2001’s Ocean’s Eleven manages to find the sweet spot, merging comedy and action for a star-studded heist film that certainly lives up to the legacy of the Frank Sinatra-lead original. In the modern version, it’s George Clooney leading a merry band of thieves, acrobats, and Matt Damon on a thrilling Vegas casino heist with director Steven Soderbergh creating a film that manages to be both stylish and fun.
As we look ahead to Ocean’s Eight, with Sandra Bullock taking the reins from Clooney as the group’s leader, and celebrate the 15th anniversary of Ocean’s Eleven‘s release, let’s take a look at some behind the scenes trivia.
There Were Some Early Casting Shuffles
It’s not uncommon for casting choices to change before (or sometimes even after) filming begins, and Ocean’s Eleven definitely had it’s fair share of shakeups. Soderbergh had initially hoped to cast Luke and Owen Wilson as Virgil and Turk Malloy, who would have been great as the trouble-starting brothers had they not committed to their friend and frequent collaborator Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums.
Early buzz also put Bruce Willis in the mix for a role, but it wasn’t meant to be. Willis only had good things to say about the project: “By the time I got to it, all the good stuff was done and I wanted to play one of the gang. I think I’d rather just go see it.”
He later had a hilarious cameo in Ocean’s Twelve.