One of the pithier comments from this afternoon’s Ocean’s Thirteen press conference came from star George Clooney when he responded to a far-too-serious inquiry about the declining state of screen- writing. “I’m so glad you asked that question about this film,” he replied, adding that Ocean’s Thirteen was “clearly a cry for peace.”

Ocean’s Thirteen-ers at this afternoon’s press conference (l. to r.) Ellen Barkin, Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, producer Jerry Weintraub, Brad Pitt — Thursday, 5.24.07, 2:32 pm

I asked towards the end of the session if it was fair to compare this revenge film (i.e., about a group of rakish, rascally guys ripping off a powerful, arrogant blue-chip thug) with the last big studio film that succeeded really well with this kind of yarn — i.e., The Sting. And if it’s fair to compare the two, how would Soderbergh & Co. reply? “We’re not going there,” producer Jerry Weintraub said.