“Some really famous people told us to fuck right away,” Clooney recalled.
George Clooney call him “Ocean’s Elevencasting that could have been.
Clooney met the director Steven Soderbergh at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival that the 2001 film was originally scheduled to play Johnny Depp And Mark Wahlbergwho both turned down roles for other projects.
“Steven had just done ‘Erin Brockovich’ and ‘Traffic,’ and he was nominated for directing both movies. So people really wanted to work with Steven,” Clooney said at the event, via Weekly entertainment.
Soderbergh added, “Having said that, some people told us no.”
Clooney continued, “They did. Very famous people told us to fuck right away: Mark Wahlberg, Johnny Depp. There were others. They regret it now. I regret doing “Batman”.
Clooney credited Soderbergh with trying to infuse “Ocean’s Eleven” with 1970s cinematic sensibilities.
“It’s also important to understand where we were at the time,” he said. “The studios were making really big, wide, not-so-great films at the time. Steven had this idea of trying to infuse all that indie film stuff that all these young filmmakers were learning into the studio system. It was okay go back to the things they were doing between 1964 and 1975.”
As reported by Variety at the time, Depp was considered for the role of Linus Caldwell before Mark Wahlberg was cast later; Wahlberg separate ways with the film to direct the remake of “Planet of the Apes” instead. Matt Damon was later cast in the role.
Luke and Owen Wilson, Joel and Ethan Coen, Mike Myers, Bruce Willis, Ewan McGregor, Alan Arkin and Ralph Fiennes were also in talks to star.
“Ocean’s Eleven” eventually had an ensemble cast including Clooney, Damon, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle and Elliott Gould. The film trilogy stimulated an “Ocean’s 8” spin-off and an ucoming prequel remake from the 1960 original “Ocean’s 11” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
Damon has already spoken about his own regret over turning down James Cameron’s 2009 film “Avatar.” Damon sadly said no to 10% of “Avatar” profits in exchange for directing the film. The salary would have been around $270 million as “Avatar” made box office history, grossing over $2.9 billion. Cameron recently said he would welcome Damon back in a franchise role “to bring the world back into balance.”
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