Studios are always looking for ways to revitalize lucrative properties, and tentpole franchises aren’t the only projects subject to this treatment. Following a trilogy of successful heist films, Warner Bros. has an Oceans’ Eleven spinoff called Ocean’s Eight coming through the pipeline. In typical fashion, a star-studded ensemble has been assembled for director Gary Ross’ latest, including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, and Rhiana. The original films were packed to the brim with A-listers, so it isn’t surprising that this new movie attracted some of the biggest names in show business.
Ocean’s Eight takes place in the same universe as its predecessors, with Bullock possibly playing a relative of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean. Outside of that bit of speculation, any connections have been kept under wraps. With the spinoff now in production, some fans will be wondering if they’ll get to see any familiar faces. As it turns out, at least one of Danny’s crew will be making an appearance.
Speaking with ET while at the Manchester by the Sea premiere, Matt Damon revealed that he will portray his Ocean’s Eleven character Linus Caldwell in the spinoff:
“I’m doing a little bit in the movie. I haven’t read it yet, but the cast is phenomenal and I’m excited to see what those women do with it. It’s going to be fun.”
From the sound of it, Damon will just be filming a cameo and is not one of the principal players in Ocean’s Eight. That seems most likely, given that the movie has been shooting for nearly a month and this is the first time Damon’s involvement has been made public. It will be interesting to see how he factors into the narrative. A plausible scenario is Linus being a contact Bullock’s character reaches out to for help on her heist. If she is really portraying Danny’s sister, then chances are she’s met Linus once or twice. Regardless of how Damon fits in, he’s always a great addition to a cast and should have fun in the role once more.
Damon’s inclusion opens the door for other members of the original trilogy to come in as well. This is a tricky tightrope Ross will have to walk. On one hand, bringing back Linus Caldwell, Danny Ocean, and/or Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) would be a great way to drum up interest, especially in marketing. The first three Ocean’s films all made over $100 million domestically, so it’s clear those are fan-favorite characters. However, the filmmakers would probably prefer Ocean’s Eight stand on its own without having to rely too much on what’s come before. Nostalgia can be a powerful tool, but that could run the risk of overshadowing the leading ladies looking to launch their own series.
Still, it is possible to blend old and new cast members to great effect, and there’s reason to be confident in the Ocean’s Eight creative team. Ross is a skilled writer and director, having earned four Oscar nominations in his career, and the actresses in front of the camera are supremely talented. Whether there’s still interest in the brand 11 years after Ocean’s Thirteen came out remains to be seen, but Ocean’s Eight is certainly one of the more intriguing projects on the horizon.
Ocean’s Eight will open in theaters June 8, 2018.