Raucous laughter hit the Palais during the morning screening of Oceans Thirteen, which was followed by an equally entertaining press conference as Steven Soderbergh and his Oceans Thirteen gang goofed on themselves and the assembled press corps.
When asked about the quality of scripts today, master quipster George Clooney replied that Oceans Thirteen is one for the history books. "This film is a cry for peace,"¬ù he said with a straight face. "We thought we were in competition."
While the fate of a fourth Oceans is in the air, the ensemble seemed good to go. But Damon won't do a fourth Bourne, he said: "We have ridden that horse as far as we can." He admitted to feeling like "a bit of a prostitute for putting out two number threes in one year."
"That's better than three number twos,"¬ù added Clooney.
When asked about one of the film's running gags involving Oprah Winfrey, Andy Garcia confessed, "I had to sleep with Oprah in order to do the show."
"That's the headline," sighed Clooney.
Brad Pitt, while insisting that The Assassination of Jesse James missed its first fall deadline but will make its second, noted that the absent Al Pacino, who stayed in Los Angeles to attend his American Film Institute tribute. "took notes from each of us, and settled in after a few weeks. He raised our respectability and we brought his down."
On a more serious note, continuing one of the themes of this year's globally-conscious festival, Clooney admitted that he used Cannes as "an international platform to raise awareness of something that's important to all of us," the crisis in Darfur, he said. The Oceans gang also turned up at Wednesday night's AMFAR event, which raised a record $7.5 million and sold a Clooney kiss for $350,000.
Soderbergh, who won the Palme d'Or for sex, lies and videotape 18 years ago, insisted that making a romp like Oceans 13 is nonetheless hard to do. "There's an assumption that if we're making an entertaining film we're not as engaged, interested or passionate about it,"¬ù he said. "I don't think any of the people here feel that way. The Oceans films are more difficult, more tricky than the films I've gotten attention for."
UPDATE: I showed up at the Baoli Oceans Thirteen party Thursday night too late to see the gang, who had already fled the glassed-in VIP room for something more private. By the time I got in they were gone. Offering $1000 chips for roulette and black jack was a nice touch, but the lines were too long.
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]