Ocean's 8 made away with a massive amount of money in its opening weekend, proving once and for all that fans are desperate to see more women on-screen. The women of Ocean's 8 successfully took over the franchise from Danny Ocean's eleven con men, two of whom appeared in the all-female reboot. Before the film's release, rumors were flying about which original Ocean's trilogy characters would make a cameo in Ocean's 8, and now that the movie has hit theaters, fans are left with more than a few questions. Is Matt Damon in Ocean's 8? The actor was slated to make an appearance, but he's nowhere to be seen in the new Ocean's. What's up with that?
Fans have known for months that Damon would reprise his role of Linus Caldwell, Danny Ocean's expert pickpocket, in Ocean's 8. In February, the actor told the Toronto Sun that he would make a cameo appearance in the new movie:
It’s just a very small cameo. I’m not really in the movie a lot ... I think there are a few of us who pop up really quickly.
Damon's statement seemed to confirm rumors that Carl Reiner, who played Saul Bloom in the original films, would be returning, as well, but come Ocean's 8's June 8 release, neither were to be found. So, what gives?
At the Ocean's 8 New York premiere, director Gary Ross explained to The Hollywood Reporter that Damon's cameo was scrapped during the editing process:
[Picking the cameos] is an eclectic process of: how does it fit in the story and how is the narrative unfolding? This more than any movie I’ve done had a really copious editorial process where you play with stuff, you find stuff. I’ve never shot anything after I’ve wrapped on any other movie before, but in a heist movie and an ensemble movie, you’re still working on the play. And we did a bunch of that, and so that was satisfying as well.
While I'm sure that Damon's cameo was super exciting (I would love to know what Linus is up to a decade after the group's final heist), I guess that it ultimately didn't fit into the film's overall "narrative." There's a lot going on in Ocean's 8, so it's possible that adding another story line would make things excessively complicated. The Ocean's films love convoluted plots, but only ones that actively add to the story, you know?
Ross added that he's incredibly grateful that Damon and Reiner made themselves available to shoot last summer, and he insists that the actors shouldn't feel hurt by the decision to leave their cameo scenes on the cutting-room floor:
There were a lot of people who were gracious to us that just for editorial and storytelling reasons didn’t make it in and some who did. If you know, we ended up shooting probably another 10 days afterwards, so there’s a lot of material and a lot of shaping. But it really just comes to storytelling.
So, which original Ocean's characters did make an appearance in Ocean's 8? Unfortunately, Clooney only appears via photo, but two of his original eleven men have roles in the new film. At the beginning of the movie, Elliott Gould appears as Reuben Tishkoff, the millionaire who first funded Danny's heist, and he warns Debbie that her brother wouldn't want her to go through with the job. Obviously, Debbie doesn't listen (because she's stubborn, and also because Reuben is probably wrong) and continues planning the epic heist.
Later, Yen (Shaobo Qin), the beyond-flexible acrobat, plays a large role in the real heist when he helps Lou steal an entire display worth of priceless jewels. For much of the movie, viewers (and most of the eight women) think that the group is only going after the $150 million Toussaint necklace, but in reality, the necklace heist is simply meant to distract from Yen and Lou's much larger con. Yen's role in Ocean's 8 is so important that the film could practically be called Ocean's 9, so I'm hoping he gets full billing in any potential sequels.
Oh, and about those sequels. Warner Bros. has yet to confirm that the gang will reunite for a sequel, but considering that Ocean's 8 made an impressive $41.5 million in its opening weekend, a second installment seems like a foregone conclusion. If you're sad that Damon didn't make an appearance in Ocean's 8, keep your fingers crossed that he and some of the other Ocean's trilogy guys will make an appearance in future films.