Ocean's 8 director: We always planned to make a feminist film

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The cast of Ocean's 8Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Sandra Bullock and Mindy Kaling star in the movie

The director of Ocean's 8 says the all-female movie was planned long before #MeToo.

The heist film starring Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett has been seen by critics as an attempt to redress Hollywood gender imbalance.

But Gary Ross has told Newsbeat he "didn't even look at it that way".

"They're just peerlessly talented actors," he said at the movie premiere in London last night.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Screenwriter Olivia Milch with Gary Ross

Rihanna, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter also take lead parts in the drama about a plot to steal $150 million of diamonds at the Met Gala.

"To be in the presence of that much talent was incredible," said Gary, who co-wrote the script with screenwriter Olivia Milch.

She explained: "We are both feminists.

"We always were excited by spending time with these powerful women characters. For us, that was a given."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Rihanna plays Nine Ball in the film

Olivia wrote and directed the female-led Netflix film Dude, while Gary directed The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence.

"In that film we had a female protagonist in the kind of movie that no-one had seen before," said Gary.

"This was not strange terrain to us."

Meanwhile, speculation has surrounded the director's decision to cut Matt Damon's cameo from the film.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Stars Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson

The actor, who starred in Ocean's 11, has been heavily criticised for comments he made about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry following allegations against the film producer Harvey Weinstein.

An online petition to remove him from Ocean's 8 got almost 30,000 signatures.

But Gary Ross insists the decision to cut his performance was purely to improve the film.

"That was really just storytelling. There were a lot of other actors that did things for us and just couldn't make [the final cut]."

Image source, Jeff Spicer
Image caption,
Cate Blanchett on the red carpet in London's Leicester Square

Ocean's 8 took $41.5 million (around £31 million) in its opening weekend in the US, more than any previous film in the Ocean's franchise.

Sandra Bullock told Newsbeat it shows that women are, "allowed at the table. There's no reason for a gender imbalance."

Her co-star Sarah Paulson added: "It makes me feel proud. I don't think there have been many opportunities to show a group of so many women on film who are rooting for each other."

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