Daily Dose of George Clooney!
Ocean's 11 News
Russian heavyweight brothers Wladmir Klitschko, left, and Vitali Klitschko, right, pose with heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis following a press conference at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 7, 2001. The three were in Las Vegas filming fight scenes for the remake of "Oceans 11," which will star Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and George Clooney. (AP Photo/Laura Rauch)
| Julia meets Angie!
The "Ocean's 11" fight scene shot Thursday night at the MGM Grand Garden
Arena was the perfect opportunity for Angie Dickinson and Julia Roberts
to finally meet. In the film Roberts is portraying the character Dickinson played in the 1960 original. During the fight scene, both actresses -- separately and unaware the other was doing the same -- approached "Ocean's 11" producer Jerry Weintraub and asked if he would arrange a meeting and photo. Amused, Weintraub set things up and the actresses finally got the chance to slobber kind words of admiration all over one another. So Hollywood, it's silly. The fight scene went off without a hitch; most of the "talent" were outta there in less than an hour. Director Steven Soderbergh shot the entire scene himself.
Faces in the crowd!
Apr. 6, 2001
Old Vegas mingled with New Vegas for celebrity cameos during the "Ocean's Eleven" fake fight scene at the MGM Grand Garden on Thursday night. Angie Dickinson and Henry Silva, participants in the original "Ocean's Eleven" with Rat Packers Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop, sat near ringside with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, not far from Siegfried and Roy, Mirage headliner Danny Gans, Wayne Newton and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who played himself in his cameo. "We wore our mafia suits," said mayoral aide Bill Cassidy. "John Gotti never looked so good."
Also spotted: County Commissioner Dario Herrera, ring announcer Michael "Let's Get Ready to Rumble" Buffer, Bob Stupak, elegantly understated in a bright red jacket, Pat Morita, and boxers Roy Jones Jr. and Prince Naseem Hamed, who fights Marco Antonio Barrera on Saturday.
Heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Vladimer Klitschko staged the mock fight for "Ocean's" climactic scene.
Apr. 06, 2001
Las Vegas Sun
On Thursday night extras filed into the MGM Grand Garden Arena and feigned excitement for the staged "Ocean's 11" heavyweight bout. Big bruiser Lennox Lewis tussled with Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko -- an eleventh-hour fill-in for Mike Tyson.
Tyson was originally scheduled to fake-box with Lewis for the scene, but handlers from both camps, along with "Ocean's" producers, nixed the idea after reconsidering the boxers' somewhat testy relationship.
iegfried & Roy were just two of the local celebrities making cameos in the phony fight scene. The illusionists will appear on camera entering the arena and taking seats right next to Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia, with whom they exchange polite ringside hellos. Wayne Newton will also be spotted in the crowd, along with Danny Gans.
Concerned casting directors lost a little sleep when they couldn't wrangle the 10,000 or so extras needed to make the fight look like the real deal, but that won't be a problem now. Thanks to some Hollywood magic, whatever filler needed in the audience participation department will come from the Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Prince Naseem Hamed bout scheduled for Saturday night. Camera operators will shoot that crowd and the editing room will take care of rest.
The Lennox-Klitschko scene is crucial to the "Ocean's 11" story. It's during the heavyweight fight that the thieving crew, led by George Clooney, attempts a Strip-wide casino heist.
Apr. 4, 2001
LENNOX LEWIS looks a knockout acting opposite Hollywood heavyweights Julia Roberts and George Clooney.The world champ lined up with Oscar-winner Julia and The Perfect Storm heart-throb George on the set of Ocean's Eleven in Las Vegas. Lennox has a cameo role as a heavyweight fighter but had to go through some behind-the-scenes argy-bargy with his ring rival Mike Tyson to get it.
'Baba' has this truly great report about the filming on Steve
Soderbergh's remake which has been utilising the Vegas hotel 'The Bellagio'
for a lot of scenes: Stop here if you don't want to know any of the details.
"This remake of the 1960 rat pack movie has taken over the Bellagio hotel in
Las Vegas, and I have been here to see almost all of the filming. They close
off huge sections at a time, so that has to cost a pretty penny. The
employees have all become extra's and there have been like 500 extra's every
day for the floor scenes. All of the cast has been here filming here, with
different parts of the cast every day. The cast all stays on set, talk to the
big crowds, and are very social. Julia just started filming here yesterday.
Apparently the story of this remake goes that Danny Ocean (Clooney) has been
in prison in New Jersey for three years for fraud. When he gets out, his
wife, Tess Ocean, (Julia Roberts) has divorced him while he was in the big
house, and married the Evil Casino shark, Terry Benidict in (Andy Garcia) in
Garcia plays the owner of the three largest Casino's in Las Vegas. The MGM,
The MIRAGE, and the Bellagio. Apparently, twice a year, all of the money from
his casino's is stored in a giant Vault underneath the ground in a vault that
is connected by tunnels to all three casino's. Clooney want's to rob this
money to bankrupt Bennidict and get Julia Back. They plan to rob the casino's
during a big fight night between Heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis and some
Russian guy (it was originally Mike Tyson, but I heard that he couldn't be
dealt with so the dropped him). While everyone in town is watching the fight
of the century, these 11 guys are lifting 200 million in cash from Garcia.
Brad Pitt has a hair cut like in the movie Seven. He was also in a scene
where he wore a black wig and glasses as he wheeled out Carl Reiner on a
stretcher through the casino. From what the crew says, this will be very much
in the MI2 and Charile's Angels robbery scenes form - lots of very high tech
toys, and lots scenes where timing is everything.
An example is that Matt Damon who is the pick pocket, has to steal the code
key from the one guy who has it, and get into the vault before an hour
because the codes change every hour, then pass a retina scan when only a real
eye will do, then get in a vault that is filled with moving laser beams, that
will trip an alarm. Guards everywhere, and video monitors as well. And
seizmic monitors that pick up a car going over a speed bump 100 feet up.
Stuff like that."
Thanks to Shelby for the story!
| Ocean's Eleven' turns to boxing story line
April 02, 2001
COLUMN: Shooting Stars
In real life, heavyweights Lennox Lewis and Vladimir Klitschko have yet to square off in the ring.
In reel life, however, they'll be trading punches this week -- as part of the action in "Ocean's Eleven."
The pivotal boxing match provides cover for the title crew's caper, a robbery of the MGM Grand, The Mirage and Bellagio. (Treasure Island, which had been reported as a heist target in previous Shooting Stars columns, is not a part of the "Ocean's Eleven" action, according to MGM Mirage officials.)
The movie match will shoot Thursday and Friday at the MGM Grand Garden. On Saturday, moviemakers may take advantage of crowds gathered at the Garden for the "Playing With Fire" bout between Prince Naseem Hamed vs. Marco Antonio Barrera.
Unlike the original "Ocean's Eleven" heist -- in which the Rat Pack robbed five Las Vegas casinos on New Year's Eve --the update's version will be staged against the excitement of the title fight.
Lewis holds the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation titles, while Klitschko is the World Boxing Organization champ.
Before they meet in the movie ring, however, the two champions had their first cinematic encounter last week at a mock pre-fight press conference.
There, they triggered the movie's make-believe implosion of New York-New York in a scene that also featured "Ocean's Eleven" stars Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts, a newly anointed Oscar-winner.
At the shoot, Klitschko also accepted congratulations from "Ocean's Eleven" stars George Clooney and Matt Damon for his March 24 victory over Derrick Jefferson. (Lewis' next fight is scheduled April 21 in South Africa.)
For Ukrainian-born Vladimir, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, and his older brother Vitali -- a fellow heavyweight who plays his corner man in the movie, just as he does in real life -- "Ocean's Eleven" represents a chance to raise their public profile, according to Bernhard Bonte, the brothers' public relations manager.
"They're superstars in Germany and Europe," he says. "But their dream is to become popular in the States."
Doing so in a high-profile movie presents an ideal opportunity, Bonte adds.
"They are both into the movie business -- at least as fans," he notes. And now, as supporting players.
Aside from the boxing match and a scene at an MGM Grand suite, most of this week's "Ocean's Eleven" action is scheduled to center on Bellagio, the movie's main casino locale.
If you'd like to get into the action, "Ocean's Eleven" will hold a final open call for extras who haven't yet registered, from 10 a.m. to noon today at 3155 W. Harmon Ave. Bring a small photo; on-street parking only.
Rich King, extras casting director for "Ocean's Eleven," needs about 2,000 background players -- all older than 18, "because we're going to work into the night" Thursday and Friday at the MGM Grand Garden, he says.
| Tidal wave of Oscars hits 'Ocean's Eleven' cast
Sunday, April 01, 2001
It was Oscar night at the Bellagio, with the dancing fountains playing
second fiddle to a galaxy of stars.
Cast and crew of "Ocean's Eleven" gathered Thursday night in the Bellagio's
Fontana Room to honor its trio of Oscar winners.
Amid oversized ice and chocolate Oscars and tuxedo-clad servers, Julia
Roberts, Steven Soderbergh and Stephen Mirrione took turns at the
microphone, thanking and toasting their colleagues for Sunday's golden
harvest at the Academy Awards.
Roberts won best actress honors for "Erin Brockovich," Soderbergh for
directing "Traffic" and Mirrione for editing "Traffic." All three are
involved in "Ocean's Eleven." Soderbergh missed the Hollywood Oscar soirees
because he had to be back on the set in Las Vegas on Monday morning.
During the party, producer Jerry Weintraub credited Matt Damon with the best
line of the night when he noted that "Ocean's Eleven" went from having one
Oscar winner -- Damon, who shared the best screenwriting award in 1998 with
Ben Affleck for "Good Will Hunting" -- to four overnight.
Roberts wore a long-sleeved jersey featuring Soderbergh's face on the front.
On the back, in rhinestone letters, was the word "melange," the definition
of which is "a mixture of incongruous elements."
About 150 VIPs, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Elliott
Gould and Damon, attended the Bellagio-catered feast of caviar, Peking duck,
lamb, sushi and champagne. The bash raged into the early morning, thanks to
the fact that the cast and crew didn't have to report to work until 4:30
p.m. Friday. Greeting the revelers as they arrived was Olympic no-hit
pitcher Lori Harrigan, decked out in a tux, a switch from her usual Bellagio
| Soderbergh has scant time to savor Oscar conquest !
It might have been the shortest Oscar celebration ever.
Steven Soderbergh, awarded the Best Director Academy Award on Sunday night, was back on the set of "Ocean's Eleven" on Monday.
A belated party was held at the Las Vegas Country Club after wrapping Monday's shooting. Soderbergh, who won for "Traffic" and saw Julia Roberts win Best Actress for "Erin Brockovich," another film directed by Soderbergh, got a rousing ovation from George Clooney, Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould and crew when presented a cake that read "Steven Soderbergh Best Director 2001."
| Feature films take a street-level view of the Strip
Mar. 26, 2001
Most folks cruising the Strip confine their rubbernecking
to the dancing fountains, exploding volcanoes, faux landmarks, pulsating neon signs and other above-ground attractions. "Ocean's Eleven" plans to feature another manhole cover -- this one outside Bellagio, where the all-star caper's shooting inside the casino this week. That is, except for Thursday, when a crew is scheduled to be on the Strip -- literally -- from 6 to 11 a.m.That's when one of the title character's henchmen is expected to emerge from a manhole cover and enter the hotel for a rendezvous with his fellow heistmeisters, who are plotting to rob Bellagio, The Mirage and Treasure Island during a heavyweight title fight.
Leading the "Ocean's Eleven" crew: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) himself, joined by Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck and Scott Caan. Calling the shots: "Traffic's" Steven Soderbergh. During the shoot, about 50 vehicles featured in the production will drive past the camera.
And that camera will be positioned in the street, according to Lt. Curt Williams of the Metropolitan Police Department's special events unit. That means the two right lanes of the southbound Strip in front of Bellagio will be closed to traffic on and off while the sequence is completed, Williams reports. Pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk in front of Bellagio also will be blocked while the camera's rolling.
| MGM Mirage keen to work with 'Ocean's Eleven' team
Las Vegas Review-Journal
The MGM Mirage properties spotlighted in the currently filming "Ocean's Eleven" weren't even a glimmer of glitter when the original 1960 Rat Pack romp hit Las Vegas.
Instead, a much more recent made-in-Vegas opus led "Ocean's Eleven" to such MGM Mirage properties as Bellagio and The Mirage: 1997's "Vegas Vacation."
The fourth comedy featuring the misadventures of the hapless Griswold clan (introduced in "National Lampoon's Vacation") filmed at The Mirage in 1996 -- and marked the first time Jerry Weintraub, who's producing "Ocean's Eleven" with star George Clooney, worked on location at The Mirage.
That experience, in part, convinced MGM Mirage officials that "Ocean's Eleven" would be a natural for their casinos, according to Alan Feldman, vice president of public affairs.
"All of us enjoyed it -- they're good people to work with," Feldman says of the "Vegas Vacation" experience.
Besides, "we were thinking of making a training film on how to rob a casino," Feldman jokes, describing "Ocean's Eleven's" plot -- which involves a daring casino robbery at Bellagio, The Mirage and Treasure Island during a title fight. But seriously, folks, the "Ocean's Eleven" experience holds great appeal for the casinos, Feldman adds. Rather than provide a mere backdrop, the remake offered an opportunity "to become an integral part of the story," he explains.Add the caliber of the cast -- headed by Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle and Julia Roberts -- and double Oscar-nominee Steven Soderbergh as director and "almost immediately it became a question of how can we" become involved "as opposed to why (should we)," Feldman notes.Not that it has been -- or will be -- easy, he acknowledges "This is substantially more ambitious than anything we've ever done," Feldman reports. "It's scheduling, it's logistics. ..." It's things like "shutting down the hotel entrance for a couple of days," creating "a satellite check-in and valet" to accommodate real-life guests, he says Another MGM Mirage property, New York-New York, will receive even rougher treatment -- onscreen, anyway -- when it becomes the Strip's latest implosion victim thanks to the magic of special effects, according to Feldman.
"There was always going to be a scene where they were imploding a casino," he explains, but which casino hadn't been determined -- until New York-New York "just appeared in a script revision." As for this week's "Ocean's Eleven" schedule, production will center on Bellagio, with scenes ranging from the casino floor to the parking garage. The production also is scheduled to shoot a brief drive-away scene at McCarran International Airport's taxi area, according to Lt. Curt Williams of the Metropolitan Police Department's Special Events detail. Upcoming "Ocean's Eleven" scenes include the pivotal boxing match, to be filmed at the MGM Grand Garden. And an open casting call has been set for Thursday to find crowds to fill the arena stands.The production is looking for extras 18 and older. The call will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Silver Star Studios, 5375 S. Procyon Ave. (That's just west of Mandalay Bay.) If you're interested, bring a pen or pencil -- and a small, 3-by-5-inch photo of yourself. For more information, call the extras casting hot line at 392-4999.
| Spies deliver slick script for 'Ocean's Eleven'
March 18, 2001
Lucky for me this isn't Old Vegas. I'd be typing with broken fingers.
Or flirting with a dirt nap in the desert.
With an assist from one of my spies -- it was an inside job -- I got my mitts on the script of "Ocean's Eleven."
Here's what I can tell you ... and I could tell you a lot, but I value my kneecaps, pal.
No. 1, I think it's going to be boffo at the box office. Think "Mission Impossible" of the millennium with wave after wave of star power. No. 2, the New York-New York gets imploded. No. 3, I smell a sequel.
Filming of the remake of the 1960 flick continues this week along the Strip.
Like Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic," the script moves. That's because Soderbergh, my new favorite director (memo to Stevo: the only thing missing in that slick script is a paunchy eye-patched character), is in charge.
The plot has more twists and turns than a contortionist, and there's one of them, too, an Asian guy named Yen. Tons of research about casino security went into the script, and it shows.
George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, who comes out of prison with his eyes on a $150 million prize -- a mega-heist of the Bellagio, MGM Grand and the Mirage. He promises his criminally inclined pals (Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, among others) a million each.
Clooney hates Andy Garcia's character, a tough casino operator who just happens to have something else that Clooney covets -- Julia Roberts, Garcia's girlfriend and Ocean's wife.
Oh yes, about that implosion of New York-New York.
Not to worry. It's just more of Hollywood's digitally-enhanced magic.
V Bar is hoping to capitalize on "Ocean's 11" celebrity power for its long-awaited
The rumor du jour has George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon cutting the ribbon in two weeks at a star-packed hipster fest. (At this point, penciling V Bar's opening fete in my date book has become a weekly ritual. I'll believe this one when I see it.)The Vegas-themed bash will celebrate both the film's cast and the bar's success as the see-and-be-seen place to drink Cosmos in town. Even though Mike Tyson is no longer participating, "Ocean's 11" is still planning to stage a big boxing scene at the MGM's Grand Garden Arena, according to producer Jerry Weintraub. Weintraub told syndicated gossip Cindy Adams that April 6 and 7 will be devoted to filming a phony Lennox Lewis heavyweight championship bout.
| Las Vegas SUN
March 16, 2001
The cast and crew of "Ocean's 11" celebrated their Las Vegas arrival with a party at the House of Blues Foundation Room earlier this week. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle and Elliot Gould crowded the members-only lounge area until the wee hours. If you're kicking yourself (as I certainly am) for missing the hottie convention, don't worry, they said they'd be back soon. This "welcome to Vegas" gathering was supposed to be held at the Bellagio, where most of the cast is staying during filming, but at the last-minute organizers ditched those plans and decided the Foundation Room would be a better spot. Clooney and crew apparently agreed -- the cast partied for a good seven-hour stretch, finally wrapping things up at 3 a.m
|All-star cast of 'Ocean's Eleven' rolls into Sin City ...The tide has finally rolled in. The "Ocean's Eleven" tide, that is.
March 12, 2001
Las Vegas Review-Journal
After hitting hot spots from Atlantic City, N.J., to Palm Springs, Calif.,
the Rat Pack remake's peripatetic cast and crew have landed in Glitter City for an extended stay. Expected to be in town through mid-April, the "Ocean's Eleven" update retains the 1960 original's casino-heist premise, with a few contemporary twists.
The original Danny Ocean -- alias Frank Sinatra -- led a squad of World War II buddies on a New Year's Eve strike on the Sahara, Riviera, Flamingo and the now-closed Sands and Desert Inn.
This time around, Danny Ocean -- alias star George Clooney, who's co-producing with Jerry Weintraub -- leads a hand-picked team of heistmeisters looking to score big by hitting Bellagio, The Mirage and Treasure Island during a heavyweight title fight. (Lennox Lewis and Vladimir Klitschko will play the battling boxers.)
And 2001 Las Vegas looks a lot different than the retro version fans of the original enjoyed.
But there's one thing that hasn't changed, according to Brad Pitt, who plays Dusty Ryan in the remake.
It's the concept of "that `Great Escape' cast" of high-profile players -- including Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Andy Garcia.
Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh -- a double Oscar-nominee for "Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich" who directed Clooney in 1998's "Out of Sight" -- came up with the idea, Pitt notes.
They wondered "why is there not the `Great Escape' cast -- why is there not Chuckie Bronson and Ernest Borgnine and all these guys jumping on and doing a film," Pitt explains during a recent publicity junket for his current release, "The Mexican," another made-in-Vegas romp co-starring Roberts.
The all-star cast may have been a favorite in Hollywood's heyday, but "it's really, really difficult these days," Pitt notes, "because of: one, people's schedules; two, egos; three, deals and money and skyrocketing prices."
And although Pitt expresses surprise "at the people who wouldn't do it or couldn't do it," everything "worked out -- it's an amazing cast."
That amazing cast also includes Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner and Bill Murray, who reportedly reprises one of his classic "Saturday Night Live" characters: quintessential lounge lizard Nick. (All together now: "Star Wars, nothing but Star Waaaars ...")
If you're interested in joining that amazing "Ocean's Eleven" cast as an extra, there's an open casting call Tuesday for background players older than 21, union or nonunion.
The call will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday at 3155 W. Harmon Ave. It's street parking only -- And don't forget to bring a snapshot or other small photograph if you've got one.
As for this week's "Ocean's Eleven" shooting schedule, exteriors range from an overnight shoot near the Four Seasons to a daylight scene outside the Flamingo, according to Lt. Curt Williams of the Metropolitan Police Department's Special Events unit.
Waves of stars hit valley
Behind-the-scenes view of ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ reveals the Steven Soderbergh stamp
The Desert Sun
The Ocean’s Eleven remake that was shot this week in Palm Springs is not a Rat Pack movie.
Not a single cherry bomb was set off during the filming I saw Sunday night. No one ran around in bathrobes and not a single actor smoked or drank Jack Daniels.
Don Cheadle, who played Sammy Davis Jr. in the TV movie, The Rat Pack, was playing chess, for crying out loud. Matt Damon and Carl Reiner were engaged in a serious game of backgammon.
I was invited to watch the filming of Ocean’s Eleven on location at a house at Via Lola and Patencio in the Las Palmas district by the producer, Jerry Weintraub, who lives in Rancho Mirage. It provided a unique opportunity to observe the inner workings of perhaps the most star-studded film of the big-budget motion picture era.
This was Steven Soderbergh’s movie and the director, who is up for two Oscars March 25, was all business. Wearing a black T-shirt and black baseball cap, he’d line up a shot through a lens, put on his glasses and walk around the room, apparently absorbed in thought.
George Clooney kept things loose on the set. He talked with crew about the worst songs ever recorded and even sang one of them to prove his point.
Brad Pitt quietly oozed charisma -- conveying warmth and cordiality with a sparkle in his eyes and a killer movie-star smile. Weintraub, on this night, was the perfect host. He chatted amiably with Clooney and gave a few instructions to his staff, and also explained to his guests what was happening on the set.
I had written a story about Weintraub two years ago that explored his work as a concert promoter associated with people like Col. Tom Parker, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, and as the producer of such films as Nashville and Oh, God.
He apparently liked it because, when I called him at his house about Ocean’s Eleven, he not only volunteered to sneak me onto the set, he suggested a story idea.
He couldn’t allow me to talk to the actors, he said. Soderbergh needed quiet to be able to do this film his way, especially with the deadline for a Screen Actors Guild’s strike looming on July 1. But Weintraub suggested I bring my kids and write about how they reacted to seeing these stars in action.
In addition to Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Reiner and Cheadle, the film features Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac from The Original King of Comedy, Scott Caan from Gone in 60 Seconds, and Ben Affleck’s brother, Casey. All except Roberts and Garcia were gathering in Palm Springs for a scene that was supposed to be the Las Vegas home of a man who was financing the robbery of three Vegas casinos.
Weintraub has been working on this film for five years, but he credited Clooney and Soderbergh for attracting the all-star cast. They all wanted to work for Soderbergh, Weintraub said, and Internet reports said Clooney went to various stars, including Bill Murray, Don Rickles and Mark Wahlberg, and solicited them to do an updated version of the 1960 film titled, Ocean’s 11.
Coolmoviestuff.com quoted Pitt as saying,Soderbergh and Clooney asked the question, ‘Why aren’t there any films like ‘The Great Escape,’ where all these actors like Ernest Borgnine, Chucky Bronson and all these people showed up and had a good time?’ That’s what they attempted to do with this one.
The stars obviously took cuts in their usual salaries because a Weintraub assistant said the budget for the film, due to be released in December, is $91 million.
The original Ocean’s 11 featured an all-star cast for its time including Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. It was about a World War II airborne unit that decides to simultaneously rob the Sahara, Riviera, Desert Inn, Sands and Flamingo casinos. Gannett News Service film critic Jack Garner called it his favorite Frank Sinatra film.
Internet reports say this Ocean’s Eleven is about a group of Gulf War veterans who decide to simultaneously rob the Bellagio, the Mirage and Treasure Island in present-day Las Vegas. But while the heist in the 1960 film was for $11 million on New Year’s Eve, this robbery takes place during a boxing match in which $150 million is available for the taking.
People close to the film say Soderbergh’s version is not so much a remake as a retelling of the original concept. Clooney plays Sinatra’s old character, Danny Ocean, and Roberts plays Angie Dickinson’s character, Ocean’s wife, Tess. But Roberts’ Tess has been expanded to include an extramarital love interest and all of the other characters have different names than their counterparts in Ocean’s 11. Susie Ekins, executive producer with John Hardy, said there is no Sammy Davis Jr. character and Cinescape.com says Cheadle’s character more closely resembles the part Lawford played in the original.
But arguably the most famous scene in the movie, in which the robbers agree to Danny Ocean’s plan by putting their hands one on top of the other on a pool table in the financier’s Las Vegas home, was restaged Thursday without the pool table by the man who created the original scene, Sid Avery.
The house at Via Lola and Patencio was selected, said Weintraub, because they wanted a place that resembled a Las Vegas home that had been lived in since the ’60s.
Jack Liberman, who works for the owners of the house, private art dealers Gordon Locksley and George T. Shea, said the location scouts found it in the book of unique local architecture, Palm Springs Modern. Liberman said the 7,000-square-foot home was built on 1.1 acres of land in 1957 by Quincy Jones.
The estate is surrounded by oleander bushes with dozens of palm trees towering over them. The driveway inside a black iron gate leads to a post-modern overhang with rectangular holes, or perhaps portals, to see the sky. Trees and plant life adorn both sides of the stone walkway to the house.
Weintraub said his crew completely redecorated the interior and pool area to get the look Soderbergh wanted. Paintings of naked women were hung on the stone walls of the compartmentalized living area, and statues were placed around the pool.The scene shot Friday night was the one in which Ocean was explaining the caper to his cohorts at the Las Vegas home of the financier, Reuben Tishkoff, played by Gould.
It was a scene that had to be reshot dozens of times, no matter how good the performances, so Soderbergh could get his master shot and then relight the scene each time for the individual shots of all 11 robbers.
In between shots, stand-ins were placed where the stars were going to be filmed and Soderbergh arranged each shot to his liking. The man who helped launched the American independent filmmaking movement with his sex, lies and videotape in 1989 also is the director of photography of Ocean’s Eleven. He operates the A camera so meticulously, he uses a tape measure to ensure the distance between his camera and subject will get the proper amount of light.The actors find various activities to pass the time between shots. My kids and their friend, 13-year-old Danielle Diner, ask Damon if they can watch him and Reiner play backgammon. Sure, replies Damon, wearing an olive jacket, khaki pants and a horizontally striped shirt. Watch me beat him.
“He beat me two out of three, says Reiner, looking scruffy in what looked like a beige fishing hat. It’s a great game. Get a book and learn it. It’s addictive.My kids were initially intimidated by Damon, whom they had last seen in The Talented Mr. Ripley, but Danielle persuaded them to wander in his direction.
“At first I was kind of scared because ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’? Psycho guy? said my 10-year-old son, Parker. But it turns out he was Talented Mr. Nice Guy.
So were the other stars on the set. When Danielle first saw Clooney standing a few feet away from her, looking drop-dead gorgeous in a black coat and a white, open-collared shirt, she let out a shriek. But Weintraub had coached her so effectively on being quiet on the set, it was just a quiet shriek.
My 12-year-old son, Clay, thought Clooney looked younger in person than he remembered him in films such as The Perfect Storm or the TV show, ER.But he probably just had a black hair-dye job,he conjectured.
Everyone was surprised at how tall Pitt looked. He’s razor thin and was wearing a light-gray outfit to complement his bleached hair. The consensus was he looked almost lanky. But, when he walked by the kids, he made eye contact and gave them a knowing smile. It produced a more indelible memory than he could have produced with a speech.The only sustained conversation with a star was with Gould, the legendary star of M*A*S*H. He saw my kids being chaperoned by their mother and asked her who they were. My wife, Jane, said they were friends of Jerry Weintraub’s and suddenly, they were friends of Gould’s, too.
He was wearing a smoking jacket with gold and satin embroidery, an ascot and oversized glasses. Jane mentioned she had just watched the original Ocean’s 11 on video and she asked if he was going to have some funny lines like the character his part was apparently modeled after.
He turned to my 10-year-old and opened his arms as if to model his outfit. Parker, he said, do you think I look humorous?Bedazzled is how the kids looked. We only had an hour on the set, but it provided enough star power to last the kids a lifetime.
Director, stars film ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ scenes in valley
The Desert Sun
March 11th, 2001
The trucks and trailers are on their way to Las Vegas and the stars have checked out of Merv Griffin’s Resort & Givenchy Spa.
On-location filming in Palm Springs of the remake of the 1960 Frank Sinatra classic, “Ocean’s Eleven,” wrapped Saturday morning after an all-night shoot at a house in the Las Palmas district of Palm Springs. The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh and features some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould.
All but Roberts and Garcia participated in the shoots Thursday and Friday nights. The crew began setting up the shoot last weekend and started filming scenes on Wednesday.
But few people ever saw the stars. Security was extremely tight around the house at Via Lola and Patencio. Even crew members had to meet at a base station off North Palm Canyon Drive and take a shuttle to the house.
A unit publicist said a few more people than usual were seen taking walks in the area, but people generally respected producer Jerry Weintraub’s request for privacy.
Crew members stayed at the Palm Springs Hilton Resort and the cast stayed at the Merv Griffin Resort & Givenchy Spa. But General Manager Heidi Geier also said few people saw the actors.
“They kept to themselves,” she said. “They were really polite to the employees but they were working and they really didn’t have time to spend in the hotel.” The production company occupied 33 rooms at the Merv Griffin Resort and Geier said Clooney and Gould worked out in the spa gym. She said she was just sorry she couldn’t have seen more of them. It was the first production company to stay at her hotel since she assumed her job just before Robert Downey Jr. was arrested on drug charges there.
“This is just an incredible movie with a lot of stars,” she said. “So we felt very fortunate to have them staying here.”
The filming in Las Vegas is expected to be much more high profile. While no extras were used for the Palm Springs scenes, 9,000 are expected to be hired for Las Vegas, where a fight scene is being staged between heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Vladimir Klitschko.
Newspaper reports said Klitschko was a recent replacement for former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
Open Casting Call for Ocean's 11 in Las Vegas
Tuesday, March 13th,2001
10 am - 12 pm.
Casting wishes to see union extras, men and women, 21 and older.
Please bring 3x5 photos and a current SAG card to 3155 W. Harmon
just off Industrial). More info, call the SAG Hotline at 702.737.8818, ext. 4
Clooney makes a stop in LV to promote 'Ocean's Eleven'
Friday, March 09, 2001
Las Vegas Review-Journal
George Clooney, soon to be the brightest light on the Strip, stopped in Las Vegas long enough to issue a fair warning.
Flown in for lunch on a private jet, Clooney and a pack of his "Ocean's Eleven" pals dropped in for a few words at Wednesday's ShoWest showcase luncheon.
"We have to get back to work -- we're out destroying this film in Palm Springs," said Clooney, producer-star of the 1960s remake. "We'll be in Vegas in a couple of days -- and watch us destroy that too."
Clooney and friends hit Las Vegas next week for extended location filming of "Ocean's Eleven"
Since there wasn't enough footage to create a preview of coming attractions, producer Jerry Weintraub introduced the remake's title lineup, including Clooney and cohorts Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle and Scott Caan.
"We got together because our director, Steven Soderbergh, needs a hit -- he's having a tough time," quipped Clooney, referring to Soderbergh's dual Oscar nominations as best director for "Erin Brockovich" (which stars "Ocean's Eleven" cast member Julia Roberts) and "Traffic," which features Cheadle
LAS VEGAS March 8, 2001
ShoWest annually draws over 3,000 theater owners from around the world, and while this year's gathering was dominated by talk of putting new digital projection systems in cinemas, the studios also showed up to tout new films.
Warner Bros. flew in stars like John Travolta, Halle Berry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hilary Swank and Chris Rock to wow theater owners, but by far their biggest surprise was the full cast of the highly anticipated "Ocean's 11" that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
"Ocean's" is a remake of the classic Vegas caper that starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., to name a few of the so-called "rat-pack."
"We just started shooting and quite honestly, we don't know what we're doing," Clooney joked with the audience.
Because they've only recently begun work on "Ocean's" the filmmakers, including director Stephen Soderbergh, did not have time to put together a clip, but Warner had plenty of other films to talk up
Premiere tickets to Ocean's 11 to be auctioned off!
March 7, 2001
Internet World/Community Digital Benefit to be held at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles, CA on Thursday, March 15th at 7 p.m
The Internet World ME (Media and Entertainment) Festival, also part of Internet World Spring 2001, will announce and screen work of the winners of its online film festival (http://www.d2mefest.com) during the benefit, which will honor winners for best short film, animation, commercial and experimental work.
In addition, eBay will host a live auction of many Hollywood-related items, including VIP tickets for the premier of Ocean 11 (starring Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and George Clooney), a walk-on part in Sound of Thunder (starring Pierce Brosnan); and a pair of boxing gloves signed by Will Smith (from his starring role in the film Ali). Tickets to the event can be purchased online for $75 each at http://www.internetworld.com/spring2001/benefit/
| Ocean' Director Bails on Tyson
NY Daily News
March 7, 2001
Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis may someday meet in the ring — but director
Steven Soderbergh says it won't be on the set of his movie "Ocean's Eleven."
The Oscar-nominated filmmaker had at one time hoped to bring the bitter foes
together for a make-believe bout in his remake of the 1960 Rat Pack caper
comedy. Instead, he's pairing Lewis with World Boxing Organization
heavyweight champ Vladimir Klitschko.
Soderbergh, who brilliantly captured America's drug war in "Traffic,"
decided even a pretend Tyson-Lewis fight was too much nitroglycerin to
"My sense was that it would not be a tension-free set," Soderbergh tells us,
"and I believe in a tension-free set."
The heavyweights have been dissing each other savagely while waiting for HBO
(where Lewis has his broadcast deal) and Showtime (where Tyson has his) to
come to terms.
Tyson, who last year played himself in "Black and White," was said to be
keen to join the "Ocean's Eleven" cast, which includes George Clooney, Brad
Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and Bill Murray.
But Soderbergh was apparently more interested in Lewis. "He was someone I
was sort of fixated on," said the director. As for Klitschko, "He's one of
the big contenders, and it's a fight people do want to see."
The Ukrainian-born Klitschko said last May he would "be honored to fight him
The scene, to be shot at Vegas' MGM Grand hotel at the end of this month,
calls for about 9,000 extras.
Will Lewis and Klitschko really go at it? "No," says Soderbergh, "it's a
mock fight. Well, I hope they won't. The sense from the Lewis camp and the
Klitschko camp is that these guys are cool."
All the same, Clooney, who is reprising Frank Sinatra's role as Danny Ocean,
allows: "They might really hit each other. Maybe we should sell tickets."
| Stars, set, extras kept under wraps
February 21, 2001
Fans and TV crews hoping for a glimpse of George Clooney and Brad Pitt at the greyhound track find themselves out of luck. Three days of filming Warner Bros.' Ocean's 11 commenced Tuesday at Derby Lane greyhound track, although movie-stargazers were mostly out of luck. Director Steven Soderbergh and actors George Clooney and Brad Pitt were out of sight most of the day, working inside a circus tent erected in the parking lot. Filming began just after 8 a.m. and continued until the director of Erin Brockovich and Traffic called a halt at 3:15 p.m. Production continues at Derby Lane today and Thursday.
Tuesday's pace slowed only slightly when two members of the Peking Acrobat Co., Li Dian Feng, 17, and Yang Chun Lei, 18, both from California, fell nearly 10 feet while performing for the cameras. They were part of an eight-man troupe working on parallel poles when Feng and Lei collided and fell.
Feb 21, 2001
Actors George Clooney and Matt Damon, major celluloid hunks, left town Monday . . . but not after filming scenes for the old Rat Pack flick "Oceans 11" with hundreds of extras at the CTA Blue Line stop at Grand, Halsted and Milwaukee.* The duo also opted to dispatch their bodyguards and eat with the extras in the mess hall rather than eat alone
Omigosh!...It's almost too much!
Actors George Clooney and Matt Damon were spotted on Thursday drinking at Whiskey Bar & Grill, owned by supermodel Cindy Crawford's hubby, Rande Gerber. Later in the night the pair, in town to shoot scenes for Steven ("Traffic") Soderbergh's latest film, "Oceans Eleven," headed to the Yow Bar at Le Passage with a few female fans in tow.
| City braces for arrival of sexy new Rat Pack
By Bruce Fessier
The Desert Sun
February 18th, 2001
The scene in Atlantic City last week should give a hint of what it will be like in Palm Springs next month when George Clooney’s Rat Pack comes to PS to remake “Ocean’s Eleven.”Rat Pack? It’s hard to call stars like Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Andy Garcia a pack of rats.
But some or all of them will come here March 2-13 when director Steven Soderbergh continues his remake of the film that launched the Rat Pack era.Clooney was shooting at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City on Tuesday and Trump employees were seen squealing with delight as they glimpsed the man who stars as Danny Ocean. Casino gamblers actually looked up from their slot machines when Clooney strode by.
Young women, ranging from teachers to sales clerks, tried to blend in with the extras just to get a little closer to the man who plays the mastermind behind a giant casino heist.Warner Bros. paid extras $75 a day to create crowd scenes in the casino and it was suspected that many of them just wanted to get a close-up view of Clooney.The studio won’t use any extras in PS and word is security around the Las Palmas home they’ve chosen for the shoot will be tight.
| 'Ocean's 11' filming draws gawkers to A.C.
- February 15, 2001 - 8:54 AM
By Vincent Jackson
The mayor showed up to schmooze. Fans struggled from afar to see movie star George Clooney. And the final day of shooting for the remake of "Ocean's 11" in Atlantic City came to a close at the city's famous White House Sub Shop. Mayor James Whalen shook hands with director Steven Soderbergh and congratulated him on his two Oscar nominations for best director.
(Soderbergh made Oscar history Tuesday by becoming the first director in the 73 years of the Academy Awards to have two best director nominations - for "Traffic and "Erin Brockovich" - and two best picture contenders in one year.) Whalen also talked with Clooney about old Atlantic City, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Fans, meanwhile, were kept behind ropes 25 feet from the action at the Bacchus Bar at Caesars Atlantic City. Many tried to get glimpses of Clooney, who was filming scenes with actor/comedian Bernie Mac, by riding up the escalator. Unfortunately, the popular star spent most of the afternoon obscured by crew, equipment and a wall of black cloth put up to muffle the sound of slot machines. Soderbergh appeared at 11:45 a.m., and Clooney showed up a half hour later. At one point, when Clooney moved into the light, the crowd started to wave and yell for his attention. He pretended to jump over the low Bacchus Bar wall towards the spectators. Dot Zimmerman of Philadelphia visited the set Wednesday to see Clooney for a second time. She was one of the lucky ones who got his autograph Tuesday during filming at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.
"At 7:30 a.m., I got on the set. He came at 8 a.m. I had a mouse pad with his photo on it. He wrote 'To Dot, Love George Clooney,'" Zimmerman said. "I told him he made my trip worthwhile, and he said he was glad to do it. He said something like, 'Will you carry this around with you all the time?'" After filming finished at Caesars, cast and crew headed to the White House Sub Shop at Mississippi and Arctic avenues to shoot into Wednesday evening. Peter Nistico, a sub shop sandwich man, said his understanding was that one scene would take place in a booth, and another would have Clooney entering the shop. "Ocean's 11," a big-budget remake of the 1960 movie of the same name starring Frank Sinatra and his friends known as the Rat Pack, also stars Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle and Elliott Gould, but only Clooney and Mac were in Atlantic City for three days of filming. The first day was late Sunday evening outside of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.
Cast and crew leave town today and will hit Chicago, Florida, Las Vegas and Los Angeles before the movie's scheduled finish at the end of May. The Warner Bros. motion picture should be in theaters on Dec. 14th.
| DROPS IN THE 'OCEAN'
There's good reason for all the hush-hush about the scene of "Ocean's Eleven" that was being filmed in Chicago on Saturday and today. George Clooney and Matt Damon are in town for the filming, and the Warner Bros. producers were nervous about fans rushing up to them. Though most of the movie is being shot in Las Vegas, this remake of the flick about a bunch of con-artists is shooting scenes around elevated stations and CTA terminals in Chicago.Also getting a featured part in the movie is local Chicago actor Eddie Jemison, who was last seen in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" in the fall. Jemison went to high school with Steven Soderbergh, the movie's director, whose films "Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich" are up for Academy Awards. When Soderbergh cast the film, he remembered his old pal Jemison and thought he'd be perfect for one of the roles.
| OCEAN'S ELEVEN: THE SCRIPT REVIEW
Daniel Bellury got his hands on a copy of the OCEAN'S ELEVEN script. I have no idea how...
Anyways, he was kind enough to take time from his work at THE FETAL FILM REPORT to provide a little CHUD love, and the results are below.
There's pretty much nothing bad to say about this film. Sure, the original wasn't that great but this cast is UNBEATABLE. Well, here's Dan's take on the script that will most definitely see a few revisions before all is said and done.
"The film market has been run down with tired remakes of once good series’ and movies that do not translate well into a modern setting, or simply fail to capture the essence of what it is trying to repeat. Few remakes have succeeded in the past years, but many have fallen short of the mark. After reading the script, I believe Ocean’s 11 is going to be one of the few that stand out as a crowning achievement, as far as remakes are concerned. In fact it’s going to be awesome as far as films in general are concerned.
It’s smart, it’s fast and it’s fun.
That’s the script in a nutshell. Seriously. Once I started it wasn’t easy to set this script down. At times funny, at times heartbreaking and all the time a witty film that pays its dues to where it came from, but at the same time holds itself on it’s own.
It’s smart, it’s fast and it’s fun. I could stop there, but I won’t. Lucky you.
Let’s start by running through the cast. George Clooney, who first worked with Soderbergh in the exceptional Out of Sight, plays the lead role as Danny Ocean, a career criminal who after being released from prison plans his final heist which will allow him to retire and live happily ever after. The first thing I noticed when reading this script was how much Danny Ocean sounded like Clooney. It’s like the role was tailor made for him, and it works beautifully. Frank Sinatra first personified the role of Danny Ocean in the original Ocean’s 11, but Clooney is has the opportunity and ability to outshine ol’ Blue Eyes this time around.
Brad Pitt takes on the role of Dusty Ryan (in the script it was Rusty, but the name has been changed since that draft), Danny’s right hand man, who was played by Dean Martin in the original. I’m anxious to see how Clooney and Pitt’s onscreen chemistry works out, since they are playing best friends and vying for screen time with each other. After Pitt’s exceptional supporting work in Fight Club and Snatch I’m not worried, but it will be interesting to see how it pans out.
Next up another Soderbergh regular, Julia Roberts plays Danny’s ex-wife Tess Ocean, who Danny is trying to win back without putting her in harms way. She isn’t given much to do for a majority of the film, but she really has the chance to shine in the last quarter of the film.
Matt Damon takes on the character of Linus Zerga, a fast-handed thief who is the outsider of the group. Hand-picked by Ocean himself for the job, Linus isn’t too trustworthy and he’s very suspicious of everyone around him. It’s almost a typical “kid does right in mentor’s eyes” type situation, but totally original with the heist dynamic of the film.
The rest of the cast is remarkable as well. Elliot Gould as Reuben Tishkoff, Bernie Mac as Frank Catton, Don Cheadle as Basher Tarr (in the script Tarr is a British character, I wonder what Soderbergh has in mind for Cheadle in this role?), Alan Arkin as Saul Bloom, and the nemesis of the film Terry Benedict played by Andy Garcia.
The only foreseeable problem with the casting in the film is the Malloy brothers who were originally going to be played by Luke and Owen Wilson. The Wilson boys would have been absolutely perfect for the parts, but sadly they had to drop out due to their commitment with Wes Anderson’s ‘The Royal Tannenbaums,’ and now Casey Affleck and Scott Caan have taken the roles. Not terrible choices mind you (I’m pretty much indifferent to the both of them), but when reading the script it’s hard not to picture the Wilson’s playing these parts.
The story is a tribute to the original, not a photocopy. It’s fresh and it doesn’t follow its predecessor’s footsteps in pacing or story arc. There is somewhat of a twist at the end, but nothing like the original. Also there is much more time spent on the actual heist than in the Rat Pack version, which makes it infinitely more exciting and suspenseful. There is a fantastically written scene in which Clooney is watching the casino while playing a slot machine and singing “Luck Be A Lady” under his breath. That scene encapsulates the film for me, showing respect even though it’s quite a different film.
After Ocean ensembles his team of crooks, old and young they get started on the preparations for the robbery. They are going to rob Terry Benedict’s 3 casinos dry while the biggest boxing match of the year is going on (which is now looking like it could be a staged match of Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis). Funded by Reuben Tishkoff, an old school Las Vegas player who lost his casino to Benedict, and masterminded by Ocean and Ryan, the crew meticulously plans everything down the most minor of details. A significant amount of time is based on setting up the heist and it’s woven together seamlessly.
Then there’s the execution of the plans, which I won’t talk about because that would spoil the movie. But I will say this; it’s an exhilarating ride.
Rolling cameras, not dice
Wednesday, February 14, 2001
The baccarat pit at Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino became a movie set Tuesday as Oscar-nominated director Steven Soderbergh, actor George Clooney, and dozens of behind-the-scenes workers began filming "Ocean's 11," a big-budget remake of the 1960 Rat Pack movie of the same name.
Blackjack tables went quiet, giant lighting standards were erected, and $75-a-day extras waited -- and waited -- for their moments of glory as Soderbergh filmed a scene in which Danny Ocean (Clooney) sat at a table, talking to dealer Frank (comedian Bernie Mac).
Curious fans, kept at bay behind black restraining rope, strained for a glimpse of Clooney, who wore a beige houndstooth blazer and a maroon dress shirt, open at the collar.
"Oh, God, there he is! There he is, right there!" squealed Donna Culp, 44, of Mays Landing. "He's just as handsome as I thought. He's gorgeous."
"Control yourself," said Joe Strucich, 67, of Manasquan, who was standing behind her.
Clooney plays an ex-con who recruits 10 old friends to help him with a casino heist. It also stars Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, and Elliott Gould.
But Clooney is the only star who will be in Atlantic City for two days of location shoots at Trump Plaza, Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino, and the White House Sub Shop.
The crew was at East Jersey State Prison in Woodbridge to film scenes Monday.
Soderbergh, who was nominated as best director Tuesday for "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic," hardly had time to celebrate his Academy Award nominations.
He got word of the nominations at about 8:40 a.m. An impromptu cheer went up from Clooney and the crew of as they prepared to film a blackjack table scene at the casino.
But Soderbergh wasn't in the mood for interviews.
"Sorry, I can't. I've got to eat," he said later, rushing from the closed set during a lunch break. Don't want to talk about your Oscar nominations? "I've gotta' eat!" he said.
At the White House Sub Shop, the waitresses and customers were abuzz about the filming, which will close the sub shop to the public today. "We're very excited," said Phil LaRocca, a 46-year employee who is the White House's unofficial spokesman. "We haven't had a movie filmed here since 1979." That was "Atlantic City," starring Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon.
For 'Ocean's 11' an Oscar day on the A.C. set
By VINCENT JACKSON Staff Writer, (609) 272-7202
Director Steven Soderbergh didn't let his historic day disrupt filming of his remake of "Ocean's 11" Tuesday at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.
At 8:30 a.m., word came that Soderbergh had become the first director since 1938 to be nominated for two best director Academy Awards in the same year. But he already was working in the casino setting up a shot of actor George Clooney entering the casino floor.
The announcement barely interrupted the action. Clooney, who got the information from a crewmember watching television, walked over to Soderbergh with the news he had been nominated as best director for "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic," and shook the director's hand. Soderbergh shook his head in disbelief and, unfazed, went back to work. The crew broke out in applause. Clooney then ran back to the television set and asked those watching how "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic" were doing in other categories.
The news was good again: Both were nominated for best picture. Other "Brockovich" nominations include Julia Roberts for actress, Albert Finney for supporting actor and Susannah Grant for original screenplay. For "Traffic," Benicio Del Toro received a supporting actor nomination, while Stephen Gaghan was nominated for adapted screenplay. Another cheer went up from the crew, and this time the moment was captured by the crew's still photographer and video-camera operator. A few handshakes and high-five's later, Soderbergh and the crew returned to filming the loose re-do of the 1960 Frank Sinatra film "Ocean's 11" under the watchful eye of gawkers, fans and about 250 extras.
The original film featured Sinatra's 'Rat Pack.' Even though it was Soderbergh's big day, Clooney's presence caused most of the commotion. As filming continued uninterrupted from mid-morning to early afternoon, casino workers, customers and people who made the pilgrimage to the Plaza just to see Clooney -dressed in beige jacket, light-brown shirt and dark-brown pants - watched from behind elastic restraints held by stanchions. Kate Blatchford, 21, for instance, drove from Virginia with two of her fellow college seniors at Mary Washington College to see Clooney close up. Each of them clutched a piece of paper hoping for an autograph.
"My parents think I'm looking at a graduate school. He was three feet from us earlier," said Blatchford, who stayed awake with her friends until 5:30 a.m. Tuesday under the misguided notion that Clooney would be filming then. "We watched 'ER' every Thursday and have been friends since freshman year."
The TV show "ER" made Clooney a star. After leaving the show, he made the successful transition to movies, where he has starred in last year's "The Perfect Storm" and 1999's "Three Kings."
Blatchford and friends missed Clooney's first scene at 8 a.m., but got to see him shoot two others between about 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. In the first scene, Clooney arrives at the top of the escalator and walks onto the casino floor. In the second scene, he walks a corridor with Jeopardy and Elvis slot machines on one side and roulette tables on the other. The third scene, shot before the lunch break, Clooney, who plays the title character, Danny Ocean, meets comedian Bernie Mac, playing a blackjack dealer at a table just outside the Plaza's Baccarat pit.
Soderbergh and Clooney interacted frequently during the morning shoot, talking, laughing and smiling. They previously worked together on the 1998 film "Out of Sight," and they have teamed up in a movie production company. Clooney was very personable, saying hello to the spectators who were blocked from getting too close to the action. Soderbergh, who acted as his own cinematographer on "Traffic," was very hands on, getting behind the camera to see how the shots would look. Clooney and Soderbergh also worked with Christian Monroe, 28, of Northfield, who acted as Clooney's stand-in. Unlike others who tried out for roles, Monroe received a phone call from Mike Lemon Casting in Philadelphia wanting to know if he still is the same height, weight and jacket size they had listed. Monroe, who played the role of Ronny, the ice cream man, in the 1999 movie "Girl, Interrupted," wasn't there to socialize, even though he was as close to Clooney and Soderbergh as anyone. He wanted to remain a professional."He (Clooney) said nice to meet you. … He's very nice, very polite. He's approachable," Monroe said. Filming actually began late Sunday with Clooney in an outdoors scene on the Boardwalk near Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. On Monday morning, the cast and crew shot at the state prison in Rahway, Union County. Shooting ends in Atlantic City today at Caesars Atlantic City and the White House Sub Shop on Arctic Avenue. The cast and crew, between 75 to 100 people, will leave town Thursday.
The only notable actors in Atlantic City for "Ocean's 11" are Clooney and Mac, but the film is a star-studded affair that will feature Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, Casey Affleck and Scott Caan. The picture is scheduled to be released on Dec. 7 by Warner Brothers Pictures.
|Caper movie has Clooney stealing the spotlight in A.C.
By Jacqueline L. Urgo
INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
ATLANTIC CITY - On his fifth - no, make that his 15th - trip of the morning down a very long escalator at Trump Plaza, George Clooney delivered the good news yesterday to a member of the production crew shooting a remake of the Sinatra classic Ocean's Eleven at the casino.
Word had just come that the film's director, Steven Soderbergh, had been nominated for Academy Awards for Erin Brockovich and Traffic. Julia Roberts, a costar in Ocean's 11 (the new one uses a numeral), was also nominated for Brockovich, while Clooney, who had picked up a Golden Globe for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, was passed over.
"It's going to be hard to live with that group up there," a smiling Clooney told the crew member and a few extras as he stepped aboard the up-bound escalator so a crew could film him entering the jangling world-within-a-world of the casino.
Over and over again.
That bit of news seemed to be one of the few times during the daylong shoot that attention was diverted from Clooney. Until then, it had been Clooney riding the escalator. Clooney checking his watch. Clooney smiling to himself. Clooney stepping off the escalator. Clooney making a left. And another left. And "Cuuuttt."For all his acclaim, Soderbergh, a slight man in square-framed glasses, seemed to fade into a pack of production people milling about the set, which spread over a large portion of the casino floor.
Soderbergh wasn't talking yesterday, but he released a statement about his nominations.
I'm so happy for everyone associated with both films and so honored to be recognized," he said. "I wish I weren't being so statesmanlike about this, but I'm really having trouble wrapping my mind around it."
Still, it was Clooney the fans had come to see. He is one of a glam-pack of stars - who also include Brad Pitt and Matt Damon - appearing in this tougher, edgier version of the 1960 Frank Sinatra "Rat Pack" film, which also featured Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Angie Dickinson.
Sources close to Soderbergh offered no thoughts on why the director of nontraditional films such as sex, lies and videotape and Out of Sight chose to remake the caper, with Clooney in the lead role as Danny Ocean.After being sprung from prison, Ocean heads to Atlantic City, where he meets an old friend. The two plot to rob several Las Vegas casinos by bringing together the nine other associates.
Cast and crew were to spend two days here, shooting today at Caesars Atlantic City and the iconic White House luncheonette. The film's first day of shooting was Monday at East Rahway Prison.
Warner Bros. has been closemouthed about the cost of the movie, which will also shoot in Las Vegas. The Atlantic City portion brought in 40 cast and crew members and employed 150 extras, many of them local. And yes, the extras you will see as blackjack dealers and cocktail waitresses are the real thing.
During filming yesterday, Clooney was met, and followed, by a chorus of admiring whispers from fans, casino patrons and Trump employees, who were kept at several arm's lengths from the star. He seemed not to notice them, keeping his comments and his eyes focused only on those he knew from the crew.
But the fans were thrilled.
"He's much, much better looking in person than he is in the movies." "Oh, and did you see those eyes?"They were young. They were old. Or somewhere in between.They were the veteran gamblers who clutched their plastic change cups, but looked up from their slot machines as Clooney strode past them.And they were the young women playing hooky from their jobs as teachers, salesclerks, psychologists and hair dressers, who tried to blend into the extras for a glimpse of the hunk they have had on their screens since he played Dr. Doug Ross on NBC's ER. They stood on tiptoes. Tried to sneak past an army of security guards."It's amazing the number of aggressive fans who show up for something like this, who don't want, but say they need, to get close to the star," said Rick Santoro, senior vice president of security for all three of the Trump casino properties in Atlantic City. Santoro, who is used to watching over celebrities, mentioned that he had lent his name and some of his mannerisms to Nicolas Cage's character in Snake Eyes a few years back. But yesterday, he was just doing his job and filling in as an extra. "There are actually people who've called up," he said, "trying to buy Clooney's sheets and linens from us from his hotel suite."
George leaving for Atlantic City
|Cameras get set to roll as 'Ocean's 11' hits A.C.
- February 11, 2001 - 8:40 AM
By VINCENT JACKSON
Staff Writer, (609) 272-7202
ATLANTIC CITY - Two of the hottest talents in Hollywood hit town this week when actor George Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh arrive Monday for the first week of filming a remake of the Frank Sinatra picture "Ocean's 11."
Filming takes place Tuesday at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and Wednesday at Caesars Atlantic City and the White House Sub Shop on Arctic Avenue. The crew of between 75 to 100 people arrives on Monday and leaves Thursday. Clooney won a Golden Globe Award last month for his performance in the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" He also starred in the summer special-effects blockbuster "The Perfect Storm." Soderbergh will find out early Tuesday morning whether he earned an Academy Award nomination for directing "Erin Brockovich" or "Traffic" - films that were major hits in 2000. He already won the best director award for "Traffic" from the National Society of Film Critics. "Ocean's 11" is one of the most star-studded movies to be made by Hollywood in years. Besides Clooney, the cast includes Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Alan Arkin, Don Cheadle and Elliott Gould. The only star other than Clooney who might be here this week, though, is comic Bernie Mac, who also has a role in the picture. Local hosts are delighted by the movie makers' visit, even though it will be short. "We're excited about the opportunity to host 'Ocean's 11,'" said Brian Cahill, Caesars spokesman, said. "We think it's not only a great opportunity for Caesars, but also for Atlantic City and the southern New Jersey region."Clooney will play Danny Ocean, the central character in the film. In the movie, he brings 10 associates together to rob several Las Vegas casinos.
This loose remake also will involve ripping off casinos, but those scenes will be shot in Las Vegas at the Bellagio and possibly other Vegas casinos, the movie publicist said during a phone interview Tuesday from California. "Clooney (his movie character) has just gotten out of prison and heads to Atlantic City for rest and relaxation. He meets … a character that he knows from the past," she said. Most of the "Ocean's 11" work that will be done here will be indoors. The movie will take place in the present, and the city will be portrayed as it currently looks. The first day of filming for the movie was scheduled to start today at the East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, Union County, and continue into Monday before the shoot moves here. More than 900 people showed up at an opening cast call for the movie held here Dec. 12. Extras were hired for roles as big-money losers, blackjack dealers, cocktail waitresses and high rollers. Chuck Miller, the production manager for "Ocean's 11" in this state, said 260 extras will be used for the scene at the Plaza. Eighty of the 260 people will be members of the Screen Actors Guild. The other 180 extras of the 260 people are from southern New Jersey, Philadelphia and elsewhere throughout the region.About 60 Screen Actors Guild members will be involved in the scene at Caesars Atlantic City. The only local actors participating are those who are a part of the union, Miller said Wednesday. The filming here is part of an East Coast to West Coast swing. Shooting will move to Chicago, then Florida. The bulk will be evenly divided between Las Vegas, which starts next month and lasts about a month, and Los Angeles. Filming should be finished by the end of May, the movie's publicist said. The Warner Bros. motion picture is scheduled to be released into movie theaters on Dec. 7.
Suze DiPietro-Stewart, the public relations director for the Trump properties, said the Plaza helped to accommodate the filmmakers by providing them with a production office and housing the production crew at the casino for the past three weeks. Also, the cast will be housed at the Plaza when they arrive.
Cahill became involved with the movie in November after receiving a call from Warner Bros. representatives who wanted a tour of the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, Bally's Park Place, the Wild Wild West Casino and Caesars Atlantic City. They were looking for a dark, intimate lounge and came with cameras in hand to take pictures of lounges and meeting rooms.
Soderbergh made an appearance in the city in early December and selected the Bacchus Bar. The Bacchus Bar's entertainment schedule had to be rearranged to allow for filmmaking. Caesars' entertainment technical crew will help with the sound requirements for filming in the bar and the loading in of equipment. The casino also will provide security, Cahill said.
The original "Ocean's 11" from 1960 starred Sinatra and the rest of his "Rat Pack" - Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and the only surviving member Joey Bishop.
Thousands respond to casting call
Feb 10, 2001 - 10:40 PM
About 7,000 would-be extras filled ParkSide Mall in Pinellas Park on Saturday for a chance to appear in a film with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Alan Arkin.
PINELLAS PARK - With time on their hands and stars in their eyes, aspiring extras answered a Hollywood casting call Saturday, packing the ParkSide Mall from end to end and top to bottom. Several thousand people of all ages and descriptions showed up for a chance to be among the 2,000 or so who will appear in the background scenes to be shot at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg on Feb. 20-22. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Alan Arkin will be the center of attention when director Steven Soderbergh films them during dog races in sequences for ``Ocean's Eleven,'' a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack caper that starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
They were at the front of a line that started forming about 8 a.m., when Mary Fairbairn of St. Petersburg discovered an open door on the upper level and led a batch of early arrivals down to ground zero, an impromptu office near an interior courtyard next to Dillard's department store. By 9:15 a.m., the queue already stretched the length of the mall and started filling the stairways to the second level. Thousands more showed up throughout the morning, taking over the second level and keeping the end of the line outside well into the afternoon. ``I think we've had at least 7,000 people turn out,'' Pinellas County film commissioner Jennifer Parramore said. ``We ran out of forms at about 5,500. Now we're just putting their information on the backs of their photos.''Parramore said she was able to keep a promise that anyone in line at the 4 p.m. cutoff would ``be seen,'' as it's called in the trade. Robert McVay from Clearwater spent five hours in line, beginning outside the mall about 10 a.m. But he doesn't regret the time spent. His company has worked on Soderbergh's films for at least four years, he added - including three previous hits, ``Out of Sight,'' ``Erin Brockovich'' and ``Traffic.'' For this film, each of the extras will work one day, with up to 600 needed each day. They'll earn $75 for a 10-hour day and can get overtime if the shooting schedule goes longer. Lunch also will be provided. ``We're looking for an older crowd in the race track scenes,'' he said. ``But we'll need some younger faces for the circus scene,'' which will be filmed in a tent set up at Derby Lane. Filming for ``Ocean's Eleven'' has already started. ``We've shot one scene,'' Dehring said, ``and we start Sunday in Atlantic City [N.J.]. We'll be in Chicago the day before we come here.'' Dehring told applicants not to feel rejected if they aren't chosen.
On Gandy Boulevard, just West of the Gandy Bridge East of 4th Street. St. Petersburg, FL
| ST. PETERSBURG -- Warner Bros.' action-comedy Ocean's Eleven starring George Clooney will spend two days next month filming at Derby Lane, St. Petersburg/Clearwater film commissioner Jennifer Parramore said Friday.
Details are still being ironed out, but Parramore said it's likely that Clooney and at least one co-star will film scenes at the 76-year-old dog racing track in late February, "around the 20th or 22nd."
Parramore said 2,800 local residents hired as extras also will perform for the cameras. Eight hundred people will be paid scale wages for close-up parts and 2,000 more unpaid extras will be used for crowd scenes.
"We'll be announcing next week the times and places for huge auditions for extras," Parramore said. Auditions are scheduled on Feb. 10. Parramore said a special telephone information line about the project will be announced and go into service next week.
The movie is being filmed by director Steven Soderbergh, currently riding the momentum of two Golden Globe-winning films, Traffic and Erin Brockovich.
Clooney also won a Golden Globe last weekend as best comedy or musical actor for his performance in O Brother, Where Art Thou? His co-stars for Ocean's Eleven include Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Alan Arkin and Don Cheadle. Roberts also won a Golden Globe last weekend for her starring role in Erin Brockovich.
Ocean's Eleven is based on a popular 1960 Rat Pack caper starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. as Army buddies trying to rob several Las Vegas casinos in a single night. Clooney will play Sinatra's role, ringleader Danny Ocean.
Parramore said scenes to be filmed at Derby Lane involve Clooney's character visiting a former crony to persuade him to join the scheme.
"The sequence of events to be filmed here is probably a short time period in the movie," she said.
This marks Derby Lane's second role as a location for a major Hollywood production. In 1990, Morgan Creek Productions filmed scenes for the comedy Coupe De Ville, coincidentally starring Arkin.
The nationwide release date for Ocean's Eleven is currently set for Dec. 14th.
Although he’s got a shiny new Golden Globe for his work in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, George Clooney is not about to rest on his laurels. He'll be toplining and co-producing in Steven Soderbergh's upcoming remake of the 1960 Rat Pack classic Ocean’s Eleven.
The original version featured Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and their other tail-chasing pals as ex-US Army soldiers who commit a series of Las Vegas casino heists on New Year’s Eve. Clooney’s effort should be considerably better than the original, which the actor admits is much worse than many remember it to be.
“We’re not going to be as cool as Frank and Dean and Sammy and Joey Bishop and all of those guys,” Clooney told Empire Online, “but we have a really great script, which is something that was lacking in the original, to be quite honest. That’s one of those movies that everyone would say, ‘Oh, I love that film,’ and I’d say, ‘Really have you seen it?’ Because you just love some of the things in it, and you just love those guys, but some of those things in it…(don’t) quite work as a film.”
For Soderbergh and Clooney, the remake’s top-rate screenplay made all the difference: “The reason we did it is not because we wanted to do a ‘Rat Pack movie’…(Warner Brothers) sent us…this, and Steven called me and said, ‘Have you read it?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘Read it, I know how to do this.’ And Steven’s a snob. He is, he’s a snob. And when he says that, you read something immediately.”
|Add Elliott Gould to the ensemble of ``Ocean's Eleven,''
the Steven Soderbergh-directed remake of the Rat Pack caper film for Warner Bros. andVillage Roadshow PicturesGould got the call to meet with Soderbergh from old pal Jerry Weintraub, who's producing with Soderbergh and George Clooney under their Section Eight banner. Gould, who just wrapped starring with Richard Attenborough in the adaptation of the Spike Milligan novel ``Puckoon,'' will play Ruben Tischkoff, the money guy who finances Danny Ocean's casino heist. Gould's also into his seventh season as Monica and Ross' father on ``Friends.''
SINCE his father Peter Lawford starred in 1960's "Ocean's Eleven" - with fellow Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. - it is only fitting that Chris Lawford will have a role in Steven Soderbergh's remake with George Clooney and Julia Roberts. The director told FoxNews.com's Roger Friedman that he's "finding a place" for Lawford, now on screen in "Thirteen Days" (about his uncles JFK and RFK).
Soderbergh, Clooney scope out A.C. sites for 'Ocean's 11'
January 13, 2001 - 8:59 AM
Movie director Steven Soderbergh, who directed two films in contention for Oscar recognition, "Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich," was in town Thursday with a crew of 24 to work out technical details for filming segments of "Ocean's 11" next month in Atlantic City.
Soderbergh visited filming sites at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Caesars Atlantic City and the White House Sub Shop. He will be back with actor George Clooney, one of the film's stars, on Feb. 13 at Trump Plaza and Feb. 14 at Caesars and the sub shop to film some of the movie's earliest scenes. The film also stars Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon, but only Clooney will be in Atlantic City.
The film is a loose remake of the 1960 picture "Ocean's Eleven," which starred the late Frank Sinatra and the rest of his "Rat Pack."
- By Vincent Jackson
| Deal them in: Atlantic City casino employees seek roles in "Ocean's Eleven" remake
December 12, 2000
By John Curran lasvegassun.com
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Hoping to get lucky, hundreds of starry-eyed casino dealers, cocktail waitresses and actors turned out Tuesday at a casting call for "Ocean's Eleven," a movie to be shot on location here next year.
The movie, a remake of a 1960 film starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., features George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt in a tale about an ex-con planning a casino heist.
More than 400 people will be hired locally for work as extras and minor characters in scenes shot at Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino and the White House Sub Shop.
The heist will be shot in Las Vegas. But director Steven Soderbergh ("Erin Brockovich," "The Limey," "sex, lies and videotape") insisted on location shoots in Atlantic City, according to unit production manager Charles Miller.
"Soderbergh is very particular about authenticity. We could have easily shot in Vegas and pretended it was in Atlantic City, but he wants it to be real," Miller said.
The filming will take place around Feb. 11. Clooney will be the only star shooting scenes in Atlantic City.
Resumes and head shots in hand, the aspiring actors - some newcomers, some veteran extras - flocked to the Atlantic City Convention Center, where casting director Rich King invited 60 at a time into a room for a description of the movie and a primer on the less-than-glamorous work it will require of them.
"It's not real exciting sometimes," King said. "It's a lot of the same thing, over and over again. If the scene shows George getting dealt his cards, you may do it over again 18 times if he flubs his lines."
"It's a long day, and you have to be willing to work. Don't come to me and say, 'I gotta' get home because the baby sitter has to leave,' " King said.
Extras get $75 for the first 10 hours and overtime pay after that, he said. The first 80 hires must be members of the Screen Actors Guild, he said.
There were several of those on hand Tuesday, including Claridge Casino Hotel dealer David Palmieri, 43, who has landed roles as gamblers, dealers, police officers and mob soldiers in "Unbreakable," "Summer of Sam," "Analyze This," and "Rounders," among other films.
The reason so many extras are needed is because some of the scenes take place on the casino floor, and the film's producers want it to be crowded, Miller said.
Soderbergh decided to add a scene at the White House Sub Shop after eating lunch there while scouting potential shooting locations, Miller said. In it, Clooney will carry on a conversation with someone he just met at Caesars.
The sub shop, which opened in 1946, is a local institution frequented by casino headliners and politicians.
"We're going to close all day for them," said sub-maker Phil LaRocca, the White House's unofficial spokesman. "We welcome it. It will be inconvenient, of course, but we know it helps the city."
Some scenes will be shot at a New Jersey prison, but Miller said the arrangements were not final yet, and he would not name which one.
George Clooney coming to Atlantic City
- November 25, 2000 - 8:58 AM
By VINCENT JACKSON
Staff Writer, (609) 272-7202
George Clooney and hot movie director Steven Soderbergh are coming to the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City to film part of their remake of the Frank Sinatra picture "Ocean's Eleven."
Filming for the movie - which stars George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt - begins in February, but "only George Clooney will be filming at the Plaza," said Suze Di Pietro-Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Trump organization. Shooting will take place a minimum of two days to a maximum of two weeks, said David Schoner, production coordinator of the New Jersey Motion Picture and TV Commission. There's a possibility the shooting will involve additional sites in Atlantic City.
The movie's plot revolves around a character named Danny Ocean, played by Clooney, who rounds up 10 associates to rob several casinos. Clooney will serve as the film's star and one of the two producers, according to the Internet movie database.
"Soderbergh decided he wants to start off filming in Atlantic City, and in the story … I believe, Clooney gets out of prison and goes to an Atlantic City casino," said Schoner, who added he doesn't have the script and is trying to get the prison scene filmed in this state also.
Atlantic City will be portrayed in the present in the film. Trump Plaza will not be one of the casinos that will be robbed because the heists take place in Las Vegas where the film also will be shooting, Schoner said.
A unit production manager acting on behalf of the state recently took Soderbergh on a tour of Atlantic City and the casinos, which definitely included all the Trump properties and Harrah's Atlantic City, Schoner said. Soderbergh also ate at the White House Sub Shop on Arctic Avenue, he said.
"Hollywood is definitely talking about this movie," said Schoner, who added the filmmakers liked Trump Plaza the best of all the Atlantic City casinos. "We're really excited. … It's great to have casinos that are so cooperative."
The original "Ocean's Eleven" from 1960 starred Sinatra and the rest of his "Rat Pack" - Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and the only surviving member Joey Bishop - and other cronies like Angie Dickinson and Cesar Romero. "Ocean's Eleven," which was the first "Rat Pack" movie, serves as a document preserving a now lost culture of drinking, smoking and "boys will be boys" machismo that existed at one time in Hollywood and Las Vegas.
Soderbergh said in an interview printed in the December/January issue of Movieline magazine that his film isn't a literal remake of the original.
"I love heist movies, and this `Ocean's Eleven' has been totally rethought. It's basically the premise of the original, but that's it. The script was insanely entertaining, with an amazing heist and great characters. I told (the other producer) Jerry Weintraub, `I want to make it because I want to see it. I'd be the first in line.'"
Big-name Hollywood actors seem to have the same attitude as Soderbergh towards this project. Besides Clooney, Roberts and Pitt, speculation about other actors attached to this movie change almost weekly. Alan Arkin, Don Cheadle and comic Bernie Mac will be in the film, according to the the Dec. 1 issue of Entertainment Weekly. Ewan MacGregor and Sydney Pollack are in negotiations for roles in the picture, according to information found on the Internet.
Clooney's clout as a star and a producer is one of the reasons why this one movie is attracting such weighty talent. He used the popularity that he gained by portraying Dr. Doug Ross on the hit TV show "ER" from 1994 to last year to land starring roles in the movies "The Perfect Storm," Three Kings," "The Peacemaker," "Batman & Robin" and other films.
Soderbergh's reputation also plays a big part as to why the "Ocean's Eleven" remake is attracting so much attention in Hollywood. "Sex, Lies and Videotape," Soderbergh's writing and directing debut in 1989, earned him a screenwriting Oscar nomination. He has been on a hot streak lately. He directed "Out of Sight," which starred Clooney, and was released in 1998, and "The Limey," which was released last year. He directed "Erin Brockovich," for which Roberts is expected to receive a best actress Oscar nomination.
"Traffic," Soderbergh's highly anticipated next movie starring Michael Douglas, is being released on Dec. 27 in New York and Los Angeles and Jan. 12 nationwide.