'Ocean's 8' Director on Why Some Cameos Didn't Make the Cut

'Ocean's 11' stars Matt Damon and Carl Reiner were among those slated to make cameos in the film starring Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, sister to George Clooney's Danny Ocean.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett in 'Ocean's 8'

[This story contains spoilers for Ocean's 8.]

Ocean's 8 was packed with dozens of celebrity cameos, but only two of Danny Ocean's crew made the final cut.

With Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean — the sister to George Clooney's Danny Ocean from the original films — Ocean's 8 began with strong ties to the Ocean's trilogy. Similar to Danny in Ocean's 11, the film opens with con artist Debbie convincing a parole board that she is a changed woman. It's quickly revealed, however, that Danny has died in 2018 (whether he faked his death or not remains a running gag), and when Debbie visits her brother's grave, Ocean's star Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) arrives to warn her against going through with her Met Gala con.

The second Ocean's cameo arrives later in the film when Debbie's partner Lou (Cate Blanchett) recruits the acrobatic Yen (Shaobo Qin) for the second half of their Met jewelry heist. The only cameo Clooney's Danny makes is in a picture.

Originally, Ocean's characters Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) and Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner) were also slated to make cameos. Reiner announced last summer that he filmed a scene with Bullock, while Damon said in several interviews that he was set to film a brief appearance earlier this year. Damon, however, had received backlash over comments he made about Harvey Weinstein and as the #MeToo movement picked up steam, a petition called for the actor's cameo to be nixed from the all-female reboot.

Director Gary Ross, who co-wrote the Warner Bros. film with screenwriter Olivia Milch, said the cameos were cut to fit the story when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter.

"[Picking the cameos] is an eclectic process of: how does it fit in the story and how is the narrative unfolding?" Ross told THR at the film's recent New York City premiere (video, below). "This more than any movie I’ve done had a really copious editorial process where you play with stuff, you find stuff. I’ve never shot anything after I’ve wrapped on any other movie before, but in a heist movie and an ensemble movie, you’re still working on the play. And we did a bunch of that, and so that was satisfying as well."

Bullock and Blanchett top a cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkwafina and Rihanna, along with James Corden.

Speaking specifically to Damon, Ross added, "There were a lot of people who were gracious to us that just for editorial and storytelling reasons didn’t make it in and some who did. If you know, we ended up shooting probably another 10 days afterwards, so there’s a lot of material and a lot of shaping. But it really just comes to storytelling."

Ocean's 8 is now in theaters.