Ocean’s Eight stole our hearts with its jazzy first teaser, and a just-released new trailer for the all-female reboot of Steven Soderbergh‘s popular heist franchise, aptly set to the tune of Linda Ronstadt‘s You’re No Good, confirms its status as one of 2018’s must-see mega-hits in the making. But don’t take our word for it.
Just ask Soderbergh himself, who told Yahoo Entertainment that the film — which opens theatrically on June 8 — lives up to the hype and then some. “I’m really, really happy with the movie,” raves the filmmaker, who handed off directorial duties on Ocean’s 8 to his friend and collaborator Gary Ross, but stayed onboard as a producer. “I think it’s really smart and really funny, and when you see all of these women together, it’s incredibly satisfying.”
Casting was central to the appeal of the original Ocean’s movies as well, with Soderbergh bringing together such big-name actors as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Bernie Mac in the same frame. (The franchise was itself a reimagining of the 1960s Rat Pack assemblage titled Ocean’s 11, led by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.) Ocean’s 8 repeats that magic by uniting a crew of A-list actresses, whose characters received individual social media introductions this week in advance of the trailer premiere.
Overseeing the squad is Debbie (Sandra Bullock), ex-con and sister of master criminal Danny Ocean (George Clooney). To get her hands on a stupidly expensive necklace modeled by world-famous celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), she recruits the talents of her right-hand woman Lou (Cate Blanchett), recently retired criminal Tammy (Sarah Paulson), financially strapped seamstress Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), jewelry-maker Amita (Mindy Kaling), pickpocket Constance (Akwafina) and surveillance expert Nine Ball (Rihanna). Their target: the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Met Gala.
Because this is another example of a female cast inheriting what had previously been a male-dominated franchise, comparisons will obviously be drawn to Paul Feig’s updated version of Ghostbusters, a movie that was mercilessly (and unfairly) attacked by online trolls in the months leading up to its 2016 release. Flash forward two years later, though, and the timing seems ideal for a movie like Ocean’s 8. After all, recent success stories like Wonder Woman to Lady Bird — to say nothing of larger social conversations happening around the #TimesUp movement — have revealed a deep desire on the part of audiences and critics to see women front and center onscreen. “I
was talking with Gary and said, ‘Wow, we may have gotten really lucky here in terms of the zeitgeist,’” Soderbergh says. “The pleasure of seeing this particular cast share a frame is going to be amplified by what’s going on culturally right now.”
As to what’s going on inside that frame, Soderbergh promises that Debbie Ocean will continue to operate the family business with the same style and verve as her brother, Danny.
“It’s a universe that’s defined more by what doesn’t fit than what does,” he explains. “So an idea would pop between Gary, [screenwriter] Olivia Milch and myself, and there would be a conversation. ‘Is that an Oceans-y enough idea? Is it slightly outside the sandbox?’ In general, Olivia did a great job of recreating the spirit of the franchise — it feels like an Ocean’s movie.”
At the same time, the New York setting gives Ocean’s 8 a unique spirit from the Las Vegas antics of Ocean’s Eleven and Thirteen as well as the European locations seen in Twelve. Soderbergh describes how the production team carefully scouted Manhattan locations, trying to shoot in real places as much as possible. That included the Met itself — after some careful negotiation with the museum, they were granted access to the entire building for nine nights after the public left.
“The way we pitched it to them was, ‘Do you know how many people go to the Bellagio in Vegas to see where all those guys stood?’” Soderbergh says, referring to the climactic scene in the original Ocean’s Eleven. “You see this movie, and you’re gonna want to go to the Met to see where all these scenes take place.”
Ocean’s 8 hits theaters on June 8.