Brad Pitt plays Rusty Ryan, Danny Ocean's confidante and right-hand man.
"Danny and Rusty are old school," screenwriter Ted Griffin explains. "They're guys who live by a code, which now seems a little outdated. They're like modern gunslingers after the west has been civilized. Danny is the idea guy and Rusty is the detail man. Danny can sell you anything, but he has a lot of blind sides and Rusty tends to watch out for him. He knows when Danny's going to screw up about two steps before Danny knows it."
"Rusty wants to be part of the team," says Soderbergh, "because he's been out of the big game for a while and is anxious to get back working on the level that he knows he ought to be working. When we meet him, he's doing things that are beneath him. This is an opportunity for him to step back into the game that he ought to be playing."
According to Pitt, "the reason Rusty agrees to the caper is that he's flat-lined in his life. He's gone from the top of his game to running a poker school for teen heartthrobs. When Danny shows up with his plan to rob three casinos, Rusty's ready to jump in. Even if he does think it's impossible."
"Brad Pitt is perfect as Rusty," Weintraub comments. "He's not only a cool guy, he has that devil-may-care attitude that Rusty has."
Rusty Ryan’s con career was flatlining when Danny Ocean recruited him to serve as his confidante and detail man on the Benedict job. In the wake of their incredible success, Rusty has refashioned himself as a trendy Hollywood hotelier. But his future holds more than another major heist – he may actually have a shot at real romance.
“In the first film, Rusty’s sexuality was ambiguous at best,” Brad Pitt says facetiously, “and we wanted to clarify it in the sequel. So he gets a female love interest.”
(Courtesy of the Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve production notes)