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Interview : Jerry Weintraub

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Producer of “Ocean’s Thirteen”


Producer Jerry Weintraub tells Moviehole that you should only make a movie if you have both a great script and a great cast. That’s the only reason he’s doing “Oceans Thirteen”.

Some of the premieres for this film are going to help Darfur, is that correct?
Not all of them no, Los Angeles is our United States premiere And then the next evening in Las Vegas at Cine Vegas, I’m getting an award. I think I’m getting all these awards these years now because I’m getting so old that people are afraid that they’ll have to come to my funeral. So, they give me an award instead of coming to my funeral. So, Cine Vegas is giving me the Vanguard Award; it’s not a lifetime achievement award but an award that they give. And we’re doing a premiere there for the Darfur Project, which is a fundraising project to put money into the field to save lives and we’re very excited about it. We’ve raised millions, and that’s just the beginning. We have a lot more coming in, and Steven Spielberg pledged a million bucks this morning to help us get over the top and we’re all happy about that. Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Brad Pitt have all been to the Sudan in the past year. That’s how this all started and I haven’t been there. I’m going to go there, not that they need another tourist there but I’m going to go there to look at it. And they came back and they were so moved that they had to do something about it and they did. George went to the UN, Don wrote a book, which is number 6 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and now, I’m trying to raise money to make it all work. So, we have that Vegas premiere and then Chicago the next evening, which is sponsored by Vanity Fair and they are also raising a great deal of money for Darfur. And all the guys are going in and everyone’s excited, and when I say all the guys, I include Ellen Barkin in that.

Has she become one of the guys now?
She’s a really hot looking guy, if she’s a guy. I don’t know what’s the matter with me but she’s a hot looking guy.

And the project is called Not On Our Watch.
NotOnOurWatchProject.org and you can send a donation there.

Can you talk about the Ocean’s Club on the set? What was that?
The Ocean’s Club was something that I dreamt up because we all hang out together and we’re always all together and usually we’re in the trailer or we’re in some little corner of the lot some place drinking espressos, so I said, ‘Why don’t I just build a little club where everybody can hang out and enjoy themselves and be together.’ It was basically some place where we could be together because what we do off the screen they take onto the screen. We have breakfast together. We have lunch together. We have dinner together, then we have drinks together. It’s the only set in the world that nobody has a chair on, except me, and nobody has a monitor except me and everybody hangs out. And when they’re not shooting, they still come around. Even if they’re not working that day, the biggest stars in the world, they come to the set because we enjoy ourselves and we really like being together. That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard. We work very hard and we get a lot of work done in a short period of time because we’re so close. So, it’s good.

You started the first one 6 years ago, how did you get everybody back together?
I got them back together because we got a great script and that’s what the movie business is about. It starts with a script. Actors of this caliber and directors of Soderbergh’s caliber don’t come into projects for money or for any other reason except a good script. They find something that they really want to do and I’m at a point in my life where I’m 69 years old. I don’t know how many movies I’m going to make or not make in the future and I don’t have to make movies. I’ve done extraordinarily well. I’m a very lucky guy. So, I don’t have to make any films. So, we try very hard to find things that we think are going to work and be enjoyable to make. None of these guys that are in this film need a film. They all can get as many films as they want. So, for them to commit to this, it has to be a script that they believe in and they really do believe in this. And it turned out great. It’s very, very funny. It’s a lot of fun and I think it’s going to do very, very well and that’s it. That’s what it’s all about.

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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