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Clooney’s first of ’11’

Soderbergh eyeing all-star cast

George Clooney has closed a deal to reprise Frank Sinatra’s role as Danny Ocean in “Ocean’s 11,” with Steven Soderbergh set to direct the Warner Bros. pic.

Clooney’s is the first firm A-list thesp commitment to the pic. Like the original, the studio and the producer want to make it an ensemble piece with many stars.

Though the picture is greenlit, the huge casting job of finding other top talent will take a while; cameras may not roll until late fall. In addition, Soderbergh may take another movie while WB gets the full gang together.

“We have not set a start date yet because we want to be flexible to accommodate as many stars’ schedules as we can,” said WB production prexy Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

Warners-based producer Jerry Weintraub, who originally acquired the rights to the project, will produce the remake of the 1960 WB casino heist movie that was directed by Lewis Milestone.

“This cast will take a little longer to put together than the original,” Weintraub said. “It’s not like with (the Rat Pack) where they all headlined nights at the Sands (and) shot during the day.”

Weintraub singled out di Bonaventura for getting the project up and running as a “go” pic in a week, and also gave credit to Warners VP Basil Iwanyk, as well as to Chris Buchanan, who as Weintraub’s senior VP has developed the script for the last three years and will continue to stay involved.

This is also the first movie out of the box for the newly formed — and still unnamed — WB-based working relationship between Clooney and Soderbergh, a partnership that started with “Out of Sight” in 1998. Clooney’s WB-based Maysville banner remains in place.

“Ocean’s” starred Frank Sinatra, heading up a gang of 11, intent on robbing several casinos at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Rat Packers Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. starred in the pic along with Cesar Romero and Angie Dickinson.

The updated version which will shoot in Vegas and L.A.

Brett Ratner had been in talks to direct, just as Ben Affleck was mentioned earlier for the lead.

Stephen W. Carpenter (“Blue Streak”) wrote the draft that Weintraub bought, but apparently it was scribe Ted Griffin’s (“Ravenous”) most recent draft of “Ocean’s” that put everything over the top right before the holidays.

WB prexy/chief operating officer Alan Horn is said to have wanted the movie right away, a choice that meant the studio declined to wait for other helmers’ schedules.

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