Ocean’s 8 star Cate Blanchett has told Sky News it’s hard to ignore the pressure when selling a film with a female-led cast to audiences.
The Australian actress appears alongside Sandra Bullock who plays Debbie Ocean, the sister of George Clooney’s character Danny from the original films.
Debbie gets together an all-female team of con artists to pull off a jewellery heist at New York’s famous Met Gala, with Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna and Helena Bonham-Carter among the other stars of the film.
Blanchett told Sky News: “There is this unnatural pressure on a film like this which has all women on the poster.
“You go ‘please God do well’ because [if it doesn’t] it’s going to reinforce the falsehood that these films don’t do well and no one wants to see them, which is untrue.”
The film has been in the works for years and production began well before accusations against Harvey Weinstein started coming to light, and the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements gathered pace.
But it does seem extremely timely to have an empowering movie about women in the cinemas right now.
It topped the US box office in its opening weekend earlier this month and Blanchett admits part of its success, so far, may be down to current events.
“A good film’s a good film, but of course it has to do with the zeitgeist, and when it’s released and that’s just luck and timing, ” she said.
Bullock thinks that audiences need the escapism right now.
“I think also, not just because we’re women, but because people were ready for something that’s just pure entertainment and fun,” Bullock said.
“I think had we been in this climate that’s happening, basically all over the world, a year ago and this film came out I think it would have done the same.”
Getting an all-star cast together can be a scheduling nightmare, but Blanchett says it was surprising how fast it happened for this movie.
“Gary [Ross – the film’s director] had said he’d had this idea with Sandy playing Danny Ocean’s sister for ages, and he mentioned the dream team cast he wanted and everyone just signed on,” Blanchett said.
“It seemed to all come together in about six weeks, which for a film this size, with people that busy, it was kind of incredible.”
Bullock agreed it did seem unlikely they would be able to co-ordinate everyone’s diaries – and that her being in Ocean’s 8 is really down to her son.
“I work so infrequently now because of my kids, and this one, I thought it would never come together, and then it did,” she told Sky News.
“And then we had to make the decision: Do we take the kids out of school?”
“And my son actually said ‘let’s go to New York and see if we can find a school we like’. So, if it wasn’t for him being so gung-ho about it, I don’t think I would have done it.”
She added that despite most of the cast never having worked together before, there was a great atmosphere on set.
“I think, for the most part, as hard as everyone works in their careers, everyone was incredibly supportive and relaxed and fun, and more than happy to try and organise a drink or to go out,” Bullock said.
“I was surprised by how relaxed everybody was.”
Ocean’s 8 is in cinemas now.