INT: Pitt, Garcia, Zeta-Jones, Weintraub
Opening last Friday, Ocean’s Twelve reunites all the stars from the first film under direction of that master of cool, Steven Soderbergh. Joining the crew this time around is newcomer Catherine Zeta-Jones. Zeta-Jones plays a Europol agent hot on the trail of Clooney and Co. as they search for a way to pay back an understandably peeved Andy Garcia, from whom they took $160 million in the first film. How are they gonna raise that kind of dough? With another elaborately planned, ridiculously intricate heist, of course. A few weeks ago the folks at Warner Bros. hosted a pair of huge press conferences at the Bighorn Country Club in Palm Desert, California, to promote Ocean’s Twelve. The second press conference featured Zeta-Jones, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia and, for some reason, producer Jerry Weintraub. Here are some excerpts. Brad, George said you might be shaken by Jude Law being named “sexiest man alive.” BP: I think Matt was more shaken by it. I think he campaigned hard, put up a good fight and I think it was toughest on him, but I think if he keeps applying himself like he has been this year, I think we’ll see some greatness from him this year. George and I started a class, as former sexiest men alive and we’re working with the youngins. Jude’s at the top of his class immediately. It was obvious to us that he was a natural so we had great hopes for that. Man of the year. But if you want to write in, write-in ballots help. What was it like working with George, Matt and the rest of the gang again? BP: I’d like to call it work but it was pretty much automatic for us. First of all, there’s a very low level of maturity amongst all the guys there so that helps. We bonded very quickly. Then we got the beautiful women to make us look better but it’s pretty automatic. George told us about the memo you put out in Rome… BP: Listen, I know he’s calling it a memo, that’s his story now because it did make the paper about his prima donna behavior. It became a problem on this movie and he can paint it anyway he wants to but it was a problem. (laugh) Were there any jokes played on Catherine? BP: I think the biggest joke was on Catherine because she actually thought we were making a movie. (laughs) Being the new kid, nobody told her because she was up running lines and breaking down her character. CZJ: I thought there was a personality clash and that the guys didn’t like me because I didn’t have any pranks. I have been informed that it can take up to three years to complete. I have known George Clooney for two so I’m looking over my shoulder for the next year. BP: Just know it’s coming and don’t lose any sleep over it. It will happen eventually and that’s just the way it is. When did you decide to make the sequel? BP: The secret for this film was actually hatched in Italy when we were doing the press tour for the 1st one. Our last stop was Italy and we were at our favorite restaurant, the Bolognaise and we were eating some beautiful Buffalo mozzarella and Steven said I’ve got an idea for the 2nd one. It was being on our European trip that culminated in Italy. George mentioned the bumper stickers he put on your car, “I’m Gay and I Vote,” and “Small Penis on Board.” BP: Yeah he likes to take credit for that but no, I’m very proud of being a gay voter and I don’t feel my small penis is something to be ashamed of. (laughs) So I would like to take credit for those stickers. That’s me. I’m trying to break grounds. AG: His penis is small, but he’s got two of them. BP: And I don’t have a bumper sticker for that yet. We’re trying to break new ground for people who are afflicted like myself. Catherine and Brad – how did you approach the relationship to make it different from what Tess and Danny have in the first movie? BP: It’s pretty well flushed out in the script. We were just excited to get Catherine first of all because she brings this great elegance to it and a lot of the film was going to be focused on her own and she was going to have to carry that thing and would have to be someone who could carry that kind of weight. For us specifically, it was just pretty natural wasn’t it? CZJ: (nods) BP: The great thing about Catherine is there is this great beauty and elegance but at the same time, she’ll drink any one of you under the table. So it was pretty much automatic as well. CZJ: We wanted to make them different from Danny and Tess. She’s loving this guy so much and having to be dumped by him and then the relationship sort of comes together and she’s so happy. Knowing the love of her life is one of these men of the gang. I bet I’m hated by women around the world for having to kiss this guy. My husband would say to me, “What are you doing today honey,” and I’d say, “Oh, I’m kissing Brad on a bridge.” The next day, “Oh I’m kissing Brad in the car or someplace.” (laughs) It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. We had a lot of fun. I’d love to do another movie with him in a different connotation… BP: I’m thinking musical. CZJ: I think so. He can dance. BP: Interpretative dance is kind of my specialty. I haven’t unleashed it on the world yet. But what I liked about this was trying to get this woman back, she’s pissed off and hates me and for good reason, but I saw it coming to the point of this is what he wants and it’s her and whatever it takes, he’s going to figure it out and take his punches as they come. So that was the fun of it for me.
Andy, you’re currently working on The Lost City, something very dear to your heart. How do you go about choosing the roles that you play? AG: Having something close to my heart is important and I can only speak for the things that are offered to me. I have my own things that I take care of with my own production company so I focus on those things in my own time – music, producing…if something comes along that I’m moved by, I jump, and if I’m not moved or uninterested, then I’ll pass. Distribution, non-distribution, budget… those things don’t enter my equation. I just go with things, like most everyone does, that you’re moved by. This movie was a no-brainer. There was nothing to think about with taking this role. The memory of making the movie and who I was involved with in making is, that’s the main reason for me getting involved in it. The box office or commerciality of a movie is something you can’t control, but you have some control over the authenticity and the type of films you make. And some of those are ones that nobody sees. The Lost City is in post-production until February and I don’t have anything after that, well, I do but nobody wants to make them. Is it true that you took this role so that you could get the wardrobe? AG: No, I didn’t get the wardrobe. I don’t think that wardrobe could be worn anywhere other than a movie set. I did want to keep my cane, putter type thing but I haven’t gotten it yet. No, this wardrobe was a little bit out there. How did shooting in Europe compare to shooting in Vegas? BP: I’m not sure how to answer that; just antithesis of each other as far as culture and lack of culture, I guess. Bright neon and everything new versus history and ancient—just the patino of the old cities lead to a completely different feel and I guess, a completely different feel visually to the film. So, I really don’t know how to describe them. AG: What George described to me, is that he just took the brass poll with him. (laughs) I’m kidding. Brad, how would you compare your experiences working with David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh? BP: You’re talking about two auteurs. Two, I think, of the very best storytellers. Neither one of them could you compartmentalize as far as style and exactly what they do. Actually, they are both friends funny enough and both appreciate each other’s work very much. It’s interesting conversation to watch them tee off on what film is. And I have to say Fincher loved this one too by the way. As far as styles, they both are pushing the medium and looking for something new and something to, I guess, just push the art of film, evolve the art of film. Neither one of them are interested in repeating or homage’s so to say. And they are just two of the very best storytellers we have that come out of American cinema. JW: Soderbergh’s not a human. Soderbergh is a camera. BP: He’s a machine. JW: He’s a machine. BP: Can I quickly tell you this story? JW: This one’s gonna be a headliner. BP: This one is going to make the papers. We love this man very much and I mean, you earlier asked about Vegas and filming in Europe and it’s really because the setup this man builds for us. Both of them are extraordinary experiences and we love each other very much. We also love to mess with each other, we take each other out every chance we get and last night we got home from the junket and we hear that, we’re all staying at Jerry’s and Jerry’s getting a massage. And so George looks at me and goes “Got a camera?” And I go, “Yes I do.” And he goes, “You got a flash?” I say, “Yes I do.” We went into the room; it was nice and dark and moody and Frank Sinatra was playing. George warmed up his hands and we scoot in the room and the masseuse lady, we signal her and she so smoothly, she takes her hands off of Jerry and in comes George. And Jerry is on his back and he starts massaging Jerry’s belly and I hear this “Ohhhh.” He starts massaging his inner thigh, “Ohhhh.” I see Jerry’s legs kind of go (makes a cracking noise.) And then we start cracking away on the film, it was just…I mean, that’s just the kind of daily activities that people with our maturity.
Catherine, how did they convince you to do the film? CZJ: I met Jerry before and I worked with George and Steve Soderbergh on Traffic and so on with Julia and I knew that the Ocean’s 12 was going to be starting up soon and I didn’t think for one minute that it was going to be anyone than the characters that were formed already. So when I got the call from Jerry and Steven, I took a look at the script and (inaudible) JW: Brad was guaranteed in this film to get the girl cause George got the girl in the first film. BP: And apparently there was some ambiguity about Rusty’s sexuality from the first one and they really wanted to clear it up in this one. JW: And in order for Matt to get sexiest man alive, we have to do one picture where he gets the girl. One of these days, instead of Cheadle. BP: Strong campaign, strong campaign. JW: So Catherine. When I saw Catherine in Venice when she did Intolerable Cruelty, she was just amazing and we got struck up a really close friendship at the bar. Many many hours at the bar which is where I really hang out most of the time. If you ever look for me, just look for the bar. And I think it was there in Venice, we were at a boats, I said to her, “I hope there’s in Ocean’s for you and if there’s not, we’ll have to figure something out.” And the role is great I think. Catherine, what attracted you to this character? CZJ: She has the blood of the best thief in the world and as much as she hates them and hasn’t seen her father and (deals) with lost love, yeah there’s a lot of play with. And it was nice that I was in Europe being European; I was very proud to give a speech at the Hague. It was very official; it was very good to know that Europol agents wear red leather to work. (laughs) When I was researching the character, I didn’t think I’d be wearing red leather.
Did you enjoy working with Steven again? CZJ: Sure. Having done another ensemble film with Steven, which was Traffic, there were so many things different stories going on independently and some never got intertwined. Just Steven at the helm of a movie he creates such an amazing environment in which to work and a lot of the crew had been with him for years. Everyone just wants to be there and I think anybody who wants to study film or directing or lighting or editing – cause he juggles so many balls – come on for a day and just watch him work. JW: No; don’t invite them. CZJ: OK, hypothetically speaking. It’s just easy and it’s just not torturous and everything gets done and it’s fun. The story of Traffic compared to Oceans is so different, but the process was the same. The fun and the enthusiasm is kind of contagious. AG: Yeah, he has a great working environment. It’s really loose and very trusting in the interested in the behavior of this film. He is very focused on the actors and I didn’t get a chance on any of the movie to work with everybody at the same time; I have individual scenes with different actors. Me and Brad just do phone; we have phone sex cause we are always on the phone with one and other in the movies. It’s a great cast; it’s a privilege to be in these movies. Catherine, were you intimidated at all by the sense of humor of your co-stars? CZJ: I don’t know about my humor, but god, we have a good laugh when we hang out and the guys are funny and it’s just contagious. I’m intimidated every day I go on the stage and everyday I go on a movie set. It’s terrifying and I always want to reshoot the first day or the first week. I’m so terrified. Like I said earlier, when meeting them altogether for the first time, it’s such a powerful force. All these guys together, you know, and it was just easy and simple and they welcomed me in with open arms. I had to leave my prissy girlieness at the door, just join in and it was great. But I get terrified everyday I go on sets. And kind of the ice is broken, you’re not going to be sacked; they’re not going to replace you and you start to enjoy it. BP: But its definitely open season on everyone and Catherine jumped right in. Catherine, after making two movies with Clooney, are you part of Clooney’s crew now? CZJ: I hope so, yeah. JW: How did this get to be George Clooney’s crew? Cause he’s Danny Ocean? But we’re gonna make him Rusty Ocean in the next one. CZJ: Yeah. Well in general, when you have these caliber of actors or somebody like Steven Soderbergh who, when your name crosses their mind for something it’s just blows my mind when Steven called me for Traffic, I said “Are you serious? You want me in the movie?” I just got along with George and new relationships were formed on this movie. George invited me to his house once and he said very few people take him up on it. And I arrived with my two kids and my nanny my husband (knock knock), “We’re here!” I guess, you could do that with George; he’s a really good friend, funny to boot. If I could be part of the gang, I’m all for it. Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.