us apart of his birthday, and I guess because they are of GEORGE, what can I tell you I love him.

Zen 

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by LornaDoone on Tue Jul 02 2013, 03:38

I found it interesting that he spoke about Grant's bluntness.  I'm a Taurus too and I've been accused of that on more than one occasion but I do try to temper it with humor.

Nice find. Thanks for posting!

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by theminis on Tue Jul 02 2013, 04:48

Off topic but Im a Scorpio and I am always getting accused of being too sexually magnetic (LOL I crack myself up).

I think Grant would be interesting to sit down and chat with too.

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Katiedot on Tue Jul 02 2013, 05:13

Weird, I'm Aquarius and people keep accusing me of pouring water from earthenware pitchers into pools . . . .

Anyways, that was an interesting story. The writer seemed way too wrapped up in himself and his own self importance. Interesting to see how the film's publicity is already running full swing.

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Mazy on Tue Jul 02 2013, 06:50

Okay I'm a Gemini and we are prone to multiple personalities.
Anyway George ans Grant most likely have a good cop; bad cop thing going on. Usually when you have two working that close together it's smart. JMHO
Or should I say just our humble opinion.

Zen 

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by NotAvailable on Tue Jul 02 2013, 06:59

That was the first time I saw when the wrap date was supposed to be. Really felt nice, tho I suspect it had to do with timing things. Hehehehe

But he looked so happy as it was on his birthday. The journalist had to hold the story until after the wrap date. Bet that was really hard to clam up about the whole thing until after June the 26th, the wrap date.  Shows he has fortitude and does what he is told. Think Grants OK with the description as it only makes him look savvy about cameras.

George incidentally, made me feel real happy about that date. Thats also when my Mom Said I was really born. Gov uses the one the city Charleston in WV claims its on, 3 days earlier. But they didn't make that recording until months later from a long list of info on births that a mid wife sent them.

Just the same, I am gonna accidentally feel real special for a while. lol Love3 Not worthy  And if you think you see me and him floating around somwheres... just take it for granted i have pulled you into my hallucination. hehehehehehehe Woo hooo!

Im Cancerian, fun loving, loving, enormously sympathetic and very compassionate and also very passionate. Um...lets not talke about moody tho...can be...

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by traone on Tue Jul 02 2013, 13:46

I thought it was very interesting what they said about Grant's personality. I don't know much about Grant, others of you might, but not me. I had no idea, I just assumed that he was more like George. I seem to remember G stating in an interview somewhere that he and Grant got along so well, because Grant was so easy going. To me, someone who is very blunt, and would "critize"(sp?)a stranger about his camera, etc. is not very easy going. Just MHO. Try not to be too hard on me, I'm having a BAD day Sad  Sorry guys.....

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Mazy on Tue Jul 02 2013, 15:28

This the women that went with the reporter and also check out page at the link.
In Bad Grund Filming “Monuments Men”

Posted on July 2, 2013 by BMS
By Marion Magura

On May 5, 2013, an acquaintance took me along to a set visit of George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” in Bad Grund, the Harz Mountains in Germany. As my acquaintance is a so-called “Oscar blogger”, writing about films with high Oscar potential, he was actually invited and pampered, and, as his company, I was greatly taken care of as well.

After lunch, I stood by as the Oscar blogger was talking to the publicity person, when a guy clutching a plastic bag slowly approached us. He was dressed in an American World War II uniform, as most of the extras were. He came to stand opposite me and asked all around the group, “What are you giving to George today on his birthday?”

Only then did I realize it was Bill Murray, and we were all taken to shame, having forgotten that it was George Clooney’s birthday today. Bill Murray pulled out a wooden “Woodpecker” sort of bird he must have gotten at a yard sale. When pulling the string at the back, it would start pecking into the wood to which it was attached – Bill Murray’s gift to George on his birthday.

It was greatly appreciated, as 2 days later I saw pictures in a local paper how they partied the night away in an Asian restaurant in the tiny city of Wernigerode in Germany, where they were staying at the time.

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Zen 

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Juliette Hardy on Tue Jul 02 2013, 16:12

"Clooney plays Frank Stokes"
Question 

Suspect   

I'm eagerly anticipating this.  Combines so many factors that appeal to a wide cross-sector, including great cast too.

Last WWII film to hit the big screen was Inglorious Basterds, which was typical Tarantino pop culture fiction.  Fun but not a film you take too seriously.

Clooney looks good wearing helmets, whether biker or army... Wink 

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Nicky80 on Tue Jul 02 2013, 21:08

Mazy wrote:This the women that went with the reporter and also check out page at the link.
In Bad Grund Filming “Monuments Men”

Posted on July 2, 2013 by BMS
By Marion Magura

On May 5, 2013, an acquaintance took me along to a set visit of George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” in Bad Grund, the Harz Mountains in Germany. As my acquaintance is a so-called “Oscar blogger”, writing about films with high Oscar potential, he was actually invited and pampered, and, as his company, I was greatly taken care of as well.

After lunch, I stood by as the Oscar blogger was talking to the publicity person, when a guy clutching a plastic bag slowly approached us. He was dressed in an American World War II uniform, as most of the extras were. He came to stand opposite me and asked all around the group, “What are you giving to George today on his birthday?”

Only then did I realize it was Bill Murray, and we were all taken to shame, having forgotten that it was George Clooney’s birthday today. Bill Murray pulled out a wooden “Woodpecker” sort of bird he must have gotten at a yard sale. When pulling the string at the back, it would start pecking into the wood to which it was attached – Bill Murray’s gift to George on his birthday.
It was greatly appreciated, as 2 days later I saw pictures in a local paper how they partied the night away in an Asian restaurant in the tiny city of Wernigerode in Germany, where they were staying at the time.

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Zen 


Thanks for the articals. Great find.


I wonder what GC does with the "woodpecker"? I'm sure he gets weird presents sometimes Shocked 

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by it's me on Tue Jul 02 2013, 21:14

And sure he does
Too

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Juliette Hardy on Tue Jul 02 2013, 21:30

But I actually liked Inglorious Basterds except for the scalping parts.

About time for another epic WWII film.

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Joanna on Tue Jul 02 2013, 22:11

The scalping parts were amongst the best bits ! Lol

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by ktsue2002 on Wed Jul 03 2013, 15:30

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I am so jealous of this gentleman! Not only did he get to spend time on an actual film set with my beloved birthday twin Mr. Clooney, but he got to also do it on mine and George's birthday. I didn't even get a cake this birthday and he got a huge one with lots of decorations.

Mr. Clooney, next time, invite me to celebrate OUR birthday together. Come on, I am a kidney patient and I see all your films; also, I own a MWSAG Bobblehead for crying out loud. LOL! Anyway, if that is not possible, pray for my new kidney. She struggles a lot lately, and my plans are ruined if I have to start dialysis again. Also, for my fellow Clooney fans, please keep praying for my kidney. She is still working, but she needs some medical tune ups and a few prayers. I want her to survive to see all these Clooney flicks ahead of us deserving fans.

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by Nicky80 on Wed Jul 03 2013, 15:54

Belated Happy Birthday Very Happy You deserve half of the cake I guess but you know George and his dog Einstein ate probaly everything by themselves. Boys....all the same LOL 

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Re: Hollywood Elsewhere journalist visits set of The Monuments Men

Post by it's me on Wed Jul 03 2013, 16:25

Don't worry Ktsue
we are all with you Very Happy

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