|' Ocean's Eleven' cast will celebrate film's premiere in Turkey ..."Ocean's Eleven" mystery has been cleared up.
Unanswered was why the film's world premiere in Las Vegas on Dec. 7 was scrubbed, and reset for Hollywood. It wasn't security concerns after all. Co-producer Jerry Weintraub, working with the Department of Defense, is taking the film and most of the cast to a military base in Turkey. "It's a gift to the troops," Weintraub told the Hollywood media the other day."Ocean's Eleven," shot in Las Vegas for the most part, was to premiere during a gala at the Bellagio's "O" theater. Instead, the premiere will be Dec. 5 in Westwood, with a party to follow, then the cast flies to Turkey on Dec. 6 on a giant jet. Multinational forces will view it hours before it opens in theaters across the United States on Dec. 7. After dining with the troops, the stars head for Rome and London for promotional stops. A print of the remake of the 1960 film featuring Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack will be left at the military base for troops unable to view the premiere screening. Making the trip with director Steven Soderbergh will be George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Don Cheadle, if knee surgery permits. The Department of Defense cleared the trip. Warner Bros. is paying for all the plane-related premiere expenses. Weintraub has been a longtime friend of President George W. Bush and his father, the former President George Bush.
Click here for the weather report from Adana, Turkey home of Incirlik AFB
| George Clooney 'unsure' about new movie
George Clooney says he was unsure about appearing in new movie Ocean's 11. He stars alongside Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts in the film. He says he didn't think he could be as cool as the Brat Pack stars of the original film.
The 1960 original featured Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davies Jr and Dean Martin. George told Radio 1: "I was like 'Hang on. I don't want to get caught in that. We're never gonna be as cool as those guys. That's their thing, that's why their movie was so successful'." Ocean's 11 is due to be released in the UK in January.
Press scanner: Stars to visit Incirlik
Asia Intelligence Wire
Sabah said: "Hollywood stars such as Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Brad Pitt will be visiting the Incirlik base in Turkey for a few days' stay in December to boost the American troops' morale. The stars will eat with the troops, give autographs and watch films with them."
| CIN CITY: Clooney's practical jokes
Let's jump into the deep end with the star of "Ocean's Eleven." His name is Clooney. George Clooney.
Q: Didn't you pull an especially heinous prank on Matt on the set of "Ocean's 11?"
Clooney (laughing): "Well yes, and I'm glad that you asked. Steven Soderbergh and I went to Variety magazine after we put a real ad together. You know how they do For Your Consideration' ads for the Oscars. We made up one that said: 'For your consideration: Matt Damon, Sexist Man Alive.' And we were going to make it look like Matt Damon paid for the ad himself. I actually called Variety and they said, 'You know this is a professional publication. You can't place that ad. I cried, 'But it's funny!'"
Q: Didn't you send Julia twenty dollars and ask her to be in the film?
Clooney: "I sent her a script with a $20 bill and put in a note saying, 'I hear you get 20 a picture'. Would you like to do the film?' A day or two later, she was in. Brad Pitt was immediately in. In one week, we had Brad, Julia, me and Steven. It just snowballed. Everyone wants to work with Steven. That's what it came down to. Virtually everyone we called to be in it said yes."
Q: Let's talk about filming this version in Las Vegas. Is it true George you have the record for the most losses in Vegas at the blackjack table?
Clooney (laughing): I do hold the record for most blackjack losses in Vegas. I ran out of a line of credit. First, I had cash and it was gone. Then you dance around to get a line of credit at a casino. I threw out all my money and lost everything in seconds. Even Matt Damon said, 'This is ridiculous.' Matt started putting down money for me and I said, 'I have to tell you. I have the worst luck.' I lost about 25 hands in a row."
Brad & George Uncensored!
Pretty boys George Clooney and Brad Pitt clown around with ET's Jann Carl! Find out about their newest flick 'Ocean's 11,' the prayer group co-star Julia Roberts always missed and Brad Pitt's penchant for ... the polka? Read more
| Holiday Movies: for Fun and for Oscar
Los Angeles (Reuters) - The holiday season has arrived, and that means two things in Hollywood: it's the second busiest movie season of the year so the studios usher out hopefully fun movies, and it's Oscar time. No need to explain that.
And this year's holiday films seems to include everything from a who's who in Hollywood, better known as the cast of "Oceans 11," to a blockbuster adaptation of the first volume of the "The Lord of the Rings" to a biography of a true lord of the ring, Muhammad Ali.
Each year leading up to this season, critics complain that it has been a bad year for films and 2001 has been no different, even though moviegoers seem to be having a good time with admissions up and the box office poised to reach a record $8 billion. But the real fun is in "Ocean's 11", opening Dec. 7, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts and directed by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh. Even though it has the same name as the "rat pack" film in 1960 starring Frank Sinatra and his best pals, this movie about a gang of crooks who rob Las Vegas is nothing like the first. The stars quickly admit that "Ocean's 11" is all about entertainment -- nothing serious, here.
"Putting it together was sort of like the opening of the movie where we're putting together our crew," Clooney told Reuters. "Steven and I would just sit down with these guys and say, 'Hey, we're doing this movie, do you want to come play."
| US People Ocean's Eleven
Malibu, California (AP) _ "Ocean's Eleven" stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Don Cheadle will be going to Turkey to visit U.S. and coalition troops.
"We want to bring them a little bit of home for Christmas," movie producer Jerry Weintraub said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his Malibu estate Blue Heaven. "We really wanted to do something for these kids. We can pat them on the back, sign autographs and tell them we care."
The remake of the casino heist caper "Ocean's Eleven" will be released in the United States on Dec. 7.
Hours after the film's Dec. 5 premiere in Los Angeles, the "Ocean's Eleven" stars, Weintraub and director Steven Soderbergh wkll board a jet headed for a U.S. military base "somewhere in Turkey," Weintraub said.
The exact location won't be disclosed but Weintraub said American service personnel as well as British coalition troops will be on hand. Warner Bros. is paying for the trip.
"It won't cost taxpayers a thing," Weintraub said.
They will greet, eat and talk with the troops, sign autographs and show the film, the producer said.
"We were talking about doing a premiere in Rome or Paris and I said, 'I've got a great idea. We've got troops over there in harm's way. Why don't we go over there and show it to them? To hell with the press,"' Weintraub said.
"George jumped up and said 'great' and everyone came on board," said Weintraub, who quickly put in a call to his longtime friend former President George H.W. Bush. "I called President Bush ... and he said he thought it was fantastic. He made a call and two minutes later I got a phone call from the Pentagon and we got the ball rolling."
DVD copies of "Ocean's Eleven" and other films will be left at the base and Weintraub said DVD copies will also be sent to 11 U.S. warships.
The "Ocean's Eleven" entourage will spend several days in Turkey before traveling to London and Paris for media interviews.
| Weintraub Says Only Carl Reiner Gets the Oscar Push for 'Ocean's Eleven'
Hollywood (Zap2it.com) -- With one of the most amazing combinations of A-list stars gathered in the same movie in recent memory, producer Jerry Weintraub said over the weekend there's only one person he's going to push for next year’s Academy Awards® for "Ocean's Eleven."
"We all think that Carl Reiner did an incredible job in this movie," said Weintraub at a Saturday night press conference for the Warner Bros. film. "When it comes time for the Academy campaign this year, we're going to push Carl Reiner for Best Supporting Actor, and that's it."
Star of the Las Vegas heist film, George Clooney, sitting not far from the producer at the interview, acted as if he was hurt by the announcement, and quipped, "I'm really disappointed about that, Jerry."
In fact, it was Clooney's input that convinced Weintraub to push the 79-year-old veteran actor/writer/director/producer for the potential Oscar® in the film where Clooney (playing Danny Ocean) compiles 11 con artists (including Reiner's character) to rip off three Las Vegas casinos. The film also stars Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Elliot Gould, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac and Julia Roberts.
"Don't get me wrong, I think everyone deserves an Oscar for their performances in this film, and I think it should win Best Picture, but when it comes time for the studios to campaign, we're only going to push for Carl, he did such a good job, he was fantastic," said Weintraub.
Reiner, who has never been nominated for an Academy Award but has won an Emmy, plays a con man who poses as a high-rolling German businessman.
Clooney said, "With all these big stars around, all these people who've worked with great people, the person you saw everyone sitting around during a break in the shooting was Carl Reiner, everyone was gathered around him. He tells some great stories."
Reiner's part was originally offered to Alan Arkin, who got sick just before filming, and Reiner was coaxed out of semi-retirement by Weintraub.
|Click here for more images
Forty-one years after the Rat Pack made their first feature film, Ocean's Eleven, some of Hollywood's biggest stars are stepping into the shoes of the legendary clan — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Now there's a remake of Ocean's Eleven featuring a new generation of male stars — George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Don Cheadle — and one leading lady, Julia Roberts.They sat down with Barbara Walters in a group interview. They talked about the new film, directed by Steven Soderbergh and to be released next month, and also about the events of Sept. 11. Following are some highlights from the interview:
George Clooney: "We all sort of understand that — we've all been there already — which is you've got to show up. There are things we can do that other people can't do … We can help bring focus to things."
Brad Pitt: "This catastrophic event is really — certainly for me, and I feel like our culture — made us appreciate again what we have. It's basically reminded us of these freedoms. And to see us actually embracing other people's convictions, other religions and standing together, which is really what America was founded on … I want to see those buildings rebuilt … It's important to America to get our symbol back."
Andy Garcia: "Well, my father and my mother sacrificed everything for us to have the ability to be free. And that's a thing that people die for. And when you have it and you grow up in it, you can take that for granted.… But I don't take that for granted because I know what we've been through in order to enjoy that freedom, and what the people that we left behind, the kind of freedoms they don't enjoy."
Matt Damon: "I was in New York when it [the terror attacks] happened … It certainly affects everything, affects my thinking more than my actions probably … Everybody that I knew survived it. They got out. And so you have this tremendous feeling of joy followed by this tremendous feeling of guilt … My inner circle made it, you know. But there's thousands and thousands and thousands of families and friends and inner circles that have just been broken up by this."
Julia Roberts: "My sister is in New York, and just the franticness when I was calling her phone number, and I couldn't get through and couldn't get through, and that miracle that I actually finally did get through to her and was able to talk to her and then call everybody else in my family and say that she was OK, and that my brother-in-law was OK, and got a hold of my friends … It was really intense."
| See an outake from O11...George, Julia and Brad: The New Rat Pack!
December's highly-anticipated remake of the 1960 Rat Pack classic 'Ocean's Eleven' may have a modernized plot and feel all its own. But that doesn't mean the cast and crew weren't determined to pay homage to the Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin original. 'Ocean's' 2001 stars (including gorgeous George, his gal pal Julia and Brad Pitt to name a few) were honored to follow in the footsteps of the first film's legendary celebs. In the new version, Clooney does the honors in the Sinatra role, playing title character Danny Ocean. A New Jersey ex-con fresh out of the slammer, Ocean wastes no time in planning the biggest casino heist ever attempted - a job that will only be possible with help from 10 crime specialists (as played by such A-listers as Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle. As the female lead, Roberts fills the shoes of ANGIE DICKINSON, who played Sinatra's wife. In this version, Roberts is Clooney's ex, Tess Ocean. Only now she's involved with ruthless rich boy Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), owner of the very casinos Danny is trying to knock off. Directed by Steven Sodergergh, the nostalgic romp also features Casey Affleck, Elliot Gould, boxer Lennox Lewis, Bernie Mac, and Sydney Pollack amongst countless other fab performances. Intrigued? Stay tuned to ET for more inside info on 'Oceans 11,' -- opening Dec. 7!
Click here for the outake
| Holiday Sneaks...Thick as Thieves...The zillion-dollar cast reprising the kitsch caper "Oceans Eleven"
leads off our annual preview of holiday movies.
One venerable method of escaping the worries of war and terrorism is to luxuriate in movie stars, lots of them. An afternoon at producer Jerry Weintraub's Malibu estate promises this.
It is a bright, clear California Saturday, and the sign at the beginning of the long driveway announces "Blue Heaven." On one side of the estate is a dusty riding stable, and on the other, desolate playground equipment and then a pool. At the end is a blue stucco house, rather large and indistinct, as if the Brady Bunch has just become immeasurably richer. The door is flung open, revealing commotion and well-groomed, cell-phone-toting publicists and makeup artists. Flanking the front door are floor-to-ceiling stained-glass portraits of Weintraub and his wife, Jane, a popular crooner in the '50s.
In a side garage, a veritable platoon of publicists perches on white rattan chairs, watching clients on a live feed talking to Barbara Walters in the living room of the house. This is a press day for "Ocean's Eleven," a remake of the famous 1960 caper movie that starred the Rat Pack—Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.
The new "Ocean's Eleven," which premieres on Dec. 7, is as big and glossy a Hollywood production as can be remembered in recent memory, the point being to revel in beautiful stars plotting and executing a heist in the casinos of Las Vegas.
When the show finally breaks, the publicists move desolately into the sunshine to await their clients, who are the stars of the movie, and of this article.
George Clooney, 40. Clooney's wearing a suit and white shirt, and looks as if he's either stayed up all night being bad or is about to stay up all night being bad.
|Julia Roberts, 34. She carries herself like an old-fashioned dame, despite the jeans, the green T-shirt, spike-heeled boots and auburn hair, which falls in improbable 1940s style curls. She is loud, flirtatious, giddy. Tonight is her birthday party, to be held at Blue Heaven.
|Brad Pitt, 37. He is the reluctant movie star, but sweet. Like someone yearning to go home, he keeps changing back into his stretched-out white T-shirt, with the word "Life" emblazoned across the front, and beat-up jeans, only to return to a swank blue leather jacket and shirt, when a photo op calls.
Casting these three in a movie together would cost a studio close to $60 million if they were to get their full salaries. (Even without the cast taking full salaries, the Warner Bros. movie still costs an estimated $80 million.) They emit the hyper-charged neurons of actors improvising some larger-than-life performance. But there are still more stars, among them
|Matt Damon, 31, fresh-faced and still collegiate-looking, in jeans and a blue sweater,
|Andy Garcia, 45, smoking a cigar, and Don Cheadle, 37, the virtuoso chameleon actor, who here appears self-contained and watchful.
For the next 45 minutes, the stars cavort in front of photographers and banter almost nonstop, except for breaks to take shots of whiskey and smoke. As the last session (atop the diving board) wraps up, a man appears in the driveway. He stands almost suspiciously erect, in a pristine, pale-gray, three-button suit, and glasses with heavy black frames. His attitude hovers somewhere between the proper and the absurdist. He is director Steven Soderbergh, 38, winner of the Academy Award for directing last year's "Traffic." When the genetically blessed cast beckons him to join the photo, he just yells back, "No. Scary!"
After another break, the crew trudges to the guesthouse by the swimming pool. A sign stands out front, "Casa Barbara Bush, and you too, George Bush." Weintraub is a famous Republican in a Democratic town, and this is where the Bushes senior stay when in Los Angeles. Clooney, nonplused, stares at the sign, then restrains himself from commenting, one of his few moments of restraint all afternoon.
Inside, the decor is beige, upscale Marriott. The stars and Soderbergh crowd on couches and chairs around a glass coffee table. Clooney beckons for alcohol.
They are joined by a woman reporter, 30s, in black. She has calculated how much it would cost to collect this group together, if they were being paid their full salaries (not including gross points). That figure is $2,500 a minute. She has met Roberts, Clooney and Damon before, albeit briefly. None of them remembers. She, in fact, has interviewed Pitt for an hour, over a drink at Musso & Frank a few years ago. He too does not remember but gamely asks, "Did I try to pick you up?"
That, she would have remembered.
The group is led in tandem by Soderbergh, who commands the most respect, and Clooney, self-designated master of fun, who says, "I don't raise the bar. I lower it and I bring everybody down to my level. It's an intellectual version of limbo."
And with that, our nouveau rat pack gets down to it.
Question: So, basically, why this movie?
Soderbergh: Boy, I'm still asking myself that question.
Pitt: I wanted to work with me. It was a good opportunity and I jumped at it. We got along great. No fighting.
Soderbergh: It was one of those projects that started out small ....
Clooney: ... and just got smaller.
Roberts: Now it's a cell.
Clooney: It's an independent.
Soderbergh: I read a great script. By Ted Griffin. I got it on an afternoon, read it and called the next day and said I want to do it. That was January a year ago.
(A publicist bearing a round of vodka-cranberry drinks arrives.)
Clooney: Jerry developed it. (Stops, with enthusiasm:) Oh, alcohol! (Examines the drink quizzically.) It's awfully red for a drink.
Roberts: Somebody heard cranberry juice and actually ordered cranberry juice. (Winking.)
Clooney: Hey, Jerry, see if they have any more vodka that we can put into this.
(Clooney leads a toast. Glasses clink.)
Q (to Soderbergh): I heard that you were a big heist fan.
Soderbergh: I am. I don't know why. There's nothing in my background—I grew up in a suburban subdivision—that would indicate I'd be interested in heist movies. I've made three of them. I've made a lot of crime films. I think people are drawn to crime films because the conflicts are so clear and dramatic. This seemed to me to be everything that you want a big Hollywood film to be, on the script level. All that stuff that makes for a great "movie movie" experience. This is a movie, I think, as opposed to a film. I think they are two different things. And for me, coming off two dramas ["Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich"] in a row, one of which I had a really ...
Roberts (groaning): Horrible.
Soderbergh: Horrible experience on. It was what I needed. What I didn't anticipate was how hard it is to make a movie that's just supposed to be fun.
Clooney: We had a great time. He was in the room working.
Garcia: He didn't stop. He had a lawn chair out by the camera truck that he'd once a day go out there and sit down and have a cigarette and go back in. The only time he sat down was during lunch.
Pitt: And you were cutting at night too.
Soderbergh: Yeah, because we thought there was going to be a strike. So we were cutting all the time.
Pitt: Directing, shooting, operating the camera.
Damon: And writing.
Roberts: In your spare time.
Soderbergh: At night.
Clooney: We had a tough time too because you know you've got all the gambling and drinking, and then you gotta go to work. And it's hard.
Q: So, are you Rat Pack fans?
Soderbergh: We're all aware of them, obviously. But it's impossible to duplicate what they had.
Q: The original movie is so boring!
Clooney: Everybody will say, you know, "Oh, that's one of my favorite films," and I'll always say, "Have you ever seen it?" The perception is that you've seen the film, because you'll go, "Oh, it's Frank and Dean and Sammy. Yeah, it's great." But the truth is ...
Damon: You've seen their life.
Cheadle: It was a movie where they only did one take.
Clooney: Frank would go do a take and say, "Print it twice."
Garcia: There were a lot of scenes in the movie where Frank decided not to show up for work that day so they say, "Henry Silva, you play this scene."
Roberts: I tried to watch it but I fell asleep twice.
Q: The artistic ambitions seem higher here.
Clooney: Steven was given the Oscar in the middle of shooting our movie, which was pretty cool. He had to be on the set the next morning. He wins the Oscar, and we get a call and ran down to the bar at like 2:30 in the morning, and he had it in a bag, down next to where we were sitting. I'm like, "Come on, pull it out!" And he pulls it out, sticks it up there and we all had a toast.
Pitt: I didn't know you were required to carry it around all night. I never understood that ... at the parties, photo op ....
Roberts (whispering): Yeah. I ditched mine. They get mad.
Clooney (jocularly): Let's see, when I won the Golden Globe ...
Damon: ... the Cable Ace ...
Clooney: When I won the AMA award, I carried it for a week.
Roberts: The AMA?
Damon: The AMA [American Medical Assn.] award for most caring doctor.
Clooney: If they were just more specific, I could win one of those awards. "Best performance by a doctor on television named George."
|Roberts: Who isn't Mandy Patinkin.
Clooney: Who brought down the Bat franchise. And the winner is ...
Cheadle: Eriq LaSalle.
Clooney: [Darn it.] I was right there.
Soderbergh: Here's a story. I went with George to the "Batman & Robin" premiere because I'm a friend.
Clooney: You're a friend of Chris O'Donnell.
Soderbergh: Yeah, exactly, so George's agent, Michael Gruber, lives very close to the theater where they were showing the film, and there was a little reception there beforehand, and I lost my glasses that day. Literally. I couldn't find them. And I go to this thing, and George's mom comes up and goes, "I just want to say I know that a lot of people talk about George on the show, but I think you're terrific."
Clooney: She thought he was Anthony Edwards. And I made a beeline. I go over and go, "M-o-o-m! You're killin' me."
Q: Do the 1960s have an appeal to you guys?
Soderbergh: To me, [our] movie, especially in the last 10 minutes, goes further back than that. To me, it's like a '40s movie.
Damon: George and Julia's dialogue to me, when I read it, it was like ... (snapping his fingers).
Soderbergh: When I read it, I felt there was less of the movie that had one foot in the '60s than it was a movie that had this one foot back in the heyday of the studio star-driven movie, like [directors] Howard Hawks or George Cukor.
Garcia: You could always get those people in because everybody was under contract.
Q: Everybody had to cut their price to make this movie?
Soderbergh: What happened was when [George and I] came in, I said jokingly, but not entirely, "Let's make it an Irwin Allen movie, where they used to have 10 stars." Then we both knew the only way to do that is if everybody sort of agrees to not go full boat because it would be prohibitive, and George started that ball rolling.
Pitt: George took the boat, I took the rowboat. (Gesturing to Garcia.) He took the oars.
Q: You very rarely see a movie with more than one movie star these days.
Soderbergh: But I miss that. What gives me the most pleasure .... (pauses, suddenly distracted.) Oh, sorry. I was thinking about what gives me the most pleasure (laughter) ... in watching the film is the generosity that's so apparent between all of the actors. You're so used to seeing a movie in which if there are two movie stars, like they're shot in two different countries. And to see everybody sharing the frame, literally, and doing it with such comfort and ease makes you think, "Wow, I'd like to see that more often."
Cheadle: I want to see like a "Ten Little Indians" again where ...
Clooney: ... everybody dies?
Cheadle: It's like "we're killing stars" and ...
Damon: ... you have no idea who is going to be left.
Clooney: That's what was so great about "Alien" when it first came out, which was you were so sure that [Tom] Skerritt was going to be the guy that lives. When he got smoked, you were like uh-oh. Because they'd never done the girl living before.
Pitt (now standing by glass doors, smoking; facetiously): Remember when Charlie Sheen got wasted in "Young Guns"?
Clooney: Don't tell me, I haven't seen it.
Damon: Remember when Steven Seagal got blown up in that thing in "Executive Decision"? (Conversation degenerates along these lines.)
Cheadle: What's hilarious is that I'm looking at [the journalist's] pad. That's two of the 17 questions.
Roberts: Give us something you'd honestly like to ask this group, whether it's on the pad or not.
Q: Well, it seems like your plan was to have fun. That's an ephemeral thing to ask about.
Roberts: It's not just to have fun, though. It's to be there for a purpose. To be with the creative team. Everybody cut their prices to ribbons just to be in that environment. The purpose of all these actors is to be that kind of an actor, to be someone who will show up and do something, and participate in something. Not just grab the money and go.
Q (to Roberts and Clooney): What did your rehearsal look like?
Roberts: Our rehearsal—we had never met.
Clooney: We met at the Chateau [Marmont].
Damon: Which is so weird, because I always assumed that all famous people know each other.
Clooney: Well, I knew her famously.
Pitt: Yeah, I thought you guys met through Warren Beatty.
Soderbergh: You were leaving, she was showing up.
Clooney: I was drunk, by the way.
Roberts: And, actually, we were just kind of chatting and [Steven and George] knew each other and [Steven and I] know each other, so we were telling stories and being silly and goofy.
Clooney: We brought down Universal [which made "Out of Sight"]; she got an Oscar.
Roberts: At one point, George excused himself from the room, and I said to Steven, you know, "Should we read from the scenes?" And he goes, "Do you have a problem with any of them?" And I said no. George comes back, and we sat around, they acted out many episodes of "Jackass" and ...
Clooney: The star of "Jackass." (Pointing to Pitt.)
Pitt: Guest star .... What I loved in this film with Steven was that he never put us in this position or anything like that. He just said, "Kind of fall in line," and wherever we fell naturally .... It took a lot of confidence. "Whatever order, whatever you fall in. Whatever it is, I'll make that work." And that's cool.
(At this point, producer Weintraub comes in, bearing a giant bottle of vodka. He squishes himself down between Pitt and Garcia on the couch. He's 64 and practically radiates delight at working on "Ocean's Eleven"; he hasn't had a hit in the last decade.
Q: So, uh, my editor wanted me to ask ...
Clooney: Here's the disclaimer. (Relents.) OK. I'm sleeping with Julia and Brad.
Q: What's the relevance of this movie?
Soderbergh: Oh, none. That's why we agreed to do it.
Clooney: It's actually a story about, you know, the dichotomy between man and money.
Soderbergh: That's not true because, seriously, if we've done our job right, you're going to see some real casino reform.
Clooney: OK, while we're here, something we should say since Jerry's here. This movie couldn't have been made the way we made it without Jerry. We lived this ...
Roberts: Big, old-time moviemaking.
(The cast stayed for weeks in their own 7,000-square-foot villas at the Bellagio.)
Clooney: Yeah, it really was fun. You'd come downstairs, you'd find Jerry. There was an extra, (excuses himself) "background artist" on the set, and the woman says, "I'm sorry, I have to leave" when we were shooting, and Jerry, who is sitting next to her, says, "How much do you make on your nice job?" And she goes, "200 bucks," and he hands her $200 to go sit over there. It was like, you know, you felt like it was the '50s again and he had access to Vegas—all of it.
Soderbergh: Jerry knew who to speak with; Jerry knew Kirk Kerkorian. We wanted access to the Bellagio, the MGM and the Mirage, which was in the script.
Clooney: If you do mention the film, say it's an MGM film.
(Laughter. The movie is from Warner Bros.)
Soderbergh: And that was all because Jerry negotiated the access we got. We shot on the floor during the day, which nobody gets to do. They shut down entire pits for us to shoot in. I tried to take advantage of that. It allowed me to design shots that were big, that were complicated, in which you saw a large part of the casino at one time. It really opened up the movie.
(Everybody chants, "Jerry, Jerry.")
Q: So, have you guys all bought Julia a birthday present?
Roberts: Oh, God.
Weintraub: You missed mine. It was two weeks ago.
Roberts: When's your birthday, Jer? Did you remember Matt's birthday?
Weintraub: I sent him a photo booth. You know, those booths in the arcade where you put money in.
Soderbergh: George got a Cadillac station wagon for his birthday.
Clooney: Jerry got me a hearse. The scariest thing about it: I got in back, and Elvis was laid out in the back.
Soderbergh (Takes out of his pocket a tiny, palm-sized biography of Matt Damon. To Damon): You're a Pocket Romeo.
Roberts: That's what I want. I want the full Pocket Romeo collection of the entire "Ocean's Eleven" cast.
Clooney (gesturing to Damon): I'm telling you, the sexiest man alive.
Damon: I don't think so.
Roberts: I'll campaign for you, for your birthday.
Pitt: After all, George's been axed from the running.
Clooney: I'm too old now.
Soderbergh: George's being coy. He's asking a lot on how he too can be two-time winner. We're pushing for a write-in ballot.
Roberts: The sexiest (old) man.
Soderbergh: No, we wanted to take an ad out in People. "For your consideration, Matt Damon." And they wouldn't let us do it.
Q: Why wouldn't they let you do it?
Soderbergh: They said, no public parody ads. George is like, "Come on, it's funny."
Clooney (gesturing to Pitt): I just can't understand how he got two.
Damon (to Pitt): He is the Spencer Tracy of Sexiest Man Alive. He is a repeat winner.
Pitt (flustered, points to Damon, Roberts and Soderbergh): Oscar, Oscar, Oscar. (Points to himself, with chagrin:) Sexiest Man Alive.
Garcia: So, if you don't ask any questions, does your check bounce?
Soderbergh: How are you going to write this? There's just nothing to write about.
Q: I'm just going to edit cautiously.
Rachel Abramowitz is a Times staff writer