In fall 2014, Jerry Weintraub, Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney came up with an idea to make a new Ocean’s 11 but with an all-female ensemble. This was around the same time that Ghostbusters announced their all-female reboot. The project was assumed to have died with Weintraub this past summer but today, Playlist announced that it has a lead: Sandra Bullock, and the completion of the first rough draft.
Bullock has worked with Clooney before in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity but she also filled Clooney’s shoes with Our Brand is Crisis. The film was originally written for Clooney but Bullock demanded a chance at the part and the gender was switched. Being executive producer for Our Brand is Crisis and involved so early in the production process for this film, it’s expected that she’ll be a producer on this film as well and have a deciding vote in future casting.
The scriptwriter is Olivia Milch who’s a recent Yale graduate. While being attached to several vehicles before, she was either removed from the project or the project died. It sounds like they plan to bring in another scriptwriter to polish up the final rewrites. However, the director is Gary Ross. He’s not the independent savant that Steven Soderbergh was but he knows how to make successful films including The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit and Pleasantville. He’s also the logical choice for the rewrites since he’s written on the screenplay for every film he’s directed since 1998. His screenplay debut was none other than Big.
Most would assume that Bullock will be joined by Melissa McCarthy but this isn’t a Paul Feig film and she’s already in Ghostbusters. Instead, it’s more likely that her best friend in the film will be Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks or Julia Roberts reprising her role from the previous three films. Clooney is rumored to appear as Danny Ocean. Since the first Ocean’s 11 remake loosely followed the original with Frank Sinatra, it seems unlikely they’ll keep exactly the same characters. However, they will need at least 11 women to keep the title without it becoming nothing more than a brand. Some of the women would be around Bullock’s age or older like Tilda Swinton, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Yeoh, Naomie Harris, Helen Mirren, Margaret Cho, Halle Berry, or Jennifer Lopez. Other women would be in that 18-35 range like Abigail Breslin, Laverne Cox, Gina Rodriguez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Priyanka Chopra, Christina Ricci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rinko Kikuchi, or Alison Pill.
For Ghostbusters, they went cheap with the cast budget. Half the main cast are virtual unknowns from Saturday Night Live and even Chris Hemsworth hasn’t proved a box office draw apart from Thor. Lower paid actors allow for more of the budget to be placed away for computer effects, costumes and props. The Ocean’s 11 films are more known for their practical effects so it makes more sense to spend more on the cast budget. However, Soderbergh, remaining as a producer, and Clooney both know how to sweet talk actors into taking a lesser paycheck. They also might feel pressure to assemble an ensemble that resembles a female version of Expendables: the more well known the names, the better.
Filming is expected this spring for a Winter 2016 release.