This article contains spoilers for Ocean's 8.
Ocean's 8 featured the return of Reuben and Yen from the original eleven, but Matt Damon's pickpocket Linus was nowhere to be found. Previously, Damon had mentioned that he had "a little cameo" in the film. However, in December, Damon made tactless comments about Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo, prompting fans to start a petition of over 22,000 signatures urging Ocean's 8 to remove him from the film. Carl Reiner, who played Saul in the original trilogy, was reportedly going to appear, but he is also missing from the film. Looking at the information provided in Matt Damon and Carl Reiner's interviews about Ocean's 8, it is possible to speculate that their scene was reshot with Elliot Gould's Reuben.
Ocean's 8 is a continuation, rather than a reboot, and so it occurs in the same universe as the heists led by George Clooney and Brad Pitt. As a result, two members of the original Ocean's Eleven team return: Reuben, the financier played by Elliot Gould, and Yen, the Chinese acrobat played by Shaobo Qin. Other characters, including George Clooney's Danny, are referenced in the film.
Related: Ocean's 8 Heist and Ending Explained
Both Damon and Reiner shared in interviews that they would have cameo roles in Ocean's 8. Ocean's 8 relishes both its celebrity appearances and its cameos from the original team, making Damon's and Reiner's absences all the more noticeable. Linus and Saul are not characters that Ocean's 8 would hide in the background. Their omission feels purposeful.
While there is no clear reason why Reiner would be removed from the film, many fans found Damon's callous comments about #MeToo to be antithetical to Ocean's 8, which centers female characters. Reiner's absence from the film could be explained, however, if his scene was with Matt Damon.
What Role Would Damon Have Played?
If Damon and Reiner were in the same scene, it may be that their appearance in the film was replaced by Elliot Gould as Reuben. In the film, Debbie Ocean visits the grave of her brother, Danny Ocean, who has passed away while she was in prison. Looking at his grave, she says, "You better be in there." Reuben arrives from around the corner, and Debbie remarks that she isn't surprised that her brother's team sent him to talk to her. The two discuss Danny's death. Reuben cautions Debbie against the heist that she has planned, telling her that while her brother thought it was brilliant, it would still land her back in jail. Of course, Debbie doesn't care.
The scene between Debbie and Reuben could have originally included Linus, played by Damon, and Saul, played by Reiner. Despite Debbie's comment, Linus and Saul seem like the more obvious choice of who would break the news of Danny's death. When interviewed, Damon said that he "was just there for exposition", rather than playing a role in the heist. Additionally, Reiner shared that he had a scene with Sandra Bullock. Reuben's scene with Debbie in the cemetery is that exact intersection of exposition, Bullock, and an original cast member cameo.
If the petition against Damon caused a reshoot, replacing Damon and Reiner with Gould could have been a quick solution. It is also possible that Damon's scene is another scene entirely that was cut and not replaced — either because of the petition or some other unknown reason. What's clear is that Damon's anticipated role in the film didn't make it to the screen.
- Ocean's 8/Ocean's Eight (2018) release date: Jun 08, 2018