Ocean’s mastermind Steven Soderbergh is blueprinting a brand-new heist, Don Cheadle tells Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday. A fourth installment to the godfather of all heist films was unofficially off the table when star Carl Reiner passed away last year, 12 years after fellow highwayman Bernie Mac died from complications from sarcoidosis. Reiner and Mac played seasoned crook Saul Bloom and professional croupier Frank Catton, respectively, alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon in the Ocean’s movies. Soderbergh reportedly changed his tune while working with Cheadle on HBO Max period crime thriller No Sudden Move.
The Avengers: Endgame actor tells EW’s Derek Lawrence the story: “We were talking about it, and then Bernie passed, and very quickly we were like, ‘No, we don’t want to do it.’ But I just did a movie with Steven and he said, ‘I think there may be a way to do it again. I’m thinking about it.’ And it didn’t go much further than that. But I don’t know; I don’t know who all would be in it. I imagine the main group of us would be in. It would be interesting to see.” Cheadle played Cockney weapons specialist Basher Tarr in all three films.
The Ocean’s trilogy revolves around George Clooney’s Danny Ocean, a gentleman thief specializing in multi-million dollar heists. While in prison, he discovers his ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts) is in a relationship with casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Determined to win her back, Ocean enlists his friend and longtime accomplice Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) to assemble a team of criminal experts and arrange a Las Vegas heist where they will be robbing the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos all at the same time. The operation goes well and Ocean manages to get the love of his life back when he tricks Benedict into admitting he would be willing to trade Tess for money. Danny Ocean is shipped off to prison for violating his parole, but is released months later. He reunites with Ryan and Tess.
The ending of Ocean’s Eleven adequately sets up the premise of the sequel, Ocean’s Twelve, where Terry Benedict plots revenge against Ocean’s gang for what happened in the first film. Blackmailed into coughing up the millions they stole, Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan are forced to spend the next three weeks executing multiple heists across Europe. The last Ocean’s, Thirteen, released 14 years ago in 2007, features an entirely new villain in the form of casino mogul Willy Bank (Al Pacino). Bank cripples Ocean’s colleague, Elliott Gould’s Reuben Tishkoff, and the crew decides to sabotage Bank’s newest casino in retaliation.
Steven Soderbergh considered a fourth film shortly after Ocean’s Thirteen, but gave it up following Bernie Mac’s unexpected passing. A third sequel would have reunited the crew, with George Clooney and Brad Pitt leading. But now that an Ocean’s Fourteen may finally be in the cards, in an era of digitized content and online engagement no less, the options are numerous. A fourth movie should presumably involve more tech. Ocean’s 8, a spinoff with Sandra Bullock as Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie, came out in 2018 and featured — for the first time — a hacker. R&B singer Rihanna played Nine Ball. Danny Ocean had electronics and surveillance expert Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison), but it wasn’t quite the same. Besides, technology has evolved greatly since 2000s. A new entry with the main cast should theoretically involve a computer whiz with credentials and skill sets that far outmatch Nine Ball’s.
George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s Ocean’s trilogy is an indirect remake of Lewis Milestone’s Ocean’s 11, which also revolved around casino robberies and an ensemble cast. Five of the Rat Pack’s members — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop — play the central characters. Sinatra’s Danny Ocean was a World War 2 vet. Pitt’s Rusty Ryan is Soderbergh’s own creation. Though the concept is identical, Ocean’s 11 wasn’t as well-liked as Soderbergh’s version. It hit theaters in 1960.