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The Monuments Men - John Goodman, Bob Balaban and Jean Dujardin interview

The Monuments Men

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JOHN Goodman, Bob Balaban and Jean Dujardin talk about the making of The Monuments Men at a UK press conference held at London’s National Gallery.

Q. Is there a particular piece of art that you admire?
John Goodman: Starry Night, Van Gogh.

Bob Balaban: I’m going for a more contemporary art form. There is an artist named Philip Guston, and he has a giant foot that I admire.

Jean Dujardin: I like Kandinsky for his balance, and [sings] Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa.

Q. The film captures a great camaraderie, and a sense of humour and team spirit. Was it important that it existed off set as well as on?
John Goodman: It’s the best time I’ve ever had on a film… with my pants on. The spirit of everyone was interesting and everyone was very respectful to each other. We appreciated each other and I was very grateful to be cast in this film. George [Clooney] did such careful preparation and it made each day easier and more fun.

Q. Bob, having been directed by the likes of Steven Spielberg, could you say a few words about Mr Clooney’s skill behind the camera?
Bob Balaban: He’s one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with – that’s the serious part. The other part is that he makes it such great fun. Good work happens when somebody knows what they’re doing, plans what they’re doing and he makes it look easy because he kind of knows the secret – he’s been an actor for a few months… He knows that you have to be relaxed and happy in the work environment – and it works. It’s great.

Q. And Jean, what was it like to work with John Goodman again after being on The Artist together?
Jean Dujardin: It was a pleasure – it is a pleasure. For me, it was very different. It was a pleasure to be there with everybody, of course, and to have my scenes with John. What I like about being with John is that we don’t bother each other. He has his silences. I love his silences and I have a lot of them too. I have this feeling that we start to act before we actually start filming. He’s always very respectful and even though we don’t know each other well I feel there’s a lot of tenderness. I love you John.

Q. Did have to undergo basic training or was it more you all having a bit of a laugh together?
John Goodman: Definitely… with a knife and fork. Can I just say that we couldn’t have done this film as easily as we did without the expert knowledge of Joe Hobbs. I worked with him several times before. He was an expert in military uniforms, he knew what belonged where and he had a very exacting eye and we lost him around Christmas time, so I’d just like to pay tribute to Joe Hobbs.

Read our review of The Monuments Men

Read our interview with George Clooney

Read our interview with author Robert M Edsel