Jennifer Lawrence Joining Sandra Bullock’s Female-Centric OCEAN’S ELEVEN?
The Hunger Games and X-Men star Jennifer Lawrence could be the second Academy Award winner to join Sandra Bullock’s female-centric Ocean’s Eleven continuation, a project created by original series star George Clooney, series producer Jerry Weintraub, and filmmaker Steven Soderberg, who directed the past three Ocean’s films. Gary Ross, who previously directed Lawrence in first Hunger Games film, will direct with a script from Little Women writer Olivia Milch.
The Tracking Board reported the news, noting that the global superstar is at the top of the producers’ shortlist. Bullock and Lawrence would be similar to Clooney and Brad Pitt, who headlined the original trilogy of films. The original Ocean’s trilogy, which also featured such major figures as Julia Roberts and Matt Damon, grossed more than $1 billion between 2001 and 2007.
The currently untitled film is said to be a continuation of the Clooney-led franchise, which would follow Bullock as an ex-con (and sister to Danny Ocean). Wrangling together a team of master thieves, Ms. Ocean sets out to steal a necklace from the Met Ball while framing a crooked gallery owner. Her right-hand woman (her very own Dusty) would be played by Lawrence, should the actress board the project. Filming is expected to begin next fall, and the inclusion of both Bullock and Lawrence could attract even more top-tier talent to the production. In addition to an upcoming comedy project with Amy Schumer, Lawrence also has The Dive and an untitled Darren Aronofsky drama on her plate. She recently wrapped filming on Passengers alongside Chris Pratt, and has X-Men: Apocalypse hitting theaters later this month.
One has to wonder why the Ocean’s franchise can’t continue on from where it left off, reuniting Danny Ocean (Clooney), Dusty (Pitt), Tess (Roberts), and Linus (Damon) as they team with Bullock and Lawrence’s characters. Other group members would have to be replaced out of necessity – such as Frank Catton, portrayed by the dearly missed Bernie Mac – but an Ocean’s Fourteen has always seemed like a project worth holding out hope for. Clooney, Pitt, Roberts, and Damon’s starpower has only continued to grow in the decade since the last Ocean’s film, so adding stars like Bullock and Lawrence would only make that project more appealing to both producers and audiences.
Maybe there’s a lack of interest on Roberts’, Pitt’s, and Damon’s ends to return, but the Ocean’s trilogy was fun, sleek, sexy, and smart – and it’s worth revisiting as we knew it, with Danny Ocean and a team of like-minded crooks digging into the pockets of guys even worse than they are. Mixing in both a class of older movie stars (like Clooney, Pitt, Roberts, and Damon, while bringing back favorites like Don Cheadle and Casey Affleck) with a newer generation of stars – like Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Emma Stone, John Boyega, or Oscar Issac – could have birthed a whole new trilogy of Ocean’s films, with the older crew gradually passing the baton to the newer generation.
As it is, the untitled film already faces the kind of hurdles that have long plagued the Ghostbusters reboot: namely sexism and misogyny tossed towards it for replacing a male team with an all female team. While this planned, female-centric Ocean’s project replaces a team of men with a team of women, it wisely continues the universe without totally rebooting it and starting from scratch (Bullock’s character is Danny Ocean’s sister instead of Danielle Ocean, a gender-flipped version of Danny Ocean). At least the opportunity is there for series mainstays Clooney, Pitt, Roberts, and Damon to stop by or become heavily involved in this or future installments, should Bullock’s Ocean’s film prove itself a hit.