Ocean’s Eleven: We Decide Who Should Be on Sandra Bullock’s Team

By  · Published on May 19th, 2016

Sandra Bullock and friends are putting a team together.

As haters continue to hate on female-led films (as they have for as long as men have held power in Hollywood/America/the world), another mostly-male franchise has had a lady-centric reboot announced: Ocean’s Eleven. With Sandra Bullock starring as the Clooney-esque heist queen, bringing back some of that put-upon bumbling badass that made her so charming in The Heat and the Miss Congeniality films, it’s hard not to put together a dream team for the new cast.

Sure, it’s not real. But fantasy-casting a team of women for a heist is way cooler than doing the same thing for a superhero, right? Maybe they’re about equivalent. Either way, these are the actresses I’d love to see slip into the rebooted cast of characters, allowing, of course, that it’s not just an entirely different set of criminals. But hey, it’s a combination of specialists that worked for three movies, give or take an Eddie Izzard computer wiz here or there, so I’ve stuck with the general framework here and cited sources when appropriate.

Elizabeth Banks as Rusty

Rusty Ryan, played by Brad Pitt in the Steven Soderbergh trilogy, will be Bullock’s closest partner. Rusty gets dragged into the life again after mastering it and leaving, a crook so cool he’s busy slurping down a Coke or munching on fries while his team sweats out the details. That’s why I’d like to see Elizabeth Banks (Wet Hot American Summer, 30 Rock, everything) run the scene as Bullock’s slightly more competent, almost bored right-hand woman. She’s hilarious, alternatively dry and broad (much like Pitt’s diversity in his comedic roles), and (also like Brad Pitt) has seemingly never aged.

Natalie Morales as Linus

Precocious consummate rookie Linus Caldwell, Matt Damon’s reluctantly recruited pickpocket, serves as the butt of many of the jokes and as the audience surrogate for much of the thief training. He also delivers some of the best I-told-you-so moments in the film, which would let Natalie Morales (Parks & Recreation, The Grinder, and this totally obscene reading of James Joyce love letters) straight-face some excellent takedowns.

Tiffany Haddish As Basher

Don Cheadle played the pyromaniac with a cockney accent as wild as his dramatic character. Who better to blow things up than the often over-the-top Tiffany Haddish (The Carmichael Show, Keanu)? Her volatile characters still maintain an endearing goofiness, though I’m still not sold on the accent.

Margaret Cho as Frank Catton

Frank (formerly played by the late, great Bernie Mac) is a showman. A salesman. Perfect for a stand-up used to hosting gigs and interviews. Ocean’s Eleven came out the same year as The Bernie Mac Show, giving the comic a mid-career burst of energy. Margaret Cho (nominated for an Emmy for her guest spot on 30 Rock) has the same winning energy masking a bubbling anger that proved the perfect concoction for the inside man. She can also rant about white people with the best of them.

Kathryn Hahn and Megan Mullally as Turk and Virgil Malloy

The constantly-bickering Mormon twins who serve as leg-men and walking distractions for the heist, Scott Caan’s swaggering Turk and Casey Affleck’s mild-mannered, snippy Virgil abuse each other professionally. There are no two actresses better at harassment than Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers, Transparent) and Megan Mullally (Will & Grace). For a sample of their relationship, look to their Parks & Recreation characters. Hahn’s detached political operative would play perfectly with Mullally’s loud and abusive ex-wife of Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson.

Helen Mirren as Saul Bloom

Saul, old hat at this sort of thing, is seduced from retirement by the irresistible pull of one last job. His impersonations are a key factor played by a master, something a woman who’s played three queens would thrive at. She’s also got impeccable comic timing and honestly, who could say no to Helen Mirren?

Diana Rigg as Reuben Tishkoff

Elliott Gould played Reuben Tishkoff, the grumpy veteran money behind the job, with the reluctance of someone who’d been burned before and knew revenge was best served through dirty work done by younger people. Diana Rigg (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Game of Thrones) has all the charisma, history, and sass to pull it off, especially considering Tishkoff is sort of like a Vegas Lady Olenna anyways.

Kate Micucci as Livingston Dell

Livingston Dell (the sweaty, worrying Eddie Jemison), is the tech guy. He’s shy, obsessive, and has more than a few issues with personal space. Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory, half of Garfunkel and Oates) does timid and awkward better than most, currently doing the voice for the new generation’s animated iteration of Velma Dinkley.

Qi Shu as Yen

“The Amazing” Yen, the greaseman and acrobat, barely speaks English but makes up for it with raw physical prowess. Qi Shu (The Transporter, Journey to the West) recently made fantastical kills and mystical stunts look quietly beautiful and easy in The Assassin. That’s the kind of ease with which Yen should perform.

Anna Kendrick as Terry Benedict

Terry Benedict, the snotty, arrogant, work-obsessed mogul behind the target casinos has to be eminently hateable. Very sharp, very sure, and a total ass. Making her a millennial heiress with a resting bitch face and impeccable comic timing could only make things better. That’s where Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air) comes in, letting her flex that villainous side that we so rarely allow our starlets to express.

Paul Rudd as Tess Ocean

Tess, Danny’s ex who abandoned the lifestyle to settle down with the not-exactly-caring Terry, is one of the most complex characters in the film. She’s witty, extremely capable, and elegant, yet hurt, pissed, and oblivious to how badly she’s settling. Paul Rudd (Anchorman, Ant-Man) cleans up well and balances the dramatic/comedic line expertly ‐ put him in a tux and let him be an emotional rube while still going tit for every tat Bullock slings his way.

So what do you think? Did we nail it here, or are there other actresses you’re burning to see pull off an impossible robbery?

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).