After a period of speculation, it seems that Homeland star Damian Lewis has joined the cast of the upcoming franchise spin off, Ocean’s 8, and will appear as the villain of the piece. With the director of the original Ocean’s trilogy – Steven Soderbergh – on board as producer, the writer-director of this new instalment is Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Pleasantville), with Olivia Milch co-writing.
The project is already shooting in New York City and features an all-star female cast, including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Akwkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter. The character played by Sandra Bullock is essentially the lead, in the same way that George Clooney was the lead in Ocean’s Eleven – while Blanchett plays her ‘deputy’ (equivalent to Brad Pitt in the earlier film).
Damian Lewis is now confirmed to play the former lover of Bullock, and the target of her next heist. We know no more than that, and we also don’t know the circumstances of their relationship, nor why it ended, but we know that this villainous character works in circumstances that can draw the attention of global criminals.
Whether or not the presence of Damian Lewis elevates this project remains to be seen. While many are excited at the prospect of such a comprehensively female action film, it causes some friction given that Hollywood would apparently rather invest in female spinoffs of recognizable male-led franchises, than invest in some wholly un-male, original scripts – which is why we’ve had Ghostbusters, and now Ocean’s 8, and why we can’t have an Ocean’s film without Matt Damon showing up for a brief scene. Regardless, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one for further announcements and revelations.