While Ocean’s 8 features several cameos from previous actors in the series’ history, but not everyone made the cut.
The film’s director, Gary Ross, explained why veteran Ocean’s actor, Matt Damon, wasn’t featured in the film despite cameos from other actors who starred in previous Ocean’s films being part of the new movie.
“[Picking the cameos] is an eclectic process of how does it fit in the story and how is the narrative unfolding? This, more than any movie I’ve done, had a really copious editorial process where you play with stuff, you find stuff,” Ross said.
“I’ve never shot anything after I’ve wrapped on any other movie before, but in a heist movie and an ensemble movie, you’re still working on the play,” he continued. “And we did a bunch of that, and so that was satisfying as well.”
Fans of the film began a petition to remove Damon from the film after he made controversial comments on Hollywood’s sexual harassment scandal last year. At the time of publication, the petition had over 28,000 signatures.
Citing Damon’s alleged involvement in an attempt to kill a 2004 story about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual misconduct, the petition claims the actor’s inclusion in Ocean’s 8 would “trivialize the serious nature” of the allegations.
“Damon’s inclusion would trivialize the serious nature of the charges against sexual abusers like Weinstein — a show massive disrespect for the brave women speaking out,” read the petition.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
Amid the mounting revelations of sexual harassment or abuse against Weinstein, The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman previously claimed Damon and Russell Crowe meddled in a 2004 story she was writing for the New York Times about behavior by Weinstein and the then-head of Miramax Italy, Fabrizio Lombardo. Waxman claimed Damon and Crowe called her “directly” to vouch for Lombardo. Her story was ultimately killed by the NYT.
Damon confirmed the call with Waxman to Deadline, but said Weinstein only told him that Waxman was writing a negative story about Lombardo and asked him to vouch for Lombardo professionally.
Of Damon’s willingness to appear in the film, Ross told THR, “There were a lot of people who were gracious to us that just for editorial and storytelling reasons didn’t make it in and some who did.”
“If you know, we ended up shooting probably another 10 days afterward, so there’s a lot of material and a lot of shaping,” he added. “But it really just comes to storytelling.”
Ocean’s 8 stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina and Sarah Paulson among many others.
It’s now in theaters.