Warner Bros. and producer Jerry Weintraub have set a July 21 start date for "Ocean's Thirteen," and Ellen Barkin is the pic's new leading lady.
Filming will take place primarily on five soundstages on the WBlot in Burbank, where a fully operational casino will be built.
The first "Ocean's" film was shot at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the sequel in Europe, but it became too arduous to shoot a movie around the gambling traffic in a real casino, producer Jerry Weintraub said. Director Steven Soderberghand star George Clooneyjust used the WB soundstages to shoot "The Good German," a European-set period drama.
Soderbergh has already committed to direct returning cast members George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould.
With Barkin in, that means previous first femmes Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones are sitting this one out.
WB will co-finance with Village Roadshow Pictures for a summer 2007 release. Pic is a co-production between Jerry Weintraub Prods. and Section Eight.
The film was scripted by "Rounders" scribes Brian Koppelmanand David Levien.
WB president Jeff Robinov had made "Ocean's Thirteen" a priority, but it took a lot of cajoling by Weintraub to align the schedules of Clooney, Pitt, Damon and Soderbergh; each made concessions to expedite the film.
Clooney, coming off an Oscar-winning performance in "Syriana," Damon and Pitt all had studios angling for their next slots. Damon is preparing a third installment of his other franchise with "The Bourne Ultimatum," while Soderbergh, who's in post-production on "The Good German," is committed to direct Benicio Del Toro in the Che Guevara biopic"Guerilla," which has already shot some early footage.
"The odds were long on this happening, and it would not have been possible were it not for those actors and director moving other projects out of the way," Weintraub said. "The five of us are all great friends, and we decided we were going to kill ourselves to get this done."
Weintraub wouldn't disclose plot details, other than that Barkin gets closely involved with Damon's character. As for the absence of Roberts, who starred in both pictures, and "Ocean's Twelve" addition Zeta-Jones, Weintraub said: "Their characters just weren't part of the script this time."