That moment when your favorite actor is announced in a spinoff of one of your favorite film franchises. . .
Believe it or not, I’m actually not known for a lot of effusiveness in real life. I tend to try for encouraging and optimistic, but dampen down any over-the-top instincts for fangirl squealing. If I say that I’m “really quite pleased” by something, that usually means I’m pretty friggin’ thrilled.
So when I discover via Twitter and Deadline that Richard Armitage has been announced in the cast (in some way, shape, size or form) of Ocean’s Eight, I nearly fell out of my chair at my desk. I actually didn’t believe it for a moment there, and I had to make sure I was at Deadline.com and not some random, oddly-specific-to-my-preferences satire site.
And then I teared up a little bit. I had to hold it together because I’m at work, but I was surprised that I got that weirdly giddy about it.
But here’s the thing: When I was taking care of my mother full-time, Ocean’s Eleven was one of the movies that always cheered me up. And then the two sequels. I even added the Frank Sinatra version to my set of DVDs. I just love them. A lot. I like that they’re slick and witty and full of artifice and artificial style (like the Vegas Strip itself). I like that they have a cast where no one is really alike and they all play very specific roles in the narrative – they can’t be replaced or cut. I like that the storytelling is tight (well, Ocean’s Twelve being the exception, but lord the travel porn in those European settings and Cherry Jones popping up at the end and Bruce Willis playing himself!).
Anyway, I love the franchise and I actually like the idea of a female-driven spinoff. A lot of people are wary of female-driven reworkings of films (don’t get me started about the misogyny in this), but I am encouraged by them. We cast women in men’s roles all the time in the theater, it’s time for the rest of the world to catch up. Would I prefer that more original stories be written and produced with women in the leads? Yes. But if we have to use known commodities like the Ocean’s trilogy to prove the point and get some work for some excellent women actors, I’m down. (And yes, I actually thought the female Ghostbusters was as entertaining as the original – both being geared toward a 14-year-old’s sense of humor.)
So then you tell me that my favorite actor, so much of whose recent work hasn’t seen a broad audience, has a role in one of my favorite big-budget franchises and is on board with a project that is so specifically female-oriented and with a cast of diverse ages, races and body types?
I’m like. . . Oh, Rich, I’m so ridiculously, inexplicably, and irrationally proud of you!
Now, I am also the type who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Anything can happen in the film industry. Things can go sideways fast. But this project isn’t likely to dry up. In fact, it is one of those films that will have to be released come hell or high water and no matter how good or bad the final product may be. But this probably wouldn’t have been announced had it not been firmly in the bag. And even if it is just a cameo or brief role, that moves the ball forward for him.
Which means it looks very, very good that more fans will get to see RA in 2018. And more people will get to know the name Richard Armitage in 2018. And I’ll get to enjoy a movie I was looking forward to anyway. . . with RA as the cherry on top.
And that makes me “really quite pleased”.