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The Real Reason George Clooney's Monuments Men Got Delayed

UPDATE: Clooney himself called Deadline to give a very detailed explanation of what happened, and says it had nothing to do with tone, but about avoiding the hugely crowded December release window. Click over there to read his full statement, and read our original story below.

After watching and highly enjoying both trailers for George Clooney’s next directorial effort, The Monuments Men, I am still hard-pressed to describe exactly what kind of a film it is. Apparently Clooney and the film’s producers are also struggling with the film’s tone, and that may have played a large part in the film’s release date recently getting delayed until 2014. But wait, wasn’t it all about the visual effects?

At least, that’s the excuse Clooney gave the Los Angeles Times for the film’s delay, but sources for TheWrap claim it’s other behind-the-scenes decisions that are keeping the film from becoming finalized, with an unnamed insider saying, “The movie isn’t ready. It’s not where it needs to be.” This explanation fits in with a recent interview Clooney gave to TheWrap, in which he discusses the struggles he’s had trying to nail down a tone in the editing of the film.

“It’s been a bit of a dance,” the Oscar-winning filmmaker said. “We’re trying to do the movie in the vein of war films, but you don’t want it to sound like The Great Escape. Those movies that were done in the ‘50s and ‘60s, they all had their own sort of life. You don’t want to do a replica; you have to do a new version.” It’s always nice to hear directors talking about not wanting to create the same kind of projects that came before, and one would expect nothing less from Clooney. But they’ve been fiddling with it for a while, it seems. How close are they to being done?

“We’re testing it – we put some laughs in there; that’s important to me, but it’s a serious subject matter,” he says. “How much is too much? The tone is lighter, then they get in trouble. Gone With the Wind works in that way.” While there’s no crime in comparing his film to a classic that was created before the events of Monuments Men took place, it still feels like a reach. After all, we’d remember GWTW being a lot funnier if John Goodman and Bill Murray were in it.

Also starring Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Jean Dujardin, the genre-crossing Monuments Men tells the true story of a World War II platoon comprised of art-minded individuals who are tasked with sneaking into enemy territories and recovering mass amounts of art stolen by the Nazis. It’s easy to see how the film could possibly start out as a light caper that gets murkier as more and more Nazi influence comes into it.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time, though Clooney is one of the few in Hollywood that does it on a regular basis. We’ll see how it comes out when the film gets released at some point early next year. And if I see one faulty visual effects shot, I’m writing him an email.

Compare and contrast the light first trailer as compared to the more dramatic second trailer below.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.