George Clooney is talking about some of the Hollywood stars that turned down starring in Ocean’s Eleven.
During the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival, Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh celebrated the 2001 film. Clooney revealed that Mark Wahlberg and Johnny Depp were in talks to play Linus, the role that ultimately went to Matt Damon.
“Steven had just done Erin Brockovich and Traffic, and he was nominated for directing both films,” Clooney said at the event, via Entertainment Weekly. “So, people really wanted to work with Steven.”
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Soderbergh added that some actors turned down the offer with Clooney adding, “They did. Some very famous people told us to f**k right off. Mark Wahlberg, Johnny Depp. There were others. They regret it now. I regret doing f***ing Batman.”
The director recalled that the idea of making Ocean’s Eleven came as he was looking into combining the work he was doing with indies with mainstream big-budget Hollywood films.
“It felt like the next iteration in my desire to work in the mainstream film business and make movies that could be released in a lot of theaters,” Soderbergh said.
Clooney added, “It’s also important to understand where we were at the time. The studios were making very big, broad, not very good films at that time. Steven had this idea of trying to infuse all of this independent film stuff that all of these young filmmakers were learning back into the studio system. It was going to get back to the things that they were doing from like 1964 to 1975.”
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