Plan worthy of Danny Ocean for ambitious mix of marketing and charity
By Gayl Murphy
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 5/11/07 — When “Ocean’s 13” sets sail on May 24 in Cannes and June 5 with its North American premier, it wants to be known as more than one of the best on-screen hunk-fests, it also wants to be known for saving lives through better movie marketing.
In order to be remembered as more than just another pretty Hollywood face, a host of charity fundraisers targeting the tragic events happening in Darfur top the list of kickoff events, combining film and philanthropy.
Many of the glitzy star-studded events will serve to benefit the International Rescue Committee for “Not on Our Watch”, co-founded by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and the film’s producer Jerry Weintraub.
The O13 charity-media-blitz kicks off on Tuesday, June 5th in Hollywood at the famed Chinese Theatre as Cooney, Pitt, Damon and Weintraub endeavor to place their hands and feet in cement in front of the legendary landmark for all time.
Then later that evening the film will celebrate its North American premier with the O13’s star-studded cast adorning the Red Carpet, including Clooney, Pitt and Damon, in addition to Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Ellen Barkin, Al Pacino, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould. Director Steven Soderbergh, screenwriters Brian Koppelman & David Levien.
The next port-o-call; Vegas Baby, where a special screening will open this year’s CineVegas Film Festival on June 6th. Then on to Chi-town for the Chicago premiere on June 7th hosted by Vanity Fair.
In advance of these hoopla fundraising events, O13 will make its maiden voyage to the Cannes Film Festival on May 24th for its world premiere.
Combining film and philanthropy is a known passion for many of these stars; after all when the UN wants to talk about Darfur, it’s Clooney, they call, but that mixture can sometime not be the homerun it was intended, especially in the current climate of “shut and sing”. But don’t tell that to O13 star Don Cheadle, one of the co-founders of “Not On Our Watch”.
“Before I was an actor I was a very opinionated person and I’ve never ‘shut up’. So there’s nothing different for me except people seem to want to hear what I have to say. I’m not playing at this and I’m not doing it to try and get publicity, in fact if I were, it’s probably the wrong kind of publicity that can help me in my acting.”
It was during the filming of “Hotel Rawanda” that Cheadle says he was “…pulled into this scenario by people who were likewise concerned by what was happening in the world and my eyes were opened. And, once I went over there and saw it with my own eyes and smelled it and touched it and picked up a kid, you know I’m a dad, and once I picked up a kid…I was like, “I can’t just pick up and leave, I’ve got to do something with this.”
As part of an elite group of high-profile Hollywood stars that have been speaking out about Darfur for sometime, does Cheadle have a sense of what the effect has been?
“Darfur is a fluid scenario in itself, it’s always changing and there’s always new wrinkle in it. The President of Iran was in Darfur (not too long ago), so we don’t know how forces are aligning themselves and it’s fluid. And they think there might be oil there now in Northern Darfur and that maybe a reason that all of this conflict’s happened. And if that’s true, it’s gonna be a whole other situation there between whose gonna try and get that oil. So that’s something that needs constant mindfulness and we always have to stay on it.”
Does he think the world is finally getting and understanding what’s doing on there now?
“I think, because you asked me this, it means people are more aware of it and if more people write about it, it more people will become more aware of it and that’s what it’s gonna take, I think, is a consistent awareness about that and applying ourselves to trying to see and effective change.”
Two of the star-power additions to O13 are Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin making it an even more surefire blockbuster, and it should be, says Bernie Mac.
“This is the real Ocean. The Ocean’s 12 was booty. The Ocean’s 12 was the pimp. They pimped on that one. I don’t mean no disrespect to the crew, we talked about it. They went back to basics on this one. This one is good, this one is funny. Al Pacino is bringin’ it. Him and Andy Garcia are nemesis and, I mean, this is something you don’t want to miss on this one. This is some old Godfather stuff going on here.”
So if O12 was the pimp and O13 is the bomb, what’s Mac’s take on whether or not Ocean fans will want to take the journey?
“I think convincing them is the job of Soderbergh and Sony that’s their position, because they have the marketability. It’s always the key of how you market it and Jerry Weintraub and Steven piecing it together and making sure that it gets in the right places is the way to go.”
Plus, adds Mac “The writing is much, much better. And, I think that’s what happens here, you know you get success here and then they pimp part two. They remake and all that kinda stuff and you know it gets bad. And then, all of a sudden it’s, “let me get back to basics. See I don’t wanna do that, I don’t want to pimp my fans, I want to stay consistent. I don’t want to sit here and say whatever money I made on the first one and we’re coming right back for the remake, part three, part four. The only sequel I liked was Godfather Two.”
In “Ocean’s Thirteen,” Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and the gang have only one reason to pull off their most ambitious and riskiest casino heist—to defend one of their own. When ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino) double-crosses one of the original Ocean’s eleven—Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould)—the gang teams up one more time to see if they can “Break the bank.” The plan is elaborate, dangerous and damn near impossible…but there are no limits when it comes to one of their own.
Not On Our Watch is a humanitarian org whose initiative is to support existing Darfur relief efforts, including ensuring the protection of civilians in that region.