Daily Dose of George Clooney!
Ocean's 11 News Pt. 1         Ocean's 11 News Pt. 2           Ocean's 11 News Pt. 3
 Merry Christmas, Warner Bros!! Moriarty Sees Ocean's 11 rough cut, half hour of majestic!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab. Driving home from Pasadena to the secret underground entrance to the Moriarty Labs, I have to go right past the front gate of Warner Bros., and at around 9:30 on Tuesday night, the lot was quiet, sealed up tight. For once, though, as I drove by, I saw the Warner shield, a logo that holds all sorts of emotional resonance for any lifelong movie fan, and for the first time in a long time, it seemed like it really shone. Like Harry, I’ve spent much of my time here at AICN over the last four years second-guessing Warner Bros or criticizing this decision or that one. The Iron Giant, Batman Beyond: Ruturn of the Joker, Superman Lives, Sandman, Scooby-Doo, Wild Wild West... these are all films where I’ve been harshly critical about either some part of the project or the marketing of the project or the project as a whole. The studio’s reliance on certain formulas is the stuff of legend, and it seems like a miracle when a THREE KINGS or a MATRIX slips through unscathed.
Tonight, though, I am convinced that sometimes that formula pays off. Sometimes you roll the dice and you get lucky, and what you get is more than you’d hoped for. Sometimes that formula gels and everything falls into place just right, and a script and a director and a cast all work at the top of their game, and you end up with something special on your hands, something that’s not just a piece of software to push through primary and ancillary markets. Sometimes, it’s a real treat to watch something. Sometimes, there is even art.
November and December are big months for Warner Bros. There are at least three major movies they’re releasing, and another AOL/Time Warner company, New Line, is finally rolling out the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. The big November release, Harry Potter and the Sorcerors's Stone, is a giant question mark to me. I think all three trailers so far have been rock solid. I think the footage suggests a truly faithful adaptation. Steve Kloves as a screenwriter gives me hope. That supporting cast gives me hope. Chris Columbus... gives me pause. Like I said... question mark.
But the two major December releases are no longer question marks in my mind. Not after last week. Not after tonight. I saw a rough cut of OCEAN’S 11, the first film from Steven Soderbergh since his Oscar win last year, something I've been dying to see since I first reviewed the script, and I also saw about a half hour of footage from Frank Darabont’s new Capra-flavored Jim Carrey film, THE MAJESTIC. In both cases, I had strong reactions to what I saw, and I have a number of impressions I want to share. Keep in mind... neither film was finished, but with these two men in charge, I feel confident that the process can only tighten and polish what’s already there.
In both cases, these weren’t events I planned for. They came together at the last moment. Opportunities arose. Right place, right time sort of thing. I was supposed to see CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION tonight at the all-media screening. Instead, I wrestled my way through an hour and a half of hideous traffic to make my way out to Pasadena. I’ve been working on my Indian hypnosis word (very powerful stuff), and I can now mesmerize the entire NRG staff of a screening with three syllables and a bent finger (applied liberally). The screening was set for 7:30, but as is his style, Soderbergh closed the doors a half-hour early at 7:00 and started early. The place was full; why keep people waiting? I just barely had time to find a seat before the lights went down.
There is a confidence that Steven Soderbergh seems to take greater possession of with each new film, and part of that no doubt has to do with his decision to become his own director of photography. It’s like we’re getting these films pulled directly out of Soderbergh’s head now, and there’s something really powerful about the way he works. There’s very controlled, very precise work in the film, and there’s stuff that looks like it was shot almost as an afterthought, off the cuff, handheld. It’s finding the right moments for each of these tools at his disposal that marks Soderbergh as one of the most visually tasteful directors working right now. For me, it all started with OUT OF SIGHT. As much as I love SCHIZOPOLIS and KING OF THE HILL and SEX, LIES, & VIDEOTAPE and even THE UNDERNEATH and KAFKA, this new version of the filmmaker, Soderbergh 2.0 as it were, seemed to really come to life with OUT OF SIGHT. THE LIMEY remains a personal favorite, and the one-two punch of ERIN BROKOVICH and TRAFFIC proved that he is one of the most effective and inventive journeymen working, able to turn even what is essentially a sober polemic about the failure of drug policy in this country into a $100 million hit. That alone bought him the right to just have fun this time out, something that’s important when we see “important” filmmakers seemingly forget how to have fun, and OCEAN’S 11 is exactly what it promised to be: a slick, satisfying piece of adult entertainment, packed to overflowing with movie stars and “about” nothing besides pleasing you.
The first thing we see is Danny Ocean, dressed in a prison jumpsuit, taking a seat to face his parole board. George Clooney is one of those actors that doesn’t have to project to seem cool. He is cool. We all know where he started and how many shows he had and how he finally broke through with ER and how none of his early starring roles really seemed complete and how BATMAN turned out and how he started getting aggressive with the roles he chose and the people he worked with and how he turned things around and how these days he seems to be a lucky charm, leapfrogging nimbly from one success to another. He seems to be banking the cool at this point, and he just dispenses it on a low simmer, never needing to turn it up, never needing to overpower us. He has grown into his looks, and right now, there’s no one who serves as a better center for this sort of boy’s club movie. “What do you think you might do if you are released?” an offscreen parole officer asks Ocean, and he responds by staring the camera down. In a matter of four or five edits, Danny is released from prison in the tux he was wearing when arrested, his wedding ring returned to him, and he’s in a casino in Atlantic City. He hooks up with his old friend Frank (Bernie Mac), an ex-felon himself who is now working the tables as a dealer named Ramon. Some people would have hired Mac to play it big and broad and over the top, but not Soderbergh. Instead, he lets Mac play it real, and he and Clooney have an easy familiarity. Right away, Danny is putting things into motion. He’s recruiting for a job. He asks Frank where he can find Rusty.
In my opinion, there’s only one guy who comes close to stealing this movie out from under Clooney, and it’s Brad Pitt. His introductory scene is one of my very favorites in the whole film. He’s “colddecking” a bunch of Young Hollywood actors, teaching them how to convincingly play poker for films. Soderbergh cast a whole group of real young actors to play themselves here, and what Topher Grace, Joshua Jackson, Holly Marie Combs, Barry Watson, and a few others do in their scenes with Pitt and Clooney is genuinely funny stuff, a sophisticated cousin to the type of thing Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Gus Van Sant get up to in JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. I’m glad Soderbergh brought Topher Grace back. The kid just makes me laugh, and after how good he was in TRAFFIC, I was hoping someone would give him another part soon. This’ll hold me over until someone really figures out what to do with him.
There’s not much suspense as Rusty and Danny begin to put together their team. You know they’re going to end up with all eleven of the guys they go after, and you know they’re going to get Reuben (Elliott Gould) to bankroll the deal. This part of the film is just about meeting each of the oddballs Rusty and Danny go after. The Mormon Brothers (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan), a twitchy electronics expert (Eddie Jemison), a Chinese acrobat (Qin Shaobo), the nearly-late once-great Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), Basher Tarr, demolitions freak (Don Cheadle), and Linus (Matt Damon) end up joining Danny, Frank, Rusty, and Reuben in a plan to rob three casinos at once: The Belaggio, The Mirage, and the MGM Grand, all of which belong to Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia).
And why Benedict?
Because he was stupid enough to take Danny’s wife, Tess (Julia Roberts). This entire elaborate heist boils down to one guy putting the screws to another guy over a girl. And if we didn’t buy the sparks generated in the few brief moments Danny and Tess share in the film, we wouldn’t care about any of the rest of it. Fortunately, Roberts and Clooney are both about as preposterously engaging as two people can be, and Garcia manages to ooze an icy dislikability as Benedict without actually becoming a stock bad guy. There’s just something wrong about Benedict and his methodical life and his adoration of this mechanical temple of money he’s built. Tess can’t end up with him. As Saul says, “She’s too tall for him.”
There are two types of filmgoer in this world: those who like heist films and those who don’t. Those who do understand the pleasures of laying everything out and watching as it all goes right and wrong in equal measure. Those who don’t should skip down now to where I start talking about THE MAJESTIC, because you are never going to understand. I consider a film like this to be like a great meal or a refreshing drink. When it’s just right, it can make you feel like all is right with the world. I suppose it’s like that for any genre. If you’re a fan, then nothing pleases you more than an example of that genre that is undeniable in its entertainment value, impossible to resist. There’s a great sense of fun underneath every interaction this incredible cast has, a sense that everyone’s come to play. Casey Affleck and Scott Caan are consistently funny in their time onscreen. Damon does nice quiet work, delivering in each moment he must. Bernie Mac really comes through in one particular scene, as does Don Cheadle. Elliott Gould is a sight gag that keeps paying off. Carl Reiner is a simple joy. Even Qin Shaobo and Eddie Jemison deliver, holding their own in each moment they are onscreen. There’s one key step in this heist that is scientifically implausible, if not impossible, but I don’t really need a film like this to serve as a “how-to” guide for future felons. I just want to believe that the odds are against these guys, but the angels are on their side.
Clocking in under two hours, the film is a shark: it never stops moving, and when it makes its big moves, there’s no stopping it. Fast, fast, fast, the film is over before it begins, and if I have any complaint, it’s that I wanted more. I could have handled a three hour romp with this crew. I can’t wait to hear what David Holmes has in store for the film. I’m not sure if what we heard tonight was all temp-track (there was some OUT OF SIGHT I recognized) or if some of it was original. I know the editing by Stephen Mirrione is only going to get tighter, more precise, but I think this is pretty close to finished at this point. There’s titles on this thing already. As it stands, there’s nothing I would suggest changing. From the iconic intro of each character to that one choice shot of all of Las Vegas, dark, to the final volcanic close-up of Andy Garcia, this thing swings.
I’d like to commend them on one choice in particular. There is not a single Rat Pack song or reference made in this film, nothing that ties this back to the days of Frank and Dino and Sammy. This is a separate entity, a success on its own merits. Clooney’s a Rat Pack fan by all accounts, and I imagine the temptation to pay homage would be pretty strong. It’s smart to avoid those comparisons, though. The original OCEAN’S 11 isn’t a great movie, but there’s an aura of decadence that wafts off the screen. You know the director called “CUT!” and they took ten steps on the casino floor and started placing bets for real. You know there were showgirls and late nights and rivers of alcohol and bleary eyes and delayed mornings on that set, and that’s part of the appeal. On this one, everything is in its right place, everyone is in the right role, and for once, the House loses. It’s audiences who are going to come out aces high when they unwrap this embarrassingly appealing Christmas present. I can’t wait to see it again .
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Thanks to Felicity and AICN  for this story!
 Ocean's Eleven script review
   "Hollyfeld, here. One of the most highly anticipated films of 2001 is Steve Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven, and I have a draft of the script right here. Not the shooting script, mind you, but rather an early draft from Steve Carpenter with revisions by Ted Griffin. Although I enjoy this script immensely and think that it's probably a good indication of the type of film we're going to see this fall, it is clearly NOT the draft that Soderbergh is using - and I for one am actually glad, as I am a huge fan of the idea of this film.
   Ocean's Eleven is, for me, a perfect film to be re-made: a well-known classic that, despite its popularity and quality, has undeniably become dated. And the notion of a genuinely all-star cast coming together for the project is one of my dreams come true. This draft seems to clearly indicate the writers' intentions of writing for specific actors, with roles tailor-made for George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Mark Wahlberg (who had to turn the movie down), and Jackie Chan. Which is one of the reasons I remain confident that this draft is a far cry from the actual script being used. The contortionist/martial artist character of Yen is one of the more memorable characters in this script, but seems absent from current cast lists… and since he plays one of the most integral roles in the film's big heist, I can only assume that that part has changed as well.
   For those not in the know, Ocean's Eleven is the story of Danny Ocean - an ex-con who gathers a crew of eleven memorable thieves and con men together for one final heist. The target? Las Vegas Casinos. A bunch of them. AT THE SAME TIME. The actual manner in which the heist plays out is kept largely a secret in this draft, with the reader knowing just enough at any given time to think they know when the plan is going bad, only to be proven decidedly wrong a few pages later when it's revealed that everything is working out just fine. Or is it?
   But although the impressively conceived theft of casino funds takes up a large part of the script, the more interesting stuff comes at the beginning when Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Dusty (here called Rusty, to be played by Brad Pitt) play off of each other and the other members of their crew (most of whose characters seem to have made it into the final film, if the cast lists are anything to go by). Regardless of who was primarily responsible for this draft, Carpenter or Griffin, the writers excelled at old-fashioned character interaction and, especially, their introductions. Introducing a character to a film is a task too often simply screwed up by screenwriters today - but here every character is clearly defined a few seconds after entering for the first time. We know exactly who they are right from the beginning, even if they may act differently from time to time.
   Ocean's Eleven is a film that will almost entirely rely on its characters and the way they interact and, most importantly, collaborate with one another. With its all-star cast, the film may run the risk of having the actors step on each other's toes, or attempt to steal scenes from one another. Now, from the actors chosen this may not prove to be a problem (Brad Pitt and George Clooney have, for example, proven themselves capable of subtler ensemble work in such films as Snatch and O Brother, Where Art Thou?), and this draft of the script certainly implies that the filmmakers want to aid that process along with the writing. Although Danny Ocean is clearly the team's leader, every character is of equal value to the heist and plot. Also, while we're discussing character development, it behooves me to mention that this script is commendable for making each and every character undeniably "cool" without resorting to unnecessary violence, sex, or even much in the way of bad language. The original stars of Ocean's Eleven, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr. et al were all cool without all the conventions the post-Tarantino era has left us, and if this draft is any indication, movie stars may be once again after the re-make is released.
  If this draft of the script has a significant flaw it is in the construction of Tess, Ocean's ex-wife (Julia Roberts), and Benedict, her fiancé (Andy Garcia). Neither character seems particularly strong, perhaps because neither of them are a part of "Ocean's Eleven." Tess serves a rather prototypical "female in a heist movie" role (see Angela Bassett in The Score for an example), although she does get a memorable ending which is worthy of making it into the finished product. And although Garcia's character is clearly meant to the antagonist, he never really comes across as anything more than a self-obsessed businessman. Hardly something to root against…
   The heist itself is, as alluded to above, a worthy piece of writing, and plotted out to the minutest details. Tense and entertaining, it would appear from this draft that there will be no skimping when it comes to the pay-off to the extended set-up that has always been Ocean's Eleven. Although, again, my draft seems nowhere near the one they are using, it seems to lay the groundwork for a worthy film to be released this fall. If one of the really early drafts of the script is a great movie in and of itself, there is no reason not to expect something better from the director of Out of Sight and Traffic."
 Ocean's Eleven
Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, and Julia Roberts; directed by Steven Soderbergh
(Warner Bros., December7)
"Our whole thing was, 'Wouldn't it be cool to recall those Irwin Allen movies where there used to be 15 stars?' " says director Soderbergh {Traffic), who opted for a grittier look over the gloss of the 1960 original. Though this heist picture is set in the present day, "you don't feel an era," Clooney says. But reconceiving the Rat Pack classic has its risks. "I'm gonna take the knocks from people who say, 'He's playing FrankSinatra,'which, ofcourse, I'm notdoing," Clooney says. "But we feel we'll cover the coolness of those guys with a much smarter script and, no knock on the original, a much better filmmaker." Pitt, then, is not playing Dean Martin; Damon is not playing Peter Lawford; Cheadle is not playing Sammy Davis Jr.; and Roberts is not playing Angie Dickinson. But the plot still focuses on a group that aligns itself around Danny Ocean {Clooney) to rob a Las Vegas casino tycoon {Garcia) , who now squires Danny's ex-wife {Roberts). "Vegas is a much different place than it was then, and this is a completely different movie. There are laughs all through it," says producer Jerry Weintraub {The Specialist), who commissioned "many different scripts" during the film's long development process. The winning version splits the story into setup and actual heist, which takes place against the backdrop of a prize fight-and mixes in some dark hues with the comedy. "Steven said, 'Read it, because I know how to do it,' " Clooney says. "Everyone had to cut their fee [though the key players have back-end deals]-it was like, 'Let's go do this and have a blast.' "Casino Royalty: Due to scheduling problems,Alan Arkin was replaced by Carl Reiner, as the master thief lured out of retirement. Now the studio is so pumped about Reiner that they're touting him fora best-supporting-actor nod.
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 Gridlock looms for star-laden holiday pics
By Jonathan Bing and Dade Hayes
NEW YORK (Variety) - The end of 2001 will be no holiday for the film biz. Studio slates are stuffed with an array of expensive, high-stakes titles featuring the very stars absent from marquees this summer.More nerve-wrackingly, most pictures will square off in weekend battles sure to leave money on the table and blood on the floor. Nearly 30 major releases are jockeying for position in the weeks between Nov. 2 and christmas. That includes 23 or 24 wide releases (depending on studio decisions), up from 22 last year.Topliners will include Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith.
 Autograph hounds on the red carpet for the ``Ocean's Eleven'' premiere will need enough ink for Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia and many more.Contrast that list to stars of this summer's hits like Ben Affleck, Reese Witherspoon, Vin Diesel and Sam Neill. (It's telling that not even Eddie Murphy or Roberts could open their respective pics at No. 1 this effects-dominated season.)This summer, studios carefully avoided going head-to-head with their big films, which has allowed for $50 million-plus openers nearly every weekend. But at holiday time, the competition will be more intense.
On Dec. 7, for example, Sony's ``Ali,'' starring Smith, opens against Warner Bros.' ``Ocean's Eleven.'' On Dec. 21, the pivotal Friday before Christmas, Miramax pits DiCaprio vehicle ``Gangs of New York'' against WB's Jim Carrey comedy ``The Majestic.''Christmas Day will see the entry of five significant titles. And we haven't even mentioned ``Harry Potter.'' Or ``Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.'' Or ``Vanilla Sky.'' Or ... well, you get the idea.The carnage can be spectacular at the end of the year. While summer's overall bounty has meant few pictures have bombed outright, last November and December witnessed such debacles as ``The Legend of Bagger Vance,'' ``Red Planet,'' ``Little Nicky,'' ``All the Pretty Horses'' and ``Proof of Life.'' The dates are subject to change, and some pictures may bounce to 2002. `We feel more secure than we have some Christmases,'' said Warner Bros. film production president Lorenzo di Bonaventura. WB has distributed its weight evenly across the frame, with ``Harry Potter'' opening Nov. 16, ``Ocean's Eleven'' Dec. 7 and ``The Majestic'' Dec. 21.
This story is edited as to content pertaining to Ocean's Eleven
 Ocean's 11 Preview
 Scotsdale, Arizona.
The following is a review Dr. Jeffrey Korchek sent to Aint It Cool News.  If anyone else has test screening reviews send them in.
This is a remake of the caper film made in 1959 starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and the group that was known as the coolest of the cool, the Rat Pack.
Clooney’s been really good in films the last few years after B & R; Brad Pitt has stumbled a time or two, but he’s still good, and Julia Roberts—well, she’s currently enjoying a reasonably good streak of movies. Fill in the rest of the roles in this ensemble with some good character actors, add Andy Garcia as the bad guy, and this should be great, right? The nearly completed work print saw its very first test screening with a large audience on 7/24 in Arizona, where it was 108 degrees and people live to go to the movies as a great way to escape the heat. It appeared to only be missing a few opticals---blue and green shots hadn’t been corrected yet, and while they said the music was only a temp track, it was actually pretty decent. When asked if any remember the 1959 version, few hands went up. Its an old favorite of mine, so I’ve followed the remake a bit over the last year or so.
I wanted to enjoy it, I really did. It had all of the right elements---great cast, glitzy settings, a romantic story driving the caper, and the caper itself was structured pretty well. Clooney’s playing Danny Ocean (the Sinatra character from the original) our leading man, and he gets out of prison. Julia’s his wife, and she’s divorcing him. He really loves her, but now she’s hooked up with Garcia, who’s in charge of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Underneath the Bellagio is a Safe & Depository that sets a new standard for security. Cloney wants two things; first, to get his wife back, and second, to heist a bazillion dollars out of Garcia’s safe. The film has a lot of high tech heisting tools, like MI2—slick video pick-ups, and the a top-secret device to aid in shutting down the power long enough to allow for the heist. In the original, Sinatra’s Pals used dynamite to blow the electrical towers; once done, it took just enough time for the back-up generators to come on to allow for the heist. Same idea, here, which is no surprise, and not a real spoiler. However, the plot device used here had a Big Enough Hole in the idea that you could drive a semi-truck through. Remember the EMP-side effect from an atomic blast? They use that here, but forgot that it would also disable all cars, vcr’s etc. that carry a microchip. Bad science. Some great chemistry between Clooney and Pitt; like Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and great scenes when they were together. Poor Julia didn’t get that much to do, but to be The Girl, and she had a couple of good moments. Elliot Gould steals most of the scenes he’s in as the money man backing the heist.
Here’s the bottom line. I really wanted to like it. It reminded me of how I felt and what I thought when Star Trek-TMP first came out. You liked seeing these people together, the visuals were pretty good, there were definitely some good moments, etc. BUT, the movie was empty—there was no heart to it. We’ve had a lot of movies like that in the past few years---The Avengers, Lara Croft, etc. No matter how much money the producers throw at the screen with casting, effects, locations, etc., its amazing how often they overlook the importance of a good, tight, script. It gets a ‘B’ for effort, but misses the mark.
And now we have this look...
Harry, I didn't want to send any advance word on the movie, but after reading the other review, I had to send my two cents in (no spoilers are included here). I too was at the Scottsdale test screening for Ocean's Eleven last week, and I must say that either the kind Dr. had some flat soda during the flick or he just doesn't quite get the thing.
Yes, it was evident that this was a very early cut of the film, and the pacing did need some work, but this has the makings of greatness, and even as it was, it buried anything I have seen so far this year. Soderbergh, who was present at the screening along with Jerry Weintraub and a host of other black-clad producer types, has a very unique sense of style and man, he brings it in full force on this one.
      Clooney and Pitt, as the Dr. says, have perfect chemistry across the whole film, Matt Damon does a great job as the new guy of the crew (and I think is better than what Wahlberg would have been), Julia Roberts, with limited screen time and a very late introduction, does wonderfully with her scenes, and what a unique pleasure to see Carl Reiner playing an end of his rope con man. Even Scott Caan and Corey Affleck are great as the constantly fighting Mormon Molloy Brothers. The cast could not have been better.
The script is smart, with good lines (the ending is a bit surprisingly smarmy...hopefully that will change), and it smartly takes time to poke fun at the characters and the logic of heist. It treats everybody with intelligence, and while there are some slight reality gaps, I never lost faith in the drive of the story. This fiction, right???
The only problems I noted on my survey card could be easily fixed in editing...no reshoots should be needed here. And my faith in Soderbergh's editing abilities (is there a leaner flick than The Limey?) allow me to know that this already very good movie will be the best time in a movie house all year...no question. But, keep in mind that this is no big statement piece or Oscar heavy nor is it intended to be...it's a very good, fun ensemble work that is smart and very, very cool. I can't wait to see it again.
 Ocean's 11 Premiere
June 15, 2001
As it opened, so did it close -- in a New Jersey prison, reports Jerry Weintraub as Steven Soderbergh and the ``Ocean's 11'' star-heavy troupe returned to L.A. Thursday on schedule. Weintraub also reports that the billing of the impressive group will be alphabetical. The pic preems Dec. 5 at the Bellagio in Vegas. Weintraub's next heist is ``33 Liberty Street,'' set in the N.Y. site of our gold reserve. Also skedded for a Bellagio Dec. bow is the $6 million Light lounge by ex-Planet Hollywood partner Keith Barish, with son Chris and Andrew Sasson.
 Clooney Gets Polished Look
June 8,  2001
 George Clooney is still hard at work filming his remake of the Rat Pack movie 'Ocean's 11' and Popcorn managed to get hold of a couple of photos from the set.
The images were captured as Clooney wandered along Hollywood boulevard, where a building has been converted to look like a Las Vegas night club.
Co-starring alongside Clooney are Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle and Matt Damon. The project, directed by Steven 'Traffic' Soderbergh, reworks the original 1960s movie, in which Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr played a group of cons who attempt to rob five casinos in one night.
Given the twinkly eyes and smooth demeanour you won't be surprised to hear Clooney is reprising Sinatra's role as ringleader Danny Ocean. Roberts has the esteemed honour of playing his wife.
Special thanks  to Felicity
 'Ocean's Eleven' back in town for extra shots
 June 04, 2001
It's deja vu all over again as "Ocean's Eleven" floats back into view this week for pick-up shots in -- and around -- Bellagio.
The Rat Pack remake spent from mid-March to mid-April on location in Las Vegas.
But a specific shot -- of actor Don Cheadle departing Bellagio by disappearing down a manhole cover on the Strip -- apparent didn't pass muster with Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh.
So the scene will be restaged from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to Lt. Curt Williams of the Metropolitan Police Department's special events unit.
Actor George Clooney -- who, in addition to playing the title role of heistmeister Danny Ocean, serves as one of "Ocean's Eleven's" producers -- also is expected to reshoot scenes inside Bellagio Tuesday.
And a camera-equipped taxicab will cruise the Strip between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road, Williams reports, to capture additional atmospheric footage.
Part of that footage might include a shot of the iconic "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign.
Initially, "Ocean's Eleven" officials had wanted to shoot another "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign: the one at McCarran International Airport's D gates.
There was just one problem, notes Hilarie Grey, McCarran's public affairs manager.
Seems "Ocean's Eleven" wanted to shoot their airport footage -- which would have required closure of the escalators and detaining passengers -- over Memorial Day weekend, one of the terminal's peak travel periods. McCarran officials suggested alternate dates and "mapped out what we could do," she explains, but production officials "thought it over and said, `No thanks.' "
Pitt dashes, but Clooney lingers on 'Ocean's' set !
June 1, 2001
St. Petersburg Times
 ST. PETERSBURG -- Director Steven Soderbergh and his Ocean's 11 crew returned to Derby Lane greyhound racing track Thursday, collecting footage he missed during a two-day filming visit in February. Just a second take for an Oscar-winning filmmaker, and a sequel of sorts for nearly 400 people hired as background extras. Same dawn arrival, same $75 payday, and another chance to glimpse actors George Clooney and Brad Pitt on the set. A return to St. Petersburg was necessary after an on-set accident in February prevented Soderbergh from filming circus acts performing while Clooney and Pitt's characters plot a Las Vegas casino heist. Two members of the Peking Acrobat Co. were injured when they collided in mid-air during a routine. Paramedics took them to Bayfront Medical Center where they were treated and released. The incident forced Soderbergh to film segments around their absence. Last week, the circus tent was installed again for Thursday's scenes featuring other acrobats. No accidents were reported Thursday. "A few slips here and there, but all in all they're doing pretty good," said background extra Eve Kilgannon, 27, of Brandon during lunch break. "Nothing like the last time, that's for sure." Unlike the first trip, Thursday's action was confined to the circus tent. No other footage inside the race track was filmed. The production's closed-set policy prevented media coverage inside the tent. Since Soderbergh was merely filling in some cinematic gaps -- "pick-up shots" in studio jargon -- his stars didn't have much to do. Pitt quickly finished his work and departed nearly 30 minutes after cameras started rolling at 11 a.m. Clooney stayed around for a few hours joking with crew members and signing autographs for fans. "It seems like he's just sitting around watching the movie get made," said Kilgannon. "He's just hanging out, just being his typical guy self," said Jillian Handrahan, 22, of North Port. Extras like Kilgannon and Handrahan began arriving at Derby Lane as early as 6 a.m. to fill out payroll forms and prepare makeup and wardrobe. Their duties were finished by 5 p.m. Many were part of the February shoot, so they weren't surprised by the time-consuming process of crew members setting up for a few minutes of filming. Some, like siblings Christopher, Nicole and Patricia Corsetti of Seminole, were placed by assistant directors in prime positions to be seen on screen. Or, at least, pass time with Clooney. "I got to sit right behind him," said Christopher Corsetti, age 10. "We talked about how his movies are going, like The Perfect Storm, and how he's having a good time in Florida." Ocean's 11, based on the 1960 movie starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, is slated for a Dec. 7 nationwide release.
The Scene and Heard
May 25, 2001
According to an insider, MGM Mirage is trying to bring the "Ocean's Eleven" premiere to Las Vegas. The film is tentatively scheduled for a Christmas release and will showcase the MGM Mirage properties where so many of the film's scenes were shot.
Ocean's 11 returns
May 24,2001
St. Peterburg Times
Ocean's 11 is coming back to town soon, evidenced by Tuesday's reconstruction of a tent in Derby Lane greyhound track's parking lot on Gandy Boulevard in St. Petersburg. That structure was used in scenes shot in February featuring George Clooney and Brad Pitt . Director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich) decided to return to St. Petersburg for extra footage needed to make the scenes better. Derby Lane media relations director Vera Filipelli said filming is slated for one day only in "early June." She added that some local residents used as background extras before may be recalled, or another casting.
Calling all actors!
Mon. May 21
Our good friend Bruce Pobanz has written in with a new update on filming.
It was just announced on the Oceans 11 hotline, here in Las Vegas, that they are returning to shoot some new scenes in the first week or two of June.  They are looking for actors, union and non-union, 21 to 35 and they must be fresh faces. Basically No one that worked on the movie before because these are NEW shots at the Bellagio Casino.
They are accepting pictures now, with wardrobe fittings planned for sometime between May 25 to May 31 and filming starting around June 1.
For more information, the film hotline again is (702) 392-4999
Second-chance close up
May 22, 2001
St. Petersburg Times
Oscar winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) filmed scenes for his Ocean's 11 remake during two days in February at Derby Lane greyhound track. The movie hasn't been completed, but St. Petersburg can expect a sequel of sorts. Ocean's 11 publicist Spooky Stevens said Monday that the production will return soon for "pick-up shots," brief footage Soderbergh needs to make the Derby Lane scenes better. Stevens didn't reveal specifics about the date, location, or if actors Brad Pitt, George Clooney or Carl Reiner will be involved. The visit will be quick, she said. "We're coming back down, but not (staying) for a couple of days; more like 20 minutes."
The Scene and Heard
April 18, 2001
With "Ocean's Eleven" wrapping a seven-week Las Vegas shoot today, George Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh climb right back into another heist film. Clooney, in a supporting role, plays a safecracker involved in a pawn shop  robbery in "Welcome to Collinwood."  Set in Cleveland, word is it will have a "Full Monty" feel to it.
Ocean's Eleven' ready to wrap production in Las Vegas
April 16, 2001
 Shooting Stars
And the tide rolls out. The "Ocean's Eleven" tide, that is. In Las Vegas since mid-March, the updated casino heist caper is scheduled to wrap production here Wednesday under the direction of "Traffic" Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh. The countdown got under way late last night -- and extended into the the wee small hours of the morning today -- at McCarran International Airport's taxicab staging area.
The movie's final two days will feature locations at Bellagio, one of three casinos -- The Mirage and the MGM Grand being the others -- targeted by a cheeky band of heistmeisters led by dashing Danny Ocean (George Clooney, who also produces with Jerry Weintraub). The movie's final Vegas shot is tentatively scheduled to be a grand farewell on the Strip outside Bellagio, where Danny and his gang -- including Dusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), Linus (Matt Damon), Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), Virgil and Turk Mallory (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan) and Ruben Tischkoff (Elliott Gould) -- bid a fond farewell and go their separate ways. After they sing a chorus of "Leaving Las Vegas," the "Ocean's Eleven" troupe spends two days on location in Irvine, Calif., before returning to Los Angeles, where shooting continues through May. And then the next countdown begins: until Dec.14, when "Ocean's Eleven" is scheduled to hit theaters.
The Scene and Heard
Extras on hand for the "Ocean's Eleven" scene at the Crazy Horse Too strip club noticed an oddity: little skin was shown. The "strippers," most of them the club's top attractions, were covered by themed costumes that included a nurse's outfit, the cowboy look and a fake grape top. "They must be going for a PG-13 rating," said one of my eye spies. Very likely, since the script I saw had a minimum of objectionable language.
 April 13, 2001
Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, on the "Ocean's Eleven" set Wednesday night at the Bellagio, chatting it up with Julia Roberts, George Clooney and producer Jerry Weintraub.
April 10, 2001
"Ocean's 11" will shut down the Crazy Horse Too this week, and the producers paid a hefty price for the opportunity. The contract to have the strip club closed to the public reportedly cost the movie company around $100,000 -- about one day's worth of revenue for the business. But the trade-off is limitless in the exposure department. What I mean is, "Ocean's 11" will no doubt be a box-office heavy when it's finally released.
Apr. 9, 2001
Meanwhile, "Ocean's Eleven" itself checks back into Bellagio
 for additional interiors this week. Also on the "Ocean's Eleven" location calendar:
 the Crazy Horse Too, which is scheduled to host an overnight shoot Thursday featuring (who else?) exotic dancers.  Caesars Palace's palatial porte cochere
 also gets its turn in the "Ocean's Eleven" spotlight Thursday night, reports
 Michael Coldwell, Caesars' public relations director.