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Feature: Oceans Twelve

The clue's in the question

George Clooney is back as Danny Ocean, and as he explains to Steve Dexter, the gang may have returned, but the rules have changed in Ocean’s Twelve

There are risks aplenty in making a sequel. Just ask George Clooney, who was pretty much the ringleader in Ocean’s Eleven and is again in Ocean’s Twelve, reuniting Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Elliot Gould and Carl Reiner, as well as director Steven Soderbergh, for a brand-new caper. “There’s all these egos involved,” he notes. “That’s a problem, you could imagine. You know the truth was we didn’t start the first one with the idea of doing a second, so the second one came about organically. We were in Rome, sitting in a restaurant, and Steven, who had never been to Italy before, looked up and said, ‘I’ve got an idea for a sequel.’

The first film hadn’t opened, or maybe it had just opened, I think. We were doing the press thing for it. So, you know, the truth of the matter is we wouldn’t have shown up if Steven hadn’t had an idea, a different way of telling the story. The problem with sequels, as we all agree, is that it’s usually just a sort of rehash of the film before it, and trying to take the things that worked [and doing them again]. 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, ‘Well, that’s a really interesting idea and a reason to do a sequel.’ There are a lot of pitfalls in it, you know. One is that we had to work with [producer] Jerry [Weintraub] again and… No, the only danger in it is to repeat yourself.”

Actually, the bigger danger is payback. And Clooney can speak of that, too. The actor is known for the practical jokes he pulls on his pals. They can be as mundane as dropping water balloons on them as they walk beneath him at his home in Italy, but they got rather intricate during the Ocean’s Twelve shoot. “We did a few pranks,” Clooney confirms. “There were some antics. The fun part, I think, for us was always in Rome at the top of the Derussi Hotel. Outside, Jerry built basically a restaurant bar on top of this hotel so that we didn’t have to go anywhere. So, every night after work there’d be, I don’t know, 40 or 50 of us just sitting up there. What other antics were there? You see, 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 to all the Italian crew that, ‘Mr Clooney would appreciate it if you would only engage him as Danny Ocean or Mr Ocean. And don’t look at him in the eyes.’ It was handed out, so it really sounded like I was trying to stay in character. So for about a month that went around. Everywhere I went, it was like, ‘OK, Mr Ocean,’ until I finally said, ‘What the hell is everyone so… you know.’

by Steve Dexter

Get the full interviews, plus interviews with Oceans Twelve stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia and director Steven Soderbergh in
Film Review (Feb)

Image © Visual Imagination Ltd, Oceans Twelve © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Film Review (Feb), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Feb)
#653, February 2005
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