Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy assembled one of the most star-studded ensembles in recent memory, sending a gang of rich and famous people off to a succession of glamorous locations around the world and having them do movie star things like wear expensive clothes, drive fancy cars and trade witty barbs against picturesque backdrops, so it was hardly surprising that the pics veered dangerously close to self-indulgence on occasion.
Of course, Ocean’s Eleven is one of the finest remakes ever, a whip-smart and dazzlingly stylish heist thriller that uses the sheer star wattage of the cast to its advantage, delivering a propulsive slice of massively enjoyable Hollywood entertainment. Unfortunately, however, the follow-up was a major disappointment, and the wheels almost came off entirely during a dismal meta sequence that saw Julia Roberts playing Tess Ocean pretending to be Julia Roberts in order to hoodwink Bruce Willis.
The final product may have been an overly pretentious retread of the first installment, but at least the cast had a great time making it. Notorious prankster George Clooney still frequents the home on Lake Como that he purchased while shooting Ocean’s Twelve, and in a recent interview, he revealed that him and Matt Damon convinced Brad Pitt and Don Cheadle to spend the night in a seemingly haunted house that was nearby while they were there.
“We would do hysterical, idiotic things, like there was a house, we were all staying at my house in Lake Como, and there was a house across the lake, empty. And we made up a story about how haunted it was. So, at like 3 a.m. in the morning we get a ladder and put it on this pontoon boat and Matt and Don and Brad and I took the boat across the water. We took the ladder up and climbed in the house. So, we came down to the conclusion that we’d give $10,000 to any guy who could spend the night in the house with a candle, you got six matches and a bottle of wine.”
“We left Cheadle and Pitt there, and Matt and I came back. We’re sitting in the boat in the middle of the lake. We have to see the candle go by every window. It goes by two or three windows and then we get a call. They’re like, ‘F*ck that, get us out of this house!’. We came back and pulled them out. So there was a lot of idiocy along the way.”
A quartet of A-list actors daring each other to stay in a haunted house is a ridiculous thought, but it just goes to show the camaraderie that existed between the cast, and that easygoing chemistry among a sprawling roster of A-listers was one of the constant highlights of the Ocean’s trilogy, even when the quality of Twelve and Thirteen was a drastic step down from Eleven, with both follow-ups marked by inconsistency.