Cate Blanchett kicks off her shoes before she joins Mindy Kaling and Anne Hathaway to lounge on a plush hotel bed in New York City. The actors–three of the eight stars of Ocean’s 8–have been busy promoting the all-female spin-off of the long-running franchise, out June 8. A rest is warranted.
In the new heist comedy, Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean (sister to Danny, played by George Clooney in the early-2000s trilogy) recruits a crew of skilled criminals to steal a priceless necklace off a starlet, played by Hathaway, at the Met Gala. Blanchett plays Lou, Debbie’s right-hand woman. Then there’s the hacker (Rihanna), the jeweler (Kaling), the designer (Helena Bonham Carter), the fence (Sarah Paulson) and the pickpocket (Awkwafina).
Blanchett, Kaling and Hathaway–eloquent even while reclining–spoke to TIME about on-set antics, the power and pressure of a female ensemble and their ideas for a sequel.
What was your favorite day on set?
Kaling: We were shooting at night in a getaway car, all wearing black, and it was cold out. And we were like, you know what would be great? Cocktails. And Sandy [Bullock] just materialized with some grapefruit juice and tequila.
Blanchett: I was nervous because I’m really not a tequila girl. But it’s not bad.
Kaling: You were the getaway driver, weren’t you?
Blanchett: Yeah, but the car wasn’t actually moving. It was green-screened.
Hathaway: My first day was the day after the election.
Kaling: [Sarcastically.] We were all rejoicing. Because our guy won.
Hathaway: We went through makeup, then Hillary [Clinton] gave her speech, and we cried off our makeup–then we had it put back on and worked a 20-hour day.
What discoveries did you make about one another?
Blanchett: I thought, What if we don’t all click? Part of you does buy that bullsh-t that women are competitive. But that disappeared after 20 seconds in makeup.
Hathaway: The thing I’d never been able to imagine is that people I admire struggle or miss a line or have a day where their kid has the stomach flu. By the end, I felt if I was struggling, I didn’t have to hide that.
If filming were to start tomorrow, how would things be different?
Blanchett: So much has changed even since day one of shooting this film. The culture has shifted.
Kaling: We’re so lucky we were part of something that was sort of a unicorn when it happened, and now we just happen to be ahead of our time doing a movie with all women. People feel good about going to see it politically, because we’re in a charged time–but it’s also just a great, funny movie.
Hathaway: I’d like to have a nursery on set.
Kaling: That might be a must.
Hathaway: Not just for the actresses, but for the crew. So people, especially women, don’t have to choose between pursuing their careers and [parenting].
Do you feel more pressure these days to speak about your politics?
Blanchett: At Cannes, because I was president of the jury, a lot of questions in the press conference were directed toward me. One journalist said how outspoken I was. I was like, Dude, you were asking me the f-cking questions. If a woman has an opinion she’s “forthright” or she “doesn’t take prisoners.”
Kaling: We’ve always had a responsibility that comes with any kind of platform, and it’s bullsh-t to say that you don’t accept that. I feel that as a woman, doubly so as a woman of color. I don’t love having to talk about my politics whenever I want to promote a movie or show.
If there were a blooper reel, what would be on it?
Kaling: A lot of Paulson.
Hathaway: Us cry-laughing around Sarah Paulson.
Kaling: She’s a very uninhibited, open-spirited person, and just so funny.
Hathaway: Also a lot of Helena [Bonham Carter] trying to ground us in the scene we just came from.
Blanchett: For some reason, her character was Irish.
Kaling: It took me a long time to realize that Helena was not Irish.
Any hopes for a sequel?
Hathaway: I want us to go all over Europe. Because the boys got to go to Rome and Lake Como.
Blanchett: I’d like to do Brazil, around Carnival.
Hathaway: O.K., I withdraw my suggestion. A Carnival heist movie? Also Cate suggested that we should have RuPaul in it, and I think that would be great.
This appears in the June 18, 2018 issue of TIME.
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