The cast of the all-female Ocean's Eleven extension was rounded out today with the announcement that Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and Awkwafina would be joining Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett in the heist ensemble. It's a strong cast (four Academy Awards and twelve nominations between them) with enough star power to rival the previous iterations. People will undoubtably complain about Hollywood's fixation on rebooting/remaking/spinning off existing properties, but considering the Clooney and co. Oceans was itself a remake, it's hard to put up too much of a fight.
Produced by 2001's Ocean's Eleven director Stephen Soderbergh and directed by Gary Ross of The Hunger Games, the upcoming film will be a spinoff of a remake. The series originated with Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies and was revived by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and company 15 years ago. It comes on a wave of gender-bending reboots, like this summer's Ghostbusters and the recently announced Splash starring Channing Tatum.
While the film will feature a new story with new characters, it will remain true to the spirit of the Ocean's franchise — every caper needs a team and the roster usually looks familiar. "The Mastermind," "The Tech Expert," "The Inside Man," "Demo and Munitions," are all expected roles that will need to be filled.
Let's speculate as to what team functions these women will fulfill in the new take:
Sandra Bullock is the perfect choice to step into the Danny Ocean-type role of the group's ringleader. She's made a career out of playing commanding, powerful women in charge, yet she has the comedic chops to bring the same charisma to the role that George Clooney did. We can expect to see a hyper-capable Bullock wrangling together a team, planning and developing the heist, and pulling it all off with effortless charm.
Cate Blanchett can truly do anything, so whatever role she ends up fulfilling in the heist she will undoubtably pull off with aplomb. However, it would be great to see her take on the cool, confident right-hand woman to Bullock, like the Brad Pitt character in the Ocean's trilogy. It's easy to picture Blanchett handling the logistics needed to implement Bullock's big plan and accessing her vast network of contacts, all while remaining nonplussed and bemused. Not to mention, seeing Bullock and Blanchett establish a similar chemistry and banter as Clooney and Pitt would undoubtably be entertaining. Cate as a debonair, devil-may-care conwoman helping architect the heist would be a great fit, and especially fun if she adopted fun disguises, as Pitt did in his iteration of the role.
With a high-profile turn as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, Hathaway already has the cat burglar act down. We should definitely see her scaling things and sneaking and slinking around in Ocean's Eight. But throw in a little bit of Matt Damon's sweet and naive pickpocket from Ocean's Eleven as a jumping-off point for Hathaway's character and she could act as the fresh and eager foil to some of the more experienced crew members, while still impressing as an accomplished thief. It'd be great to see her using her sincerity and zany charm to distract people while she proceeds to steal from them.
Maybe it's "Shut Up and Drive," but something about Rihanna as the driver-mechanic feels like a perfect fit. Maintaining her cool swagger in some Fast and the Furious-style car chase scenes would be awesome. However, it's also easy to picture her in a harness being lowered into a high-security area or expertly dodging a laser grid, so perhaps she'll be the infiltrator instead. With less acting exposure than most of the cast, choosing a role for her is based more on feeling and aesthetics, but whatever part she plays in the heist, she will undoubtably do it excellently and unapologetically.
Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter is a fun wild card in the cast who could go in a lot of different directions, perhaps something like the wealthy and eccentric financier of the heist. Truly though, the best choice is something that would put Bonham Cater undercover — seeing her assume different identities to infiltrate or distract would be perfect. It's easy to imagine her as a gleeful Saul Bloom— experienced in the industry and skilled at posing as other people— but a Bonham Carter character would be getting a kick out of it the whole time.
Mindy Kaling is an unexpected choice, as she's known entirely for sitcom work, but her addition to the cast is a great way to bring something different and bright into the film. Even though she could play against type, it would be even better if her character was like the other bubbly, outspoken women Kaling typically plays—except that she's also the munitions expert. It would be so fun to see her play effervescent, feminine, and borderline vapid, but with a vast knowledge of and enthusiasm for demolition and explosives. Imagine Kelly Kapoor describing how to use a high-powered drill and tell me you wouldn't love to see that.
By far the freshest face in the cast, rapper-comedian Awkwafina has appeared in Girl Code on MTV and recently in Neighbors 2. Knowing relatively little about her, we can look forward to her surprising us in her role, which will presumably be comedic. Being young and talkative, it would be fun to see her babbling unfiltered into everyone's ears as the tech coordinator and hacker, a la Arrow's Felicity. She might fulfill the comedic-relief role the Malloy brothers brought to the earlier trilogy.
As you may have noticed, the film is titled Ocean's Eight, and there have only been seven cast members announced. The Daily Dot claims that the final spot may go to Elizabeth Banks, another funny and versatile lady. An alternative, and potentially fun way to tie-in to the previous trilogy if they wanted to do so, would be to involve Julia Robert's Tess Ocean. Though adverse to her ex-husband's conning ways, Tess managed to get swept up in multiple heists regardless. Her career as a curator would make her the perfect person to be on the inside.
Check out how this cast stack up against other badass chicks in pop culture in the Movie Pilot original video below: