Matt Damon and a group of art historians and curators come to the defense of priceless art in "The Monuments Men."
The film, which was directed, produced and also stars Damon's pal George Clooney, focuses around a group of people during World War II who attempt to seize back famous artwork that was stolen by the Nazis during the war.
"The Monuments Men" also stars the likes of Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, and Cate Blanchett. The movie hits theaters on Feb. 7.
Damon recently sat down with OTRC.com, where he talked about who exactly "The Monuments Men" are, what the film's underlying message is and what it was like working with the film's ensemble cast (especially notorious jokester Clooney).
WATCH full videos of Damon's interview with OTRC.com above and check out three highlights from the interview below.
1. Damon on who "The Monument Men" are ...
"They were a group of curators and art historians and professors who were well past their prime, in soldiering terms, but who joined up and went to basic training and went to the front at the end of World War II to protect the monuments and the artifacts that were getting shelved kind of towards the end of the war when the outcome had been decided."
"And, also recover all of the art that the Nazis had stolen. The Nazis had systematically, kind of comprehensively, raked Europe and just pillaged. They had train load after train load or priceless art."
2. On the film's important underlying message ...
"What is the value of art really? Not just, you know, any art, but these kind of, these masterworks. They represent the very best of what humanity can achieve and Hitler knew that, which is why he signed this Nero Decree, which basically said, 'Should I die, burn it all. I want you to destroy all of it.'"
"Because he knew that if you could destroy art, which is the absolute center, the culture, you could basically expunge us from existence. That's why he was destroying modern art and Jewish art, he was trying to erase people from the face of the earth."
3. On working with the ensemble cast and Clooney ...
"It's a blast and also, for that very reason, you're not carrying a film. You're not responsible for it. I remember that from 'Ocean's' just the fun of being relieved from that pressure and sharing that whole kind of experience with these other people and actors that you admire. It just makes the job even more fun."
"I'm surprised he [Clooney] had the time because he really was busting his a-- on this movie. It was the biggest movie he'd ever done by far and the most complex and tonally, the most difficult I think. He would basically have dinner with all of us on Saturday night, you know, two, three hour dinner and that was all we saw of him off-set, you know, 'Goodnight boys, gotta go to sleep,' and he'd get up and edit in the morning and on his day off. So he, definitely, this was not 'Ocean's Eleven' for him."
Reporting by Karl Schmid, correspondent for the nationally syndicated entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings). The series is produced by KABC Television near Los Angeles.