Ocean's 8 director Gary Ross explained why cameos by Matt Damon and Carl Reiner were cut from the female-centered heist film. A spinoff of Steven Soderbergh's successful Ocean's franchise, Ocean's 8 stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna and others as an all-female team of super-thieves crashing the Met Gala for the ultimate heist. The movie made off with $41.5 million in its first weekend, the biggest opening ever for an Ocean's film.
In addition to the loaded lead cast, including Anne Hathaway playing a sly parody version of herself, Ocean's 8 also includes a rundown of big celebrities making cameo appearances. Among the biggest names to appear in the film as themselves are Kim Kardashian West, Katie Holmes, Olivia Munn, Serena Williams, Common and Anna Wintour. Two members of the original Ocean's Eleven cast, Elliott Gould and Shaobo Qin, also turn up in brief appearances to reprise their characters. Originally though, there were going to be even more appearances by Ocean's Eleven actors, with both Matt Damon and Carl Reiner slated to drop in.
Audiences expecting to see Damon return as Linus Caldwell and Reiner as Saul Bloom were disappointed, however, as the actors' cameos did not make it into the finished film. Now, Ocean's 8 director Gary Ross has explained why the decision was made to drop the appearances. As Ross told THR:
"[Picking the cameos] is an eclectic process of: how does it fit in the story and how is the narrative unfolding? This more than any movie I’ve done had a really copious editorial process where you play with stuff, you find stuff. I’ve never shot anything after I’ve wrapped on any other movie before, but in a heist movie and an ensemble movie, you’re still working on the play. And we did a bunch of that, and so that was satisfying as well."
"There were a lot of people who were gracious to us that just for editorial and storytelling reasons didn’t make it in and some who did. If you know, we ended up shooting probably another 10 days afterwards, so there’s a lot of material and a lot of shaping. But it really just comes to storytelling."
Though Ross insists Damon's cameo being dropped was all down to a storytelling call, speculation will likely continue that there were other reasons behind the decision to cut the actor from the film. Last year, Damon came under fire from the #MeToo movement after making controversial statements questioning the sexual harassment backlash gripping Hollywood. Damon too received criticism for his prior relationship with Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced film producer who is currently facing rape charges in New York. At one point, a petition was circulated calling for Damon to be removed from the Ocean's 8 film due to his shaky standing with #MeToo. It appears the petition may have worked, though the official line from Ross seems to be that Damon was cut because his appearance didn't serve the movie's story.
With all the star power already gracing Ocean's 8, the film surely didn't need a cameo by Damon in order to make bank at the box office. Nor did it require an appearance by George Clooney, whose Danny Ocean may or may not be dead (leaving the door open on a future appearance from the character, should the Ocean's franchise continue). At least going by the early box office returns, it appears audiences are excited by the new all-female gang of heist-artists.
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