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Steven Soderbergh Turned Down Offer to Return to ‘Ocean’s’ Films: ‘The Series Was Very Much Concluded for Me’

Steven Soderbergh said he turned down the opportunity to return to the “Ocean’s” franchise, more than a decade and a half after directing”Ocean’s Thirteen.”

The director, who also helmed films “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Ocean’s Twelve” and produced spinoff “Ocean’s Eight,” told Variety that he is not planning to return to the heist series, regardless of the planned prequel and George Clooney’s sequel idea. The prequel film will star Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling and will take place in 1960s Europe; Clooney’s follow-up is described as a “Going In Style”-esque conclusion set after the events of 2007’s “Ocean’s Thirteen.”

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However, Soderbergh is sitting out involvement in both.

“After we made the third movie, I felt like the series was very much concluded for me,” Soderbergh said of the Warner Bros.-distributed films. “When the studio approached me to see if I’d be involved in continuing the franchise, I told them no, because it just doesn’t feel like a move forward for me.”

He added, “I’m chasing something else.”

Soderbergh concluded the “Magic Mike” trilogy with 2023 film “Magic Mike’s Last Dance.” The writer/director helmed supernatural horror film “Presence,” which will debut at Sundance 2024. This year’s festival also marks the 35th anniversary of his debut “Sex, Lies and Videotape.”

“Ocean’s” actor Don Cheadle said in 2021 that Soderbergh was toying with the idea of returning to the “Ocean’s” world before ensemble cast member Bernie Mac died. Cheadle later collaborated with Soderbergh on Max film “No Sudden Move,” during which the actor claimed Soderbergh was open to revisiting “Ocean’s.”

“We were talking about it [after ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’], and then Bernie [Mac] passed, and very quickly we were like, ‘No, we don’t want to do it,'” Cheadle told Entertainment Weekly at the time. “But I just did a movie with Stephen and he said, ‘I think there may be a way to do it again. I’m thinking about it.’ And it didn’t go much further than that. But I don’t know; I don’t know who all would be in it. I imagine the main group of us would be in. It would be interesting to see.”

“Ocean’s” star Clooney said during the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival alongside Soderbergh that “Ocean’s Eleven” marked a turning point in Hollywood and in some ways, a return to form for blockbuster actors like Clooney’s co-stars Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould, Julia Roberts, and more.

“The studios were making very big, broad, not very good films at that time. Steven had this idea of trying to infuse all of this independent film stuff that all of these young filmmakers were learning back into the studio system,” Clooney said. “It was going to get back to the things that they were doing from like 1964 to 1975.”

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