Brad Pitt and George Clooney Poker Scam Launched Oceans 11 Franchise11 months ago
It was the heist movie which launched box-office busting trilogy in the noughties, but the success of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise was almost certainly secured the moment Brad Pitt and George Clooney spun their first scam in the poker room - an all-star cast of TV and movie’s newest brat pack falling under the hypnotic spell of the smartest and suavest criminals ever seen, and the movie-going public would soon be enchanted too.
For poker purists, and perhaps movie non-purists too, it was a nothing scene in an otherwise rollercoaster movie following Clooney (as the eponymous Danny Ocean) and Pitt (his trusty right-hand man Rusty Ryan) as they built a team set on robbing the Bellagio, Mirage and MGM Grand casinos.
What it did though was set the vibe for the entire trilogy – Clooney there to persuade Pitt to partake in the planned heist, Pitt’s Rusty character for the time being “cold-decking Teen Beat cover boys” – the ‘next generation of potential Brad Pitts’ his poker victims as Thrillist’s Dan Jackson describes it.
Perhaps surprisingly to poker lovers, one of the movie’s other major stars Matt Damon wasn’t involved in the poker scene – perhaps his Rounders role too recent or well-known for a reprise and Casey Affleck’s role perhaps too minor for the scene despite boasting a poker pedigree of sorts in years to come.
Interestingly enough, the entire scene smacks of the infamous Molly’s Game poker set-up – the back room with well-known faces from the Hollywood crowd, even Tobey Maguire look-alike Topher Grace involved, and of course Ben Affleck (Casey’s brother) involved in the real-life high stakes underground game which would spark another massive movie released this year.
Poker is always cool, and movies love to use it for dramatic effect even when the storyline itself is removed from the nitty-gritty reality of the game, so when the 4th instalment in the Oceans franchise – Oceans 8 - is released this year with 8 females running the show, it would be no surprise if we saw poker appear in some shape or form.
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