The Wrap followed up with quotes from George Clooney, taken from an interview done more than a month ago. The director/actor claimed the film was having issues with tone, and that was the primary reason for the delay.
"It's been a bit of a dance. 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. We're testing it - we put some laughs in there, that's important to me, but it's a serious subject matter. How much is too much? The tone is lighter, then they get in trouble. Gone With the Wind works in that way. If we get the tone right it will be a really fun film. We don't have to do jokes. When you have Bill Murray and Bob Balaban in the frame together - it's just fun."
However, George Clooney now reveals that his quotes were taken out of context, and were presented in a misleading way. He goes on to break down what actually happened with the release date push, citing unfinished VFX work and an overcrowded December slate for the delay.
"I was talking awhile ago about Gravity, she says how's it going on Monuments Men and I say, it's a tricky tone, and she writes this piece that the movie is in trouble over tone. She doesn't call me, and it's absolutely ridiculous and false. The straight-up facts are these. We had a really good test last week, scoring in the mid 80s, in Arizona. And when we were on the plane coming back with (Sony executives) Jeff Blake, Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, they said look, let's be honest. There are lots better times to bring this movie out than December 18. How about November 22? Can you do it? Now, today is our first day at the scoring stages at Abbey Road. Then they call and ask, how about the 15th of November? We like to pull stuff off, and we said, let's see what we can do. That was two days ago."
After meeting with the VFX artists, the director was told work could not be completed in time, which then lead to a February slot. He compares the scenario to Shutter Island, which was originally slated to come out in late 2009 before it was pushed into February 2010 to complete VFX.
"We had a meeting with all the effects guys for our CGI stuff, and, we're just not going to get there in time. Then we looked at the date we had, December 18. I don't know how many movies are opening, but it's got to be the toughest December in recent memory for box office. We said, where's another good place to land? And we looked at February and the Shutter Island slot."
The multi-hyphenate also reveals that they had originally chosen the December date because of his success with Ocean's Eleven.
"When we started this movie, we said all along this was something we wanted to do in the tradition of The Guns of Navarone and The Great Escape. That's what we wanted all along and we took the date because we'd had so much luck on it with Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve. We wanted it to play through the holidays. Last night we had a nice meeting and said, let's be honest. We're not going to get our effects done in time. As hard as we're working, the truth of the matter is, we only started principal photography on this in March. So the idea we'd have all the effects ready was a stretch anyway. And we didn't make it. It's that simple. It's certainly not about tone of the film, because it's testing through the roof. We said, let's just find a spot where the movie can find an actual audience instead of fighting with 22 other films in December."
The actor/director went on to say that they never planned on chasing Oscars in the first place.
"We've been very clear that we're trying to make our first un-cynical film, a commercial movie. You can tell by the cast we put together that it's going to have light tones to it. We never thought that chasing Oscars was our play, we said it from the first interview. This is a movie we want audiences to see without alienating people like a lot of our films have. What I loved was that Sony and Fox listened and said, OK, let's get out of here. We'd rather the movie be successful and have you put it out when you're comfortable with how it looks. This is a period film and it can't look like CG. It has to look like it's real. We're close, but we're not there yet."
George Clooney stars along an all-star cast of comedic and dramatic actors alike, including Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. The movie centers on the true story of a group of historians who were sent in to retrieve priceless works of art from the Nazi's before Adolf Hitler could destroy them forever.