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The Hollywood star George Clooney is speaking out to slam Mark Wahlberg and Johnny Depp for turning down roles in his 2001 hit movie Ocean’s Eleven.

‘They Regret It Now’

While being interviewed at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival, Clooney claimed that Wahlberg and Depp had each been offered the role of Linus Caldwell, which eventually went to Matt Damon, but they both turned it down.

“Some very famous people told us to f— right off. Mark Wahlberg, Johnny Depp. There were others. They regret it now. I regret doing f—ing ‘Batman,’” said Clooney, 61, according to Fox News.

“Steven [Soderbergh] had just done Erin Brockovich and Traffic, and he was nominated for directing both films… So, people really wanted to work with Steven,” Clooney continued. “That said, some people did say no to us.”

Despite this, many A-list stars did end up signing on for the movie, which starred Clooney and Damon as well as Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle and others. It was so successful that it spawned three sequels: Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen and Ocean’s 8.

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Soderbergh Sounds Off

Soderbergh was interviewed alongside Clooney, and he explained that in making Ocean’s Eleven, he was looking to combine his “indie, artistic sensibilities” on a larger scale with a huge Hollywood filming budget.

“It felt like the next iteration in my desire to work in the mainstream film business and make movies that could be released in a lot of theaters,” Soderbergh said. “I grew up watching movies made by great filmmakers that were commercially successful, distinctive movies. And I wanted to be part of that tradition.”

“It’s also important to understand where we were at the time. The studios were making very big, broad, not very good films at that time,” Clooney chimed back in to add. “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. It was going to get back to the things that they were doing from like 1964 to 1975.”

Ocean’s Eleven was a massive hit when it came out, making $183 million in domestic box office and $450 million worldwide, according to Daily Mail. Check out Clooney and Soderbergh’s full interview in the video below.

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Others Turn Down Ocean’s Eleven Roles

Wahlberg and Depp may not be the only famous names to turn down roles in this movie. Insider reported that others who are rumored to have turned down roles in Ocean Eleven include Danny Glover, Bruce Willis, Owen Wilson, and Luke Wilson.

During filming of Ocean’s Eleven, Variety reported that Depp was being considered for the role of Linus Caldwell before Wahlberg was cast. Wahlberg then dropped out of the production to make Planet Of The Apes, leading to Damon being cast in the role instead.

Wahlberg, Depp, and Damon have all gone on to have hugely successful careers in the 22 years since Ocean’s Eleven came out. While it would be interesting to see if Wahlberg and Depp really do regret turning down this hit movie, they both have yet to speak out about it at the time of this writing.

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