Wed 11 February, 2004 04:55
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Catherine Zeta-Jones is joining the all-star cast of the upcoming sequel to "Ocean's Eleven," the studio says.
The 34-year-old Welsh-born beauty will round out the ensemble of actors returning from the 2001 hit movie for "Ocean's Twelve," with Steven Soderbergh back on board to direct.
Producer Jerry Weintraub said on Tuesday Zeta-Jones will play an agent of an Interpol-style police agency, with George Clooney reprising his role as Danny Ocean, a veteran thief who led a gang of multitalented associates in a heist of three Las Vegas casinos in the last film.
The 2001 movie was itself a remake of a 1960 film that starred Frank Sinatra and his "rat pack" cohorts Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.
In the globe-trotting modern sequel -- to be shot in Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Chicago, Las Vegas and Monte Carlo -- Ocean enlists his former cronies and one new member of the team to pull off yet another heist.
Weintraub said all of Clooney's co-stars from the last film are returning for the follow-up, including Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Carl Reiner, Bernie Mack, Casey Affleck and Elliott Gould.
"It's not easy to find an actress who can measure up to the star power of this cast, but Catherine will not only hold her own, she'll add a lot to the movie," Weintraub said.
Zeta-Jones, who is married to Hollywood veteran Michael Douglas, won an Academy Award as best supporting actress for her role as the homicidal hoofer Velma Kelly in the hit musical "Chicago."
She previously teamed up with Clooney in last year's romantic comedy "Intolerable Cruelty" and with Roberts in "America's Sweethearts." She also co-starred for Soderbergh in the drug wars drama "Traffic."
"Ocean's Twelve" is slated to begin production in April for Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner, and Village Roadshow Pictures, with worldwide release planned for December 2004, the studio said.
"Ocean's Eleven" pulled in $183 million (98 million pounds) in North American box office receipts alone.