Clooney: I disturbed Damon

The Monuments Men press conference

George Clooney still can’t believe how “disturbed” Matt Damon was by a prank he played on him.

The US star is renowned of his practical jokes and was keen to put one into practice while working with Matt on The Monuments Men, which George directed, stars in and wrote.

The film is about an unlikely group of soldiers who were tasked with recovering great art works stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Matt wanted to give his role as James Granger his all, but ended up wishing he hadn’t confided in George.

“I actually was busy, so I didn’t really go all out [with pranks]. There was one situation when Matt turned up early when we were about to start shooting and said he wanted to lose a couple of pounds,” George told Cover Media.

Matt interjected: “That was so stupid of me.”

“You shouldn’t have told me that,” George, 52, agreed. “So over a period of about a month he would come and go, he’d come to the set and work for a couple of weeks then go to LA for a couple of weeks and every time he would go away I would have the wardrobe girl just take in his uniform a half an inch. And he was eating like a grape and his pants were getting tighter. I never actually discussed it with him; I just found out a few days ago that it really disturbed you.”

Matt admitted: “Yeah I hadn’t said anything because I thought I was being professional and trying to lose weight and it wasn’t working.”

While Matt may have thought he had it bad, George’s worst was saved up for his father Nick Clooney. Nick has a small role in the movie, portraying an older version of George’s character Frank Stokes. He was thrilled to be involved, but that turned to disbelief when he saw the finished result.

“My favorite prank he did was – his father’s in the movie, at the very end there’s this beautiful shot when he plays George as an old man and he walks off into the light and George ran the film for him just privately and at the end of the film, after the final shot of Nick walking away had faded into black, a [banner] came up and said ‘In Loving Memory Of Nick Clooney.’ He was like, ‘What the hell?’ And George said, ‘Well the movie doesn’t come out for like six months,’” Matt giggled.

George guffawed: “It’s much cheaper to take it off than it is to put it on.”

The Monuments Men hits UK cinemas on February 14.

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