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The Real Reason Carl Reiner Wasn't In Ocean's 8

The comedy world is in mourning following the death of one of the all-time greats, Carl Reiner. From Broadway to film, Reiner cast a large shadow across the entertainment industry. He remained active until the end, appearing in a 2018 episode of the TBS comedy Angie Tribeca and providing the voice of Carl Reineroceros in Toy Story 4.

Reiner had another recent film role, albeit one that never made it to the final cut. The actor was set to appear in the 2018 heist comedy Ocean's 8, and even filmed a cameo for the movie. He described the experience to Vanity Fair in a 2017 interview by saying, "I got to work with my favorite actress, Sandra Bullock. I did one little scene with her, and it was such a pleasure. She's a work of nature."

Reiner's cameo was hotly anticipated, not just because he's a comedy legend, but also because he's an alumnus of the Ocean's franchise. He appeared in Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen as Saul Bloom, a veteran conman who joins Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his team to help pull off a series of heists. All things considered, including Reiner in the movie seems like a no brainer.

So, why did the beloved actor's role end up on the cutting room floor?

Carl Reiner's cameo just didn't fit in Ocean's 8

Before you grab for pitchforks and torches, hear out Ocean's 8 director Gary Ross, who offered a reasonable explanation for Reiner's cut cameo. The director explained his decision to The Hollywood Reporter during the film's New York City premiere. According to him, it all ultimately came down to the story.

Ross said of picking which cameos would make the final cut, and which would get left behind, "[It's] an eclectic process of: how does it fit in the story and how is the narrative unfolding?"

The director went on to add that the ensemble cast and intricate plot of Ocean's 8 led to a much more intense editing and post-production process than his previous efforts: "This more than any movie I've done had a really copious editorial process where you play with stuff, you find stuff. I've never shot anything after I've wrapped on any other movie before, but in a heist movie and an ensemble movie, you're still working on the play. And we did a bunch of that."

Deciding to cut Reiner's cameo wasn't the only difficult call Ross had to make in the Ocean's 8 edit bay. Another big-name Ocean's Eleven star was meant to make an appearance. But, unlike Reiner, his unused cameo was a bit more controversial.

Matt Damon's cut cameo caused a stir

Leading up to the release of Ocean's 8, Matt Damon was teasing his own part in the film. Like Reiner, Damon starred in all three of the Soderbergh Ocean's films as Linus Caldwell. According to comments in The Toronto Sun, the Jason Bourne actor filmed for one day, and he expected his cameo to be quite short, adding, "This is a movie about the women." Ultimately, the cameo ended up being non-existent.

Ross echoed his sentiments about cutting cameos to preserve the story in regards to Damon's appearance not coming to fruition. However, there were some who advocated for his removal from the film for other reasons. Before the film's release, an online petition called for Damon's cameo to be cut because of comments the actor made in the midst of the Me Too movement.

The petition, which gained nearly 29,000 signatures, specifically cited an interview with Business Insider where Damon said he would consider working with someone accused of sexual misconduct on "a case-by-case basis." They also called attention to a report that Damon once tried to kill a story about an associate of Harvey Weinstein "procuring women" for the disgraced producer, which Damon denied (via BBC).

Although the creators of the petition declared their effort a success once it was revealed that Damon's cameo was cut, we'll likely never know for sure if it factored into the decision to leave it out.

Which Ocean's Eleven actors did appear in Ocean's 8?

While we're sure longtime Ocean's fans were sad that neither Reiner nor Damon made the final cut, there were a couple of cameos from franchise alums that did make it into the movie.

The first comes early in the film. After Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is released from prison, she visits the grave of her brother, Danny, who we learn died several years earlier. While memorializing her brother, she's visited by Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), one of Danny's team members from the previous three films. Reuben attempts to dissuade Debbie from carrying out whatever heist she's planning now that she's free. Thankfully, Debbie disregards his advice and carries on.

After Debbie and her crew successfully get away with the stollen Toussaint, a flashback scene reveals that the criminal mastermind had an even bigger heist planned than just stealing one necklace. It's then that we see the Amazing Yen (Shaobo Qin), an acrobat who helped Danny with his heist in Ocean's Eleven, making quick work of the security systems at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in order to replace an entire display's worth of diamond jewelry with worthless replicas.

Even though both of these cameos were exciting and fit well with the story, we're hoping that Ross considers releasing the Reiner Cut of Ocean's 8 with the dearly departed comedian's role added back in.