Feature by: Jack Foley
HAVING gambled and won by remaking Ocean's 11 and actually bettering
the movie, it seemed only natural that a sequel might follow.
"The only danger is repeating yourself," explained
George Clooney, while promoting Ocean's 12.
"But in truth, we didn't start the first one with the idea
of doing a second. The second one came about organically.
"We were literally in a restaurant in Rome and Steven Soderbergh
[the director], who had never been to Italy before, looked up
and said, 'I have an idea for a sequel'.
"The truth of the matter is we wouldn't have shown up if
Steven hadn't had a different way of telling the story.
"The problem with sequels, as we all agree, is that it's
usually just sort of a rehash of the film before it. You try to
detect the things that work and Steven had a way of saying, 'well,
let's mix up what just happened in the first one and really throw
these guys off'.
"We thought that was an interesting idea and a reason to
do a sequel."
The sequel in question is set three years after the events of
Ocean's 11, as Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his crew are tracked
down by Terry Benedict's vengeful casino boss (Andy Garcia) and
given two weeks to pay him back with interest.
Jetting off to Europe, therefore, it is up to the super-thieves
to pull off enough jobs to pay their debt, while also finding
out who tipped Benedict off and trying to outwit the unwanted
attentions of a rival master-thief, in the form of Vincent Cassel's
rich-brat, The Night Fox.
Oh, and there's also the smaller matter of Catherine Zeta-Jones'
dogged Interpol agent, who just happens to be a former love-interest
of crew member, Rusty (Brad Pitt).
Unlike the first film, however, the odds are stacked far higher
against success, particularly as the people pitted against Ocean
and co generally seem to be one step ahead.
Explains Clooney: "In the first one, we really planned it
out. We decided to do it, we weren't forced into the situation
where we had to do it.
"Now, all of a sudden, we're on the defensive, and it's
a completely different set of rules. And that was to me, the most
fun for us, we all felt that we may not pull this off."
Adds co-star, Matt Damon: "I think it's a lot more fun playing
people who are totally fallible and screwing up. It was a lot
more fun this time around."
For Clooney, however, another important
factor in getting the formula right in the sequel was building
on the obvious camaraderie that existed in the original remake.
The intricacies of the heist, itself, were of a secondary concern.
"I think that the mistake that filmmakers make is when they
decide that the caper's the most important thing in the film,"
"Until Get Shorty, they failed at making Elmore Leonard
films because instead of focusing on the characters, they were
focusing on the capers. And the capers in Elmore Leonard books
aren't particularly good, but the characters are amazing.
"Then all of a sudden you see it done well, like in Get
Shorty or Out Of Sight, and you focus on the characters.
"I mean, in the first film, the caper wasn't the most important
part. It was the camaraderie. You want to have a good story and
you want to have a good fun caper."
Achieving the camaraderie wasn't difficult, however, given the
clear chemistry that exists between the cast members both on and
The relationship between Clooney and Pitt, in particular, has
been likened to a modern-day Newman and Redford, while attending
any press junket with cast members can be akin to watching a stand-up
routine of hilarity and prank-playing.
Little wonder, then, to find that the European locations provided
plenty of opportunities for more of the same.
Recalls Clooney: "Brad had done some dastardly things to
me. When we were in Rome, when we first got to Italy, Brad had
a memo put out in Italian that said that to all the Italian crew
that Mr Clooney would appreciate if you would only engage him
as Danny Ocean or Mr Ocean and don't look at him in the eyes and...
"It really sounded like I was trying to stay in character.
For about a month, that went around.
"Everywhere I went, they were like, 'Okay, Mr Ocean'. (laughter)
I found out and it got in the paper that I was like this diva..."
Rumour has it, however, that in order to get his own back, Clooney
devised a bumper sticker for Pitt's car that read 'small penis
on board', which remained in position for three weeks.
Given the obvious bond that exists between them, therefore, is
talk of Ocean's 13 not too far off the mark.
"We came up with our own theory which was the musical,"
laughs Clooney. "But honestly, we're not even thinking about
it. I mean, we really aren't.
"The only reason we did the last one was because Steven
said, 'Here's a great idea' and Jerry said, 'Let's put it together'."
Adds Damon, more hopefully: "But If Steven
and Jerry wanted to do it, everyone in the cast would be open
to it. These are really fun things to work on."