Legendary movie mogul Jerry Weintraub signed off on the cast of Ocean’s 8 before his death.
The producer behind George Clooney’s Ocean’s franchise was approached by Gary Ross and Steven Soderbergh with an idea for an all-female heist movie, and he loved the idea.
Director Ross already had casting ideas and Jerry loved the premise of creating a new film with Sandra Bullock as her late brother Danny Ocean’s sister.
“Steven (Soderbergh) is a close friend and we’ve unofficially collaborated on a number of projects over the years,” Gary shares. “If he hadn’t been involved, I don’t think I would have done it. It was great working together.”
“Gary came to me and said, ‘What about Sandy as Danny’s sister?’ I thought that was really interesting, so I said, ‘Let’s take it to Jerry (Weintraub)’. And Jerry thought it was a terrific idea.”
Weintraub then reached out to Sandra to sign on: “There wasn’t even a script yet, but Jerry’s energy, his joy and his passion for this franchise were very infectious,” the actress recalls.
But the legendary moviemaker died in 2015 before filming began.
“It was difficult to imagine an Ocean’s film without Jerry at the helm as a producer,” Soderbergh states. “Jerry wasn’t just a producer; he was a larger-than-life figure.”
Weintraub’s longtime collaborator Susan Ekins, who had served as an executive producer on the previous Ocean’s films, stepped up as a producer, giving Soderbergh someone he knew he could rely on to bring the project to fruition: “Gary and I went to her and said, ‘You were part of the brain trust of the first three (Ocean’s films), so we would love for you to take a more central role here’.”
“I had the pleasure of working with Jerry Weintraub and Steven Soderbergh, both brilliant filmmakers. And now I get to continue that legacy with Steven and Gary,” Ekins says.