Ocean’s Eight, the upcoming Ocean’s Eleven spinoff, has announced its cast – and it’s a major departure from the original films. Actors Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, and Helena Bonham Carter and musicians Rihanna and Awkwafina join the previously-announced Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett to round out the titular Ocean team. Readers with a particularly good head for mathematics may notice that only seven stars have been announced for Ocean’s Eight and that the eighth team member has yet to be cast. Gary Ross, who as the director of the Hunger Games series is no stranger to directing strong female protagonists, is set to direct.
The estrogen-heavy casting announcement for Ocean’s Eight follows on the heels of the recent all-female Ghostbusters reboot. While Ocean’s Eight will be the first woman-centric Ocean’s film, this isn’t the first time a woman has been part of the Ocean team. Julia Roberts, who played Danny Ocean’s love interest Tess in the first two films, became the titular twelfth team member in Ocean’s Twelve.
The Ocean’s Eight cast, which has been praised for its diversity, is a refreshing mix of newer talent and industry favorites. Kaling is no stranger to comedy, having written and starred in The Office and The Mindy Project. Hathaway and Carter are both more well known for their dramatic roles, although Hathaway first rose to relevancy as the frizzy-haired, super-clumsy Mia Thermopolis in the lighthearted comedy The Princess Diaries.
Both Rihanna and Awkwafina are relatively new to the silver screen, especially compared to Oscar-winning heavy hitters Bullock, Hathaway, and Blanchett. Rihanna has previously acted in Battleship, Annie, Home, and will appear in 2017’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Awkwafina (real name Nora Lum) is better known for her comedic rap career than for her filmography. Awkwafina has appeared in just two films: this summer’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, in which she portrayed a stoner sorority girl, and the upcoming Dude. In a post on Instagram, Awkwafina expressed her excitement about being cast in Ocean’s Eight.
No cast members of the original trilogy have been announced as returning for an appearance in Ocean’s Eight, but it’s certainly a possibility. Ocean’s Eleven director Steven Soderbergh will return to the franchise as a producer, and it would be exciting if he brought along George Clooney to reprise his role of Danny Ocean or Brad Pitt (with his requisite snacks).
While Ocean’s Eight may star a very different cast, it won’t be a complete departure from the source material. In an interview with /Film, director Ross commented that Ocean’s Eight and the original trilogy will have “a pretty similar tone.” Fans can, therefore, expect more of the same lighthearted capers and rapid quips instead of a gritty reboot.
Ocean’s Eight, which was originally named Ocean’s Ocho, is being produced by Warner Bros. and is set to start filming in October of this year, according to Deadline. The release date of Ocean’s Eight has yet to be announced, and the plot and setting of the film are still as of yet unknown.
The names of the characters that the cast will play are also unknown. The title Ocean’s Eight indicates that the team leader will have the last name of Ocean, but whether she will be playing a gender-swapped version of Danny Ocean, a relative of his, or a completely disconnected character who merely happens to have the last name “Ocean” has yet to be revealed.
While many fans are excited for Ocean’s Eight, some critics have attacked the film for a perceived lack of originality. Ocean’s Eight has been criticized for providing more of the same in a movie schedule increasingly packed with reboots and sequels. Scott Timberg of Salon called Ocean’s Eight “more evidence that Hollywood can’t seem to come up with original material that doesn’t come from a comic book or a film from the past.”
Others complained that the “Eight” in Ocean’s Eight meant that the actors were getting the short end of the stick.
They called it #OceansEight because the female cast will be making 72% of what the Ocean's Eleven cast made.
— Mary Kay Griepentrog (@sassmastermk) August 10, 2016
How come the all-lady reboot is only Ocean's Eight? Considering how much less actresses are paid, we could afford at least Ocean's Forty.
— Barbara Kaye Friend (@babsamiga) August 11, 2016
Regardless of whether or not the plot of Ocean’s Eight will be original, it is still an exciting and infrequent occurrence to see a major motion picture with an all-female main cast. After Ocean’s Eight, which franchises would you like to see recast starring women – maybe a James Bond film starring Kate McKinnon, or the next Mission: Impossible starring Kate McKinnon, or even Magic Mike 3 starring Kate McKinnon? Leave a response in the comments.
[Images via Fox/Warner Bros./Universal Pictures]