Sandra Bullock Interview: “I didn’t care about the heist as much as I cared about how they treated each other…” – ‘Ocean’s 8’

It’s been 17 years since George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and the rest of the Who’s Who of Hollywood reigning hunks headlined the remake of 1960’s testosterone-charged heist movie “Ocean’s Eleven,” that starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and the rest of the Rat Pack. The 2001 star-filled remake spawned a pair of sequels, and now, in an era of equal rights in Tinseltown, the ladies are finally getting their day in the sun. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Anne Hathaway, who all possess Oscar statuettes, headline the female-driven “Ocean’s 8.” Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the estranged sister of Danny Ocean (Clooney’s character, who led the male-dominant crew on the previous three elaborate operations). Instead of casinos, the sticky-fingered gals target priceless jewels and designer gowns at the annual star-studded Met Gala in New York. Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, R&B vocalist Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and rapper-comedian Awkwafina round out the crew of criminals.

Bullock, who has been one of the most outspoken celebrities in the #MeToo movement, spoke at a New York press conference about how she was onboard with the girl-powered project from the get-go, speaking at length with Jerry Weintraub, who had produced the previous films, including the 1960 original.  (Weintraub died before filming commenced on “Ocean’s 8.”) Steven Soderbergh, who directed the Clooney & Co. trilogy produces the latest installment alongside Susan Ekins. The heist-comedy is directed by Gary Ross (“The Hunger Games,” “Seabiscuit”) from a screenplay he wrote with Olivia Milch.

Q: Do you recall first hearing about this idea of a female version of “Ocean’s …” and what did you initially think of it?

Bullock: Yes, I remember (producer) Jerry Weintraub, whom I’d known for years—I don’t know if you guys have ever had the pleasure of meeting Jerry; he’s no longer with us—but he called and said, “I got this idea I’ve got to present to you.” I was like, “OK.” Then, as it would be that Gary (Ross, the director) and Steven (Soderbergh, producer) and Jerry were in the room. I honestly didn’t think it would work or get made. I thought it was a fun idea. I said, “But if you do it, let’s just get the young character back.” But I didn’t think at that time that it would get made. It was like a year and a half-ish later that the script appeared.

Q: How many hours of phone conversations did you insist on having with George Clooney to really delve into the brother/sister relationship between Danny and Debbie to get the backstory just right?

Bullock: Many, many, many. We grew up together. Yes, yes. (Debbie) was there.

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