If you’re a Sandra Bullock fan or if you are a fan of movies in general, here’s some news that will be sure to excite you: the all-star ensemble classic Ocean’s 11 is being rebooted once again, this time with Sandra Bullock leading an all-women heist team.
The original film, starring Frank Sinatra, was famously rebooted in 2001. Starring George Clooney (one of three men credited with conceiving the newest reboot and rumored to be making a cameo), Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, the formula was successful enough to warrant two sequels. The new female-centric movie, with a script penned by Olivia Milch and directed by Gary Ross of The Hunger Games fame, is sure to be a huge blockbuster hit. Sandra Bullock, possibly accompanied by other leading Hollywood ladies like Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Lucy Liu, Viola Davis, and Rosario Dawson will have moviegoers desperate enough for tickets because of star power alone.
Lately, Hollywood has noticeably taken a shift towards female-driven films which is great to see. Movies like Bridesmaids and the announced female-led Ghostbusters are powerful demonstrations of how far cinemas have come when it comes to including women and giving them more opportunities to be industry leaders.
That being said, there is something unfortunate that these films have in common: gender-swapping. While Bridesmaids is its own entity in itself and is a decent film that does marvels in its portrayal of women, it was touted as the “female Hangover” from its beginning stages. Both the Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 11 reboots are much more noticeably intending to take successful male-led films and recreate them with women in the main roles instead.
The pro is having women be in the main roles, but the huge con is that instead of creating high-profile films that are original and that focus on its female stars creating something, these women are instead shoved into roles that they would never have without men.
Does Hollywood think female-ensembles will not sell well if they don’t draw off of pre-existing male films? Does Hollywood only feel confident putting females front and center when they’re merely giving new life to male characters instead of making their own mark in cinema? It is very exciting to witness the evolution of leading women in Hollywood, and every time I see a women-led film being marked as high-profile, I appreciate it. I know that women are often stereotyped, type-cast, and given less opportunities for central roles than their male counterparts. It is not as exciting when perhaps the biggest women-led films are rehashes of men’s work instead of original pieces.
With actresses in Hollywood as talented as Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, and Meryl Streep – an infinite list of versatile, talented, powerful women who can more than confidently carry a film on their own – it is a shame to see opportunities for them to forge their own great Hollywood ensembles scrapped in favor of following a traditional male formula.