Ocean’s Eight is only the latest spinoff of a previously successful franchise Hollywood has in production, with Warner Bros. hoping this film revitalizes the popular Ocean’s Eleven series. Those films saw George Clooney’s Danny Ocean organize large-scale heists alongside Brad Pitt’s Rusty Ryan, Matt Damon’s Linus Caldwell, and slew of showbiz A-listers. Ocean’s Eight will take that same premise but swap Sandra Bullock in for Clooney and surround her with a star-studded cast of women; including Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Helena-Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and Sarah Paulson.
Directed by Gary Ross from a script he wrote with Olivia Milch, Ocean’s Eight sees Danny Ocean’s estranged sister, Debbie (Bullock), assemble the perfect crew to pull off a heist at New York City’s famous Met Gala. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. released our first look at Debbie and co. inside an iconic NYC subway car, but we otherwise know very little about the film’s plot. And that includes how it fully relates to the original Ocean’s trilogy.
With Debbie described as Danny’s “estranged” sister, an appearance from Clooney seems unlikely, but we do know Matt Damon’s Linus Caldwell will make a brief cameo. Damon confirmed his involvement last fall, but in a recent interview with Collider to promote his latest film, The Great Wall, he elaborated a little more on his cameo:
“I haven’t filmed it yet, no, no. I was actually supposed to film it this weekend. It’s just quick, it’s a little cameo … I think, I’m there for exposition [laughs]. But look, we’re all about girl power. We want to see what these ladies do and I’m really excited to see–y’know, Gary’s great–Gary Ross is directing it, who he wrote it and the movie’s got some of my favorite actresses in it, so it should be a lot of fun.”
Hearing that Damon’s Linus is there primarily for “exposition” seems to imply it’ll be a scene early on in the film, likely setting up where and when Ocean’s Eight takes place within the Ocean’s universe. That’s a necessary step when establishing a wider universe for any established property, but if done successfully, it opens up the possibility for more crossover between the stars of the original Ocean’s trilogy and this new team of high class criminals.
Though it’s just as important for Ocean’s Eight to distinguish itself on its own merits, separate from those previous films. Ocean’s Eight seems to be doing that, with Debbie taking aim at the Met Gala as opposed to casinos, implying her beef is with the fashion world, something backed up by the rumor that Hathaway’s character, Daphne, is a former model. It’s a distinctly different setting, meaning the heist as well the motivations behind it are more likely to be unique to these character, not simply a copy of what’s come before.