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About The Production
Director Steven Soderbergh says that he hadn't even completed work on "Ocean's Twelve” when he began thinking about ideas for "Ocean's Thirteen.” "We were just finishing the second film, and I thought it would be fun to go back to Las Vegas for the next one. In large part, the film was motivated by everyone wanting to work together again. But it was always with the understanding that it had to be ‘all in' or we were not doing it—everybody comes back or nobody comes back.”

Producer Jerry Weintraub adds, "In the six years since we did the first film, people's lives have changed. Not only are these actors all in demand, they have families and babies and new interests that had to be taken into consideration. The truth is, you can't get this large a production together unless everybody is willing to throw his hat into the ring. I also gave them fair warning. I called everyone 18 months before and said, ‘We're making this picture in the summer of 2006. Get ready; we're coming at you.' And once I told them that, they knew it would happen.”

Weintraub adds that the term "everyone” applied not only to the film's cast but to the man at the helm. "For me, as a producer, there's Steven Soderbergh and then there's everybody else. In everything we have done together, we have a wonderful partnership. Any accolade that can be said about the guy, he lives up to. He is simply great.”

Aligning the schedules of a cast that included the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, et al, involved an operation worthy of Danny Ocean himself. But the man who plays Danny Ocean knows to whom the credit belongs. "The truth is that Steven is the creative force of these movies, but Jerry Weintraub is the heart and soul of the ‘Ocean's' films, period,” Clooney states. "You have to keep in mind that getting all these guys together isn't easy—not that we don't want to, but it's very hard to pull everybody's schedules together because we've all got different gigs. To find one period of time when everyone is available is tricky, and only Jerry could make it happen. He understands how to do it…he uses guilt,” the actor teases.

Upping the ante of an already stellar ensemble, Soderbergh and Weintraub cast Al Pacino as Willy Bank, the unscrupulously ruthless casino owner who swindles Elliott Gould's character, Reuben Tishkoff, out of his share of a new Las Vegas casino; and Ellen Barkin as his right-hand woman, Abigail Sponder.

Much like the actors who play them, Danny Ocean's gang had gone their separate ways after their last heist. But if there is one thing that would always have the power to bring them together again, it is saving one of their own. "I have always embraced the idea that these guys are thieves and con men,” Soderbergh acknowledges, "but they're not entirely driven by money. Certainly, in this case, they are driven by friendship and revenge. The ‘all for one and one for all' ethos dictates that when one of them is betrayed—especially in the way that their friend Reuben was betrayed—it's payback time. It seemed like a strong premise.”

The filmmakers knew that, beyond the elements of friendship and the desire to work together again, a primary factor in reassembling their cast would be the script. To craft the screenplay for "Ocean's Thirteen,” they ultimately chose the writing team of Brian Koppelman & David Levien, who had previously delved into the milieu of inveterate gamblers in the poker drama "Rounders.”

"Brian and David had written ‘Rounders,' a drama about friendship and poker that I loved,” Weintraub says. "I spoke to Steven about them, and when we all met, Steven and I knew they were the guys to write this movie.”

Soderbergh offers, "I knew who Brian and David were because we had many mutual friends, and

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