About The Production
In three and a half weeks, The Met will be hosting
its annual ball...and we are going to rob it.
It's been more than 10 years since an Ocean-led crew has conned their way to
dollars. Now a new gang is banding together to carry out the ultimate heist. But
this time, it's
Debbie Ocean masterminding the plan, and she'll only require eight supremely
skilled women to
pull it off.
Director/screenwriter Gary Ross says, "The outlaw trope has always been at
the heart of
American movies, but with few exceptions, those 'outlaws' have been men. I was
the idea of a group of kickass women laying claim to this genre that had always
seemed off limits.
Plus, I love heist movies-always have."
Sandra Bullock offers, "This is a heist movie, and heist movies are always
fun. How will
they get away with whatever they are stealing and what antics will happen along
the way? But
what this movie is really about is these eight wonderfully complex, smart, funny
women, who are
going to take you on their own journey, and all the twists and turns that
Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, who has spent a little over five years
devising an intricate
plot to steal the Toussaint, Cartier's one-of-a-kind diamond necklace, valued at
150 million dollars.
And she plans to do it in the midst of one of the most-watched events of the
year: The Met Gala.
Ross had originally conceived the idea for a new entry in the "Ocean's"
franchise five years
ago and brought it to the director of the "Ocean's" trilogy, Steven Soderbergh.
"Steven is a close friend and we've 'unofficially' collaborated on a number
of projects over
the years," notes Ross. "If he hadn't been involved, I don't think I would have
done it. It was great
Soderbergh says that he was excited about the concept, as well as Ross's
for the lead. "Gary came to me and said, 'What about Sandy as Danny's sister?' I
was really interesting, so I said, 'Let's take it to Jerry [Weintraub].' And
Jerry thought it was a
In fact, it was Weintraub who first reached out to Bullock. "There wasn't
even a script yet,
but Jerry's energy, his joy and his passion for this franchise were very
infectious," the actress
Though he had not written with a collaborator since his first screenplay,
"Big," Ross knew
this was different. He reached out to co-screenwriter, Olivia Milch, to pen the
script with him. "It
ended up being a great partnership," he remarks.
"Gary understood how necessary it was to have a female voice involved in this
says Milch, "and I was thrilled to be a part of it. Also, the breezy coolness of
that back and forth patter-we kind of found that same thing side by side at the
Soderbergh comments, "I think Gary and Olivia found that balance of having
the film share
the DNA of the 'Ocean's' franchise, and yet, at the same time, be its own unique
Sadly, legendary producer Jerry Weintraub passed away before he could see the
come to fruition. "It was difficult to imagine an 'Ocean's' film without Jerry
at the helm as a
producer," Soderbergh states. "Jerry wasn't just a producer; he was a
Weintraub's longtime collaborator Susan Ekins, who had served as an executive
on the previous "Ocean's" films, came on board as a producer. Soderbergh shares,
"Gary and I
went to her and said, 'You were part of the brain trust of the first three, so
we would love for you
to take a more central role here.'"
Ekins was happy to return to the franchise that has been an important part of
her life and
career, spanning almost two decades. "From 'Ocean's Eleven,' in 2001, through
and 'Ocean's Thirteen,' I had the pleasure of working with Jerry Weintraub and
Soderbergh, both brilliant filmmakers. And now I get to continue that legacy
with Steven and
Gary. I think what makes these films appealing to such a wide audience is the
notion of getting
away with something and having fun doing it."
In the tradition of the "Ocean's" films, each member of the team brings her
to the table. Joining Bullock as the title eight are Cate Blanchett, Anne
Hathaway, Mindy Kaling,
Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter.
Ross offers, "I wasn't just casting individual roles; I was putting together
a band who all
had to sound great together. It was exciting from the beginning."
The opportunity to work with one another became a major draw for the
Blanchett confirms, "When Gary and Steven started talking about the cast they
that was the absolute 'why' for me. It really is an amazing group of women, and
it was just great
to play with them."
Hathaway says, "Making a movie is a certain kind of shared experience, but
when it's you
plus seven other women, there is so much more common ground to start with. That
effortlessness in working together that made it so much fun."
"That spirit of collaboration extended throughout the entire production,"
says Ross. "On
set, there was this alchemy taking place between these eight tremendously
Sometimes I would just take a step back and watch it all happen."
"Some writers don't like you to improv, but Gary welcomed our input,"
"As a director, he wanted to make everyone feel like they were giving their best
think he did a great job."
"Gary brought a writer's sensibility to the whole process, and Olivia Milch
was really fluid
in responding," Blanchett adds. "They were constantly shifting things up, which
lent a lot of
buoyancy on set. One thing this film has in common with the others is that
there's always a twist
inside the twist inside the twist. But he used that in a very witty way, so it
Changing things up in a different way, "Ocean's 8" takes the action out of
the Las Vegas
casinos, moving it to New York and into the city's most coveted event, the
Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as The Met Gala. The
unprecedented access to The Met, filming there for 10 days-longer than any other
Ross says, "If we hadn't shot at The Met, I think it would have been almost
impossible to do this.
But the fact that we were able to get in there was a huge advantage."
Cartier was also an invaluable partner-creating a specifically modified
version of the
stunning Toussaint necklace, which plays an important role in the film as the
objective of the entire
scheme. "The Toussaint is one of the largest necklaces in their collection,
sitting in their vault,"
says executive producer Diana Alvarez. "It was really important that it feel
real...be real. The
people at Cartier were incredible consultants and their expertise was a huge
help to us. And they
allowed us to shoot at the Cartier Mansion. To be able to go into their world
and put it on screen
was a big deal."
"Ocean's 8" was filmed entirely on location in New York, and, Soderbergh
says, "Gary did
a terrific job capturing the life of the city. I can't imagine a better place to
set the film; if you could
pick any city in the world to do the fourth 'Ocean's' film, I think this was the
perfect call. And add
in seeing these eight remarkable women, all in the same frame at the same time...
Right out of
the gate, it's exciting."
Debbie Ocean has had nothing but time on her hands for more than five years.
made good use of it. Sandra Bullock explains, "She's had a lot of time to think
and to perfect her
plan and comes out of jail ready to execute it."
Bullock says that, like her brother, Danny, "Debbie is the mastermind. She
talent and knows how to put the best team together and then let them do their
job. It's in her
blood; she's a thief from a family of thieves. It's what she loves and it's what
she's good at. For
Debbie, it's the thrill of the steal and seeing if you can get away with it.
This time, she intends to
steal something in a very public place, surrounded by hundreds of people, being
eyed by many
cameras. It makes you wonder why of all things she'd want to do this when she
just got out of
prison. You're basically asking to get thrown back in jail."
"Sandy has an effortless cool about her," says Ross. "But more than anything,
she is a
really good actress who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her."
Milch agrees. "There is something so potent about her presence, a confidence
radiates from her. This is a person who is in control, and that was perfect for
The first person with whom Debbie connects is her old partner in crime, Lou.
to coax Lou back into that world," Bullock relates. "She wastes no time, going
right in with her
plan, and has to somehow convince Lou that what she's come up with is good
enough to risk the
life that she has built while Debbie was incarcerated."
Cate Blanchett, who plays Lou, says, "Debbie needs a sure hand, someone she
on, and they've got a long history together. Lou's gone straight...or straight-ish...running
nightclub. She is doing okay, but it's not particularly exciting. I think that's
why she decides to
jump back in with Debbie-for the ridiculous, danger-filled adrenaline of it all.
She's doing fine,
but it's not exciting and she's not with her peeps."
Soderbergh remarks, "There are simply no limits to what Cate can do; she has
phenomenal range. She can say more with a glance than with an entire page of
was ideal for Lou."
"There is no one quite like Cate," adds Ross. "You see her assemble a
by piece, latching onto these details that catch her eye as she builds them into
a whole person.
It's a thrill to witness."
The target of their scheme is The Met Gala, but they won't be taking cash.
plan to steal the Toussaint: a unique diamond necklace so valuable it stays
locked away in an
impenetrable vault in the bowels of the Cartier mansion. The key is to convince
Cartier to let it
out of the vault. And the only way to do that is to put it around the neck of
this year's designated
Gala Chair: current "It girl," Daphne Kluger.
Cast in the role, Anne Hathaway reveals that she first heard about the film
from an unusual
source. "A maĆ®tre d' at a restaurant told me that Sandra Bullock was doing a new
with a female cast, and I remember thinking, 'That sounds like the best job
ever,' because I loved
the earlier movies. And then Gary called me and said, 'I have a diva for you to
"It was so much fun becoming someone who occupies a world I know so well, but
isn't anything like me," she laughs. "Daphne is a bit wild and over-the-top...and
she's a lot smarter
than people realize."
"Annie embraced her role with so much force and gusto and delivered such a
performance in terms of how far she was willing to go," says Ross. "She is an
as well as a talented actress. We had a terrific time."
Hathaway shares, "Gary and I have been wanting to work together for a long
time and it
was wonderful creating this character with him."
In order to get the necklace on Daphne, Debbie and Lou will need to recruit a
fashion designer and then manipulate the starlet into choosing said designer to
create her Met
Helena Bonham Carter takes on the role of Rose Weil. Once sought out by the
famous, Rose has recently fallen on hard times. When we meet her, "Rose is in
Bonham Carter observes. "Her business has hit the skids and she owes millions.
desperately needs money and they need a fashion designer, so maybe they can
benefit from one
The actress says that she was drawn to the script because "I always try to do
haven't done, and I'd never done a heist movie. And I've never been in a film
with eight women
leads and it's about time. I think it's a bit of a benchmark in giving so many
women parts that
were traditionally male. That was a bonus, but I also thought it would be fun."
"Helena is the queen," Bullock states with pure admiration. "I have never met
unique and sweet human being. And you never know where she's going to go in a
scene; it could
be written a certain way and then...there goes Helena. She forced us to stay light
on our feet."
In fact, Bonham Carter decided to give Rose an Irish accent even though, she
acknowledges, "There's absolutely no reason why she is Irish, plot-wise. But I
thought it would
make her more 'away with the fairies,' as if I need any help with that," she
There was, however, one thing for which Bonham Carter did request help:
know what to do with a needle and thread. She spent days in the costume
sewing lessons and learning how to drape properly. "Even if Rose is no longer at
the top of her
game, she is actually a skilled designer," she explains, "so I wanted to look as
if I could make a
frock. That's the gift of doing what I do-you get to see the world through
another person's eyes.
As Rose, it was through a designer's eyes, which was a completely different
experience for me."
For a scam involving jewelry, the team needs a jeweler, and Debbie knows just
contact. Mindy Kaling plays Amita, who, she says, "lives with her mom but is
right on the cusp of
rebellion. She's had some experience doing illicit business with Debbie, so when
she shows up,
Amita thinks it's gonna be another low-level scheme...but it turns out to be much
bigger. I think
Amita is dying to be bad; she's been on good behavior her entire life and is
eager to unleash her
"I have been a fan of Mindy Kaling forever," Ross says. "If you've seen her
know what a consummate artist she is. She comes up with the littlest things that
you don't even
realize how brilliant they are until you get into the cutting room."
The admiration is mutual. Kaling affirms, "The best thing for me about
working with Gary
is that he has written some of my favorite movies of all time, like 'Big' and
'Dave' and 'Seabiscuit,'
which, of course, he also directed. As a multi-hyphenate myself, I love that he
is a writer-director.
I always feel like a writer first, so the fact that he wrote this script and was
bringing his vision to
life was exciting to me."
Converting diamonds into cash requires an expert fence, so Debbie takes a
trip to suburbia
to track down another former compatriot, Tammy, who has ostensibly traded the
black market for
the supermarket. She looks for all the world like a typical wife and mom...unless
you look in her
garage, full of stolen merchandise.
Cast in the role, Sarah Paulson adds, "Tammy has mostly, but not entirely,
gotten out of
the game, and then along comes her old friend Debbie Ocean to pull her back in
with the promise
of their biggest score ever. I think there is something very thrilling to Tammy
about being a mom
but having this secret life. And she's super happy to be out of the house."
"Sarah Paulson's range is just stunning," remarks Ross. "Every take is
take is imaginative; every take has its own interpretation, so if you're not
careful, you can mess
up your day because you don't want to stop playing. My AD would be looking at me
like, 'I know
you're having fun with Sarah, but it's really time to move on,'" he laughs.
It is Lou who finds the last two members of the crew, beginning with "one of
hackers on the east coast"-their only hope of cracking The Met's
system. Global superstar Rihanna joins the cast as the dreadlocked computer whiz
who goes by
the moniker Nine Ball.
"I met Rihanna after a concert one night in Sweden and we began talking about
potential for this character-to lean into where she came from and make her
Ross reveals. "We both got excited by that. I loved every minute with her on
set. She is such an
incredibly kind, lovely, enthusiastic, person and wonderful in the movie; she
lights up the world
around her. We just had a blast."
Lou takes Debbie to Queens, to see firsthand a young street hustler named
A deft pickpocket whose hands are quicker than the eye, Constance is played by
Awkwafina, whose given name is Nora Lum.
The actress was already well-known to screenwriter Olivia Milch, having
Milch's directorial debut film, "Dude." Ross recalls, "I saw Olivia's movie and
was extraordinary. I instantly knew I wanted her for 'Ocean's 8,' and she's
fantastic in the movie."
Awkwafina notes, "They find Constance in Elmhurst, a neighborhood close to
where I grew
up. She's playing three-card Monte, which is a typical New York scam. She is New
York to the
bone and I am, too. That's one reason I feel a connection to her-I am
minus all the pick-pocketing and stealing. But she's definitely true to me."
To prep for the role, she says, "I learned some sleight-of-hand magic, which
awesome. But working with these amazing actresses that I've worshipped was the
experience. I feel extremely blessed."
Her sentiment was shared by her castmates. Bullock attests, "There were eight
of us and
not one of us was like the others. But the fact that we were so diverse wasn't a
we shared a common goal to support one another and make sure we all had what we
really appreciated that camaraderie."
"It's hard to pinpoint," Blanchett adds. "There were a lot of laughs. It's
great to be in a
room with women who are able to laugh at themselves."
The main cast of "Ocean's 8" also includes two notable actors, each playing a
foil for the
women in different ways.
Richard Armitage joins the cast as Claude Becker, an art gallery curator who
unwitting player in the game. In truth, "Debbie and Claude have some history
Armitage discloses. "So when she shows up in his gallery it's a shock, as if the
floor opens up
beneath him. Debbie is a blast from the past, a part of his life that didn't end
well. But she still
takes his breath away...like a punch to the gut."
James Corden plays insurance investigator John Frazier, who is all too
familiar with the
name Ocean. "He has a history with the whole Ocean family, with them being a
sort of constant
thorn in his side," Corden says. "He knows this priceless necklace was targeted
at an event where
Debbie was present and immediately puts two and two together. But then it's a
question of coming
up with the right number. Ultimately, he's not a cop; he's not really interested
in any possible
crime. He just cares whether his company will have to pay out the money."
Asked how he came to be in the movie, Corden responds with trademark humor.
the studio called and said they were making this film and were worried that it
didn't have any star
power in it. They needed a big name... No, I'm a huge fan of the 'Ocean's' movies.
When I read
it and realized who the director was, I thought it would be a lovely thing to be
a part of. I was just
happy to be in the orbit of actresses for whom I have so much admiration and
The object of the heist in "Ocean's 8" is the Toussaint, created by Cartier,
filmmakers went directly to the world-renowned Paris-based jeweler to create a
necklace worthy of the five-plus years that Debbie Ocean spent planning to steal
For generations, Cartier has created some of the world's most elegant and
jewels. It also has a long history in cinema, including such iconic films as
Blondes," "Some Like It Hot," "Sunset Boulevard" and "High Society."
Pierre Rainero, Cartier's Image, Style, and Heritage Director, shares that
requirements for the story's diamond necklace were twofold. "It had to be a
importance, in terms of carats, and have a historic touch. We immediately
thought of one of the
most significant diamond necklaces in our history."
The original was designed in 1931 by Jacques Cartier for the Maharaja of
described as "the finest cascade of colored diamonds in the world." The jewels
no longer exist;
however, Cartier preserved in its archives a design sketch and photographs of
the piece. The
sketch was used as the primary reference for the realization of the film's
Toussaint, named in
honor of Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier's Creative Director from 1933 to 1970. Susan
comments, "Jeanne dramatically impacted jewelry designs during those decades.
was a strong and respected woman, and I think the Toussaint necklace in 'Ocean's
8' is a fitting
tribute to her."
Rather than create an exact copy, Cartier used the art deco masterpiece as an
For this very special order, Cartier mobilized the resources of its High Jewelry
on rue de la Paix in Paris. The best jewelers were required to accomplish this
feat on an
accelerated timeline to fit the movie's production schedule. "Normally, for a
special order of such
importance, the minimum would be eight months," Rainero asserts. "We actually
necklace in eight weeks."
For the film-in which the Toussaint is comprised of flawless, colorless
jewelers used zirconium oxides, mounted in white gold. Meticulous attention was
paid to the
finishing of the settings, as close-ups-and Cartier's exacting standards-would
not allow for any
imperfection. Even as a re-creation, the Toussaint meets the Cartier High
in terms of craftsmanship and excellence.
In order to be worn by Anne Hathaway, as Daphne Kluger, the necklace was
approximately 20%, as the original had been crafted for a man. When the actress
put it on for
the first time in New York, the Toussaint fit her perfectly. "They did a
beautiful job," Hathaway
says. "I honestly didn't fully appreciate how special the necklace was until I
saw a shot of me
walking up the stairs and caught the way it sparkled. I suddenly understood that
it was a very big
deal, which is the magic of movies."
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