George Clooney has been joined by a star-studded cast for the London premiere of his new film The Monuments Men.
The Hollywood actor wrote, directed and stars in the World War Two comedy which is inspired by the true story of a team of soldiers on a mission to rescue valuable artwork stolen by the Nazis.
The little-known group of heroes managed to recover about five million works snatched across the whole of Europe.
Clooney, 52, told Sky News directing his all-star cast was “like herding cats really”.
He said: “They’re all great, they’re fun. Nice people, so it was great.
“You have to, (on his move to directing film) as you get older, you have to have a fall back position when they get sick of seeing you in front of the camera.”
Co-star Matt Damon said: “He’s one of the few people, historically, who can do those four jobs at that high a level.
“There just aren’t many people who can do it.”
Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin and Hugh Bonneville were also expected on the red carpet in Leicester Square.
The art heist caper also stars Cate Blanchett, who is not in town for the event.
The film has been panned by critics in the US with Variety calling the picture an “exceedingly dull and dreary caper pic” while the New York Times said Clooney’s direction was “stolid” and “pandering”.
In its opening weekend in the US it was heavily beaten at the box office by The Lego Movie.
Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival at the weekend Clooney said the film
had been in the works for three years so the “amazing find” in Munich that emerged in November of a hoard of hundreds of missing artworks believed looted by the Nazis had been pure coincidence.
Over 1,400 artworks were discovered in the Austrian home of Cornelius Gurlitt.
His spokesman said on Tuesday that a further 60 had been found, including works by Picasso, Monet and Renoir.
At a news conference at the National Gallery in London Clooney entered into a different argument about the ownership of art.
He touched a nerve by suggesting that the 2,500-year-old Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece.
The actor-director called for “an open discussion” on the fate of the ancient friezes, taken by British diplomat Lord Elgin 200 years ago.
He said both the Vatican and the J Paul Getty Museum had sent parts of the marbles back, and trying to reunite the whole work might be “the right thing to do”.
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