George Clooney circling WWII art thriller “The Monuments Men”

By Sean O’Connell George Clooney is preparing to go to war.

No, we’re not talking about the ongoing Oscar battle, though Clooney does find himself competing on behalf of both “The Descendants” and his own “The Ides of March.” Instead, the charismatic award winner appears ready to sign on for his next directorial effort, a thriller set during World War II.

THR says Clooney has optioned the rights to Robert M. Edsel’s nonfiction book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” which he’ll adapt with his producing and writing partner Grant Heslov for Sony Pictures. The trade says Clooney likely will eye the project as a starring vehicle.

The plot follows the search for priceless works of art that were stolen by Hitler during the war. As opposed to Clooney’s previous directorial effort, this is shaping up to be a big, commercial-type story (his other pictures were more niche, though “Ides” should have found a larger audience).

Clooney, meanwhile, continues to promote his two films on the Oscar circuit. And he’ll next appear in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” alongside Sandra Bullock. The talented filmmaker and actor continues to roll. Good things for a good person.

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