George Clooney, Matt Damon Team Up In ‘Monuments Men’ Trailer

Watch the first clip from Clooney's World War II drama.

Could “The Monuments Men” be this year’s “Argo”? Well, let’s see: It’s based on historical events; is directed by a well-regarded actor and features John Goodman. So, maybe?

We’ll let you draw your own conclusions as the first trailer for George Clooney‘s directorial follow-up to “The Ides of March” is here, with Clooney once again pulling double duty in front of and behind the lens.

The film stars Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and Bob Balaban, and centers around the titular “Monuments Men,” a real-life group of art historians and museum curators tasked with rescuing treasured artifacts from destruction during World War II. Though the coalition included about 345 men (and women!) from 13 different countries, Clooney’s take appears to focus on the American effort.

The screenplay, co-written by Clooney, is based on the book, “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” by Robert M. Edsel.

In the clip, Clooney’s George Stout (a conservationist at Harvard University) lays out the rescue plan thusly to Matt Damon’s James Rorimer (a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art): “I’m to put a team together and do our best to protect buildings, bridges and art before the Nazis destroy everything.”

“How many men?” Rorimer asks.

“Six,” Stout replies.

“Jesus,” Rorimer responds.

“Well, with you, it’s seven,” Stouts says optimistically.

“Well, that’s much better,” Rorimer deadpans.

And that exchange pretty perfectly captures “The Monuments Men’s” tone — earnest, with tongue lightly in cheek. Sounds a lot like another historical drama we’ve seen…

“The Monuments Men” opens December 18, 2013.