Very often famous actors turn down roles that they later regret. They also accept roles they later regret as well. George Clooney discussed both scenarios during an interview at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival via Entertainment Weekly.
Certainly over the course of a long career, even the best actors take roles that turn out to be mistakes. Some bigger than others. However the roles they turn down often are just as big. Clooney named names when discussing who turned down the role of Linus Caldwell. Some very famous actors said ‘no thanks’. Turns out, they probably should’ve considered the role.
Matt Damon eventually landed the role, but not before others passed. Clooney said: “Some very famous people told us to f— right off. Mark Wahlberg, Johnny Depp. There were others. They regret it now. I regret doing f—ing ‘Batman,’”
Who knows if the movie would have been as successful or felt the same if Depp or Wahlberg had taken the roles. Hindsight is 20/20, but it is impossible to know. On the topic of ‘Batman’, Clooney should regret that. That was the movie that sunk the 90s Batman franchise, and is largely considered the worst superhero movie ever made. The “bat suit” had nipples for Pete’s sake!
The "Ocean's Eleven" star said the actors now "regret" skipping the chance to be in the 2001 heist comedy film. https://t.co/ojVfkuCJPQ
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The 61-year-old actor went on to say why he wanted to do “Oceans 11” so badly: “Steven [Soderbergh] had just done ‘Erin Brockovich’ and ‘Traffic,’ and he was nominated for directing both films… So, people really wanted to work with Steven.”
The movie didn’t lack for top shelf talent despite being passed on by Wahlberg and Depp. Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts and Don Cheadle, among others helmed the highly successful first movie of the series.
Legendary director Steven Soderbergh joined the conversation and elaborated on his thought process for approaching the movie: “It felt like the next iteration in my desire to work in the mainstream film business and make movies that could be released in a lot of theaters. I grew up watching movies made by great filmmakers that were commercially successful, distinctive movies. And I wanted to be part of that tradition.”
Soderbergh certainly hit a home run with the Oceans 11, 12, and 13 films before ceding Oceans 8 to Gary Ross. The timing was perfect, as the movie industry was flailing in the very early 2000s. A reset was needed, and the artsy, star-studded film noir Oceans 11 was exactly what was needed to shift the industry. Clooney elaborated:
“It’s also important to understand where we were at the time. The studios were making very big, broad, not very good films at that time. Steven had this idea of trying to infuse all of this independent film stuff that all of these young filmmakers were learning back into the studio system. It was going to get back to the things that they were doing from, like, 1964 to 1975.”
The gamble paid off and made tons of money as well as spawning three sequels, and a prequel that is in production. It is unknown if Johnny Depp or Mark Wahlberg are in consideration for any prequel roles, but the bet is if they are they might be more inclined to say yes this time.
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