Matt Damon Talks About ‘Ocean’s’ Trilogy Cast Members: ‘There Was No Ego On Those Sets’

The Ocean’s trilogy is part of a long list of heist movies that have come and gone in Hollywood. What makes the trilogy stand apart from other heist movies is the massive scale of the robberies and the eleven men who pulled it off effortlessly. Even for a group heist movie, having 11, 12 and then 13 popular actors in a single movie was not an easy task for any producer or director.  

In a recent interview with GQ, Matt Damon, one of the eleven members, reflected on the easy-going and light-hearted atmosphere on the set of the movies even as they had several big names on their call list.

Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Andy Garcia promote their film 'Ocean's 11' in London in 2001.
Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Andy Garcia | Dave Benett/Getty Images

The ‘Ocean’s’ movies were very highly choreographed

Even though the movies made the robberies look like simple, uncomplicated tasks that could be easily improvised, Damon revealed they required a lot of planning, organizing, and choreography. 

Having a huge cast onset, juggling all of their stories and characters to go along with the story made it a bigger challenge for Steven Soderbergh, who directed the three movies. While shooting in Las Vegas, Damon asked Soderbergh once if he would try his hand at Black Jack while they were there. 

To which, Damon recalls Soderbergh replying, “I have one big bet, it’s like a hundred million dollar bet and I don’t have time for anything else. This is the only thing I am focused on.”

But this was not the case for the actors, Damon admitted. Instead of working long hours on movies that they were carrying on their shoulders as lead actors, their work was divided. They only had to work two to four days a week.

The cast had a lot of fun filming the movies

For a heist movie, the trilogy was also made as comedies. The movies have humorous banter between the men, cheeky tricks while pulling off heists, and bigger jokes like having Julia Roberts, who plays Tess in the movie, pretend to be Julia Roberts in Ocean’s 12. They made audiences believe that heists were fun if you had the right group of men to accompany you.

At least that was true in the case of the actors in the movie. Damon revealed the actors could barely keep a straight face through funny scenes where they had to appear serious.

“What’s in the movie are the takes where we didn’t fall out laughing because we were pretty unprofessional,” Damon said. “Steven used to complain. He was like the teacher, trying to keep everyone in line.”

“There was no ego on those sets”

With popular names like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, and many more, including Damon, it would have been easy for the actors to maintain an air around them. According to Damon though, it was the opposite.

In fact, Damon said, the person who came in last on the set always got a standing ovation from the other actors. Each actor was called at the same time and for that reason, the one actor who had the misfortune of coming in at the end was greeted with a round of applause.

“Even if you’re two minutes early to set, if you’re the last one, so… the opposite of what you might expect in a situation where ego could get involved,” Damon said. “It just never happened.”

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