With the call for proper inclusion and more dynamic female characters coming from all over Hollywood, Ocean's 8 seems to answer the call. Gary Ross crafted a spinoff of the beloved heist franchise, featuring an all-star cast of actresses who each bring something unique to the table. Cate Blanchett is one of the bigger characters, playing Debbie Ocean's partner in crime and bestie Lou. I got the chance to speak with Ocean's 8 director Gary Ross before the film's release, where he revealed one thing that Blanchett insisted on changing with her character: her name. And she had a very good reason, too. As Ross told me,
We wrote Cate's character Cate and called her Cate in the script. And then Cate fortunately wanted to do it, but kind of gently let us know 'Guys, this isn't really appropriate anymore.' She was very sweet, but 'I don't think we should name the character after me' We're like 'Yeah, that's a fair point.'
While Gary Ross and co-writer Olivia Milch began crafting the narrative of Ocean's 8, they had certain actresses in mind. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett were some of the first cast members approached, with Cate's character Lou even given her real name during the writing process. While this may have helped Blanchett sign on for the role, the name had to be changed before shooting began.
From watching Ocean's 8, you can certainly see how Cate Blanchett would be the actress in mind to play Lou. Wise cracking and naturally badass, the professional criminal turned bar owner is captivating during each of her scenes. And while other actresses might have been able to play the role, no one else could have so naturally inhabited Cate-- I mean Lou.
During my conversations with Gary Ross and the cast of Ocean's 8, the director explained how long he had worked on the project. The new sequel was many years in the making, with Ross knowing he wanted to build it around Sandra Bullock's Debbie Ocean. He and Olivia Milch ultimately built a script that convinced Bullock and Blanchett, with the rest of the fantastic cast filling in the ranks along the way.
It makes sense that Cate Blanchett would not want her own name reflected in her Ocean's 8 character. While Lou gets to banter with Debbie and wear awesome outfits the whole time, she's ultimately a professional criminal. Blanchett seems to be an upstanding member of society, so there needed to be some separation between actor and character. Luckily, Gary Ross was happy to oblige, and the iconic new crew was assembled.