George Clooney blasted Hollywood actors Johnny Depp and Mark Wahlberg for rejecting roles in “Ocean’s Eleven.”
The 61-year-old actor revealed that both Depp and Wahlberg turned down the role of Linus Caldwell after being approached for the gig. The role ended up going to Matt Damon.
“Some very famous people told us to f— right off. Mark Wahlberg, Johnny Depp. There were others. They regret it now. I regret doing f—ing ‘Batman,’” Clooney said during an interview at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival via Entertainment Weekly.
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“Steven [Soderbergh] had just done ‘Erin Brockovich’ and ‘Traffic,’ and he was nominated for directing both films… So, people really wanted to work with Steven.”
George Clooney, left, says Johnny Depp, center, and Mark Wahlberg told him to “f— right off” when they were offered a role in “Ocean’s Eleven.” (Getty Images)
“Ocean’s Eleven” director Steven Soderbergh joined Clooney in the conversation and added, “That said, some people did say no to us,” before revealing the Hollywood stars.
Clooney revealed that both Depp and Wahlberg turned down the role of Linus Caldwell, which ended up going to Matt Damon. (Getty Images)
However, they did have plenty of A-list talent who said yes. In addition to Damon, the movie also stars Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts and Don Cheadle, among others.
From left, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Andy Garcia appear in London to promote “Ocean’s Eleven.” (Dave Hogan/Mission/Getty Images)
The 2001 release spawned a successful franchise of three more films: “Ocean’s Twelve,” “Ocean’s Thirteen” and “Ocean’s 8.”
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Soderbergh, who has directed other popular movies, including “Magic Mike,” detailed his inspiration for taking on “Ocean’s Eleven.”
Steven Soderbergh, left, and George Clooney attend the screening of “Ocean’s Eleven” during the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival. (Getty Images)
He noted he was interested in combining his “indie, artistic sensibilities” on a larger scale with a massive Hollywood filming budget.
“It felt like the next iteration in my desire to work in the mainstream film business and make movies that could be released in a lot of theaters,” Soderbergh explained.
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“I grew up watching movies made by great filmmakers that were commercially successful, distinctive movies. And I wanted to be part of that tradition.”
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Clooney then added, “It’s also important to understand where we were at the time. The studios were making very big, broad, not very good films at that time. Steven had this idea of trying to infuse all of this independent film stuff that all of these young filmmakers were learning back into the studio system. It was going to get back to the things that they were doing from, like, 1964 to 1975.”