Ocean's 8, the female-led spin-off from George Clooney and friends' male-heavy crime caper franchise, could not have timed its release better. Premiering with the backdrop of the Time's Up and #MeToo movements, and days after Harvey Weinstein's arraignment on criminal charges, the film's diverse, inclusive female cast is inevitably feeling empowered.
Led by Sandra Bullock, who plays Debbie Ocean (sister of Clooney's Danny) and her glamorous gang, including Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina, and Anne Hathaway, the reboot has maintained the lighthearted, stylish spirit of the blockbuster franchise, which also starred Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Don Cheadle.
Evidently, Bullock took the baton from her longtime close friend Clooney and ran with it.
"Well, the beauty about George is that he's still carrying the torch of that Rat Pack group and that essence and that fun. The only thing we wanted to translate and carry on was that we wanted to have the fun too. Even though we didn't have a bar on our set and we weren't shooting in Vegas, we wanted that same spirit and we wanted everyone to see these women as a family supporting each other because you don't see it represented like that enough."
Directed by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games), this US$70 million production was shot in New York and produced by Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, who also directed all three of the previous Ocean's films.
Bullock continues: "I think I'm a pretty good and fair leader, but I prefer to be part of a group and let others shine. I don't feel that I lose anything when someone else is having a moment. As Debbie Ocean, I got to step back a bit. It wasn't me cracking all the jokes or chewing up the scenery."
Given the movie's theme of hitting the jackpot, Bullock reflects on her own personal and professional wins.
"I've had many jackpots in my life. The first thing that got me noticed was Speed  and then I added another milestone with While You Were Sleeping ." A milestone she neglects to mention is her 2010 Best Actress Oscar win for The Blind Side.
Blanchett, particularly animated earlier that day, adds, "Look at the poster!" She points to the picture behind her - a silhouette of their all-women gang. "That's a f***ing jackpot right there!
"Even in the past two years, I think the landscape has changed enormously but it [the casting] still felt like an anomaly," she continues. "Looking forward, there are so many female-centric films being made that I think there is going to be an explosion."
She leans forward. "I don't think this is a niche film. It's a great, funny, entertaining tentpole movie. It's a heist caper movie for men and for women. And so yeah, with this movie I feel like I have hit the jackpot. And I hope audiences feel the same way."
The camaraderie that jumps off the screen is apparent away from it too, and all involved agree that starting their day with the film's hair and makeup squads really set the tone.
"Oh, it was the best f***ing makeup truck I have ever been on in the morning," raves Blanchett. "There is a wonderful thing where art imitated life - my character and Sandy's knew one another and that [friendship] happened very naturally between Sandy and I. And the other actresses were being assembled, so there was a sense of everyone sniffing each other out [in the makeup bus], which also happens in the film. It really only took a couple of days, like the first day of school, and then we were starting to get into a rhythm. I loved it."
Anne Hathaway, meanwhile, was a new mum when she was asked to join the team.
"My son was six months old when I started this movie and so to get to watch Cate and Sandy get ready for work, while at the same time running their lives and seeing firsthand that it can be done, was really inspiring for me," Hathaway says. Bullock had already assured her that the Ocean's 8 set was family-friendly.
"Sandy said to me, 'There's room for your son. Please, please, please don't worry about that aspect'," she says. "It was really cool, mum-to-mum, for her to just reach out and smooth that path for me."
Evidently, she took Bullock's encouraging words to heart. "I'm determined if I ever get the chance to do that for someone else, I want to do that again and again and again."
Given that women's equality and female-driven movies remain the subject du jour, Bullock says, "the fact that we are still having this conversation is shocking to me. But you know what, we are having the conversation and we are talking and we can't stop talking. I hope things go faster and faster and faster to clear things out and start from scratch and develop a foundation where everyone is treated equally," she insists.
"The world does not look like we often represent it in films but now films are starting to reflect what life really looks like."
Who: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway
What: Heist movie spin-off Ocean's 8
When: In cinemas from today