Ocean’s Twelve Could Have Starred Paul Newman And Robert Redford

In the early days of the development of “Ocean’s Twelve,” before screenwriter George Nolfi came on board to write it, Ted Griffin was thinking about where the Ocean gang could go from here, and he seemed to be still in the mindset of the feel of that first movie. On the Script Apart podcast, he looked back at his early ideas for the sequel and remembered the notion of making this the third collaboration with Paul Newman and Robert Redford:

“It was actually more of an idea for a trailer, which was, you had George and Brad having an espresso in some square in Europe and having a conversation similar to the one they have at Musso and Frank’s, like, ‘What, you think we need one more?’ and Brad puts up two fingers. ‘Two more.’ George says, ‘Who do you have in mind?’ And Brad points, and you see, crossing the square towards them, Paul Newman and Robert Redford.”

While fun in theory, I wonder if this Hollywood callback would’ve been a little too cutesy. Griffin admits, “Pitt is sort of, in a way, a copy of Redford [in terms of] his star persona,” and Clooney would even go on to voice Newman in last year’s “The Last Movie Stars.” The matches are uncanny, but putting a fine point on it might have been too self-congratulatory. As for why it didn’t happen, Griffin says that “[S]omeone involved in the movie had a very bad relationship with one of those two men, and told me, ‘Nah, it’s not going to work out.'”

“Ocean’s Twelve” ended up having a far more inventive and funny meta storytelling element: Julia Roberts’ Tess pretending to be Julia Roberts. Delights me every single time.

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