Were you familiar with the three previous Ocean’s films directed by Steven Soderbergh?
Yes, I had seen every one of them – and I had also seen the original 1960 Ocean’s 11 starring Frank Sinatra. I found them all to be endlessly entertaining and incredibly fun. It just seemed like the actors were all having the best time, and so we as an audience were having the best time. I thought if Ocean’s 8 had that kind of magic, we would be in good shape.
Did you work with Gary Ross and co-screenwriter Olivia Milch to shape the character of Tammy, or was it already on the page for you?
What Gary and Olivia did with Tammy was really interesting. Tammy has children and other responsibilities. She was once heavily into this game, and then opted out to raise a family. But when Sandy Bullock as Debbie Ocean approaches Tammy and asks if she’d like back in, the adrenaline rush is just too exciting for Tammy to pass up.
What was the dynamic like once you all did come together on set?
More than one person has asked me if we had any fights, which was shocking to me because I thought, why would that be the first thing people would assume would happen if you put eight women in a room together? Some people were taking bets on who would be the last person out of the trailer and how long everyone was going to take to arrive on set. Actually, we were always ready while they were still lighting on set. We also had a great time in the morning, getting ready together. It was like a real party, but a party with substantive people with great senses of humour. It was like being at the greatest dinner gathering of all time.
As the women plan and execute this incredibly ambitious heist, how does their dynamic evolve?
Debbie knows all of them but the rest are strangers to one another. They have a bit of trepidation, wondering how they’re all going to work together. But it becomes clear, very quickly, that each woman is the best in her field, and all they want to do is pull off this heist. Everyone has the same goal. They become an extraordinary team, and the heist would have been a disaster without each of their contributions. There’s an enormous sense of camaraderie and gratitude, mixed with surprise, that they did this together.
What do you think it is about ambitious heist stories that draw us in and makes us root for the people behind it?
I think Ocean’s 8 is a fantasy. Sometimes you just really need an opportunity to kick back and let yourself be taken on this journey, which makes you forget about your troubles for a while and immerses you in another world where people are having a good time and doing something a little bit dangerous and a little bit naughty, but with a great deal of humor and heart. That’s the extraordinary thing about having a moviegoing experience like this: you can transport yourself somewhere glamorous and fun, and watch a bunch of people work well together.
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