An exclusive look at Debbie Ocean's star-studded team in the upcoming Warner Bros. comedy

By Piya Sinha-Roy
April 20, 2018 at 09:30 AM EDT
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Credit: Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros.
  • Movie

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Eight powerhouse ladies. $150 million in diamonds. One star-studded fashion gala. And a heist to rule them all.

Sandra Bullock and her team of grifters usher in this summer’s cool factor with Ocean’s 8, an expansion of Steven Soderbergh’s George Clooney-starring franchise that features Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie (Bullock) taking the wheel.

“The vibe of the Ocean’s universe, which felt like a smooth drive in a vintage car with somebody who knew how to shift gears beautifully, I think we have that too,” says Anne Hathaway, who plays Daphne, an actress who wears the diamond necklace at the center of the heist at the Met Gala.

The con of the century deserves only the best team, and Debbie and her co-conspirator Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett) know just the gang: suave hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), savvy fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson), and street con artist Constance (Awkwafina).

“We tried to make each one of these women distinct people, who share a lot but reflect a wide range of backgrounds and experience,” says director and co-writer Gary Ross, adding that he and writer Olivia Milch continued to hone the characters after casting the actors. “Nine Ball wasn’t originally written to be of Caribbean descent, but we talked about how much fun it would be to lean into that. And Mindy’s character Amita wasn’t written to be specifically from Jackson Heights [in Queens], where there is a thriving Indian community, but it ended up being a wonderful fit.”

“She’s more buttoned-up than almost any character that I’ve ever played, which is a challenge for me,” Kaling said about playing Amita, who lives with her mother, works in her family’s jewelry business, and has to contend with a glamorous, newly married older sister. Meanwhile, Hathaway shed her good-girl image as the rather unlikable Daphne. “She’s awful,” Hathaway says with a laugh, “and those are always the most fun characters to play. She’s very self-absorbed, entitled, and insecure — and lonely as a result.”

There was no loneliness on the New York set of the film, however, with the cast — who remain on a text chain together — forming firm friendships over shared experiences. “I learned a lot about parenting from seeing Cate and Sandy bring their kids to set. I was very excited to tell everyone that I was pregnant, and they were so happy for me,” said Kaling.

Watching Bullock and Blanchett’s dynamic in the movie alone is worth tuning in for, Kaling added.

“They’re so loved by women and they never do the same kind of movies,” she said. “It’s really fun to see them playing best friends in a film.”

Ocean's 8

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Gary Ross