Will Smith Gets A Love Interest For Warner Bros' Con-Man Project 'Focus'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
July 16, 2013 12:00 PM
11 Comments
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Will Smith appears to be officially locked into his next project (after this summer's After Earth, starring his son Jaden Smith); when we last reported on it, he was said to be "in talks" to star in Warner Bros' con-man film Focus, which previously had Ben Affleck as the top choice to play the role that Will Smith will now play. Affleck had to drop out as other commitments got in the way.

Also, when Affleck was the man for the job, Kristen Stewart was to star opposite him, playing his co-conspirator, as well as love interest, but she left the project when Smith jumped on-board, citing, according to Variety, an age gap between the two of them that was too wide (Will is 44, Stewart is 23). Although, that apparently wasn't too much of a problem for her, when Ben Affleck, who's not that much younger than Smith, was the candidate for the role. Affleck is 40.

As Variety reports:

Kristen Stewart was attached to also star in the pic, but when Smith became engaged in the project, Stewart fell off with the feeling that the age difference between the two would be too large a gap.

Margot Robbie
Announced this morning, taking over for Stewart in the film, will be Aussie actress Margot Robbie, who is said to be "in talks" for the role. 

Robbie is also 23 years old by the way.

Variety says that lots of actresses tested for the part, including Michelle Williams, Jessica BielRose Byrne, Olivia Munn and Margot Robbie, and it came down to Robbie and Munn, with Robbie winning out. She'll next be seen playing the female lead in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love), the Focus story centers on an inexperienced female con artist who teams up with a more seasoned male con artist, and sparks fly as they go about their con-artist ways.

Robbie will play the former, while Will Smith will play the latter.

Apparently, the project is one that the filmmakers have been trying to get off the ground since last year, when their original idea was to reteam their Crazy, Stupid, Love co-stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, for the lead roles. Scheduling conflicts with Gosling got in the way of that happening. 

Other top-tier actors had been courted for the part include Brad Pitt. Pitt apparently wasn't interested; and, as already noted, Affleck was, but was pulled away by other commitments.

An interesting choice for Will Smith here, especially when you consider that, looking over his IMDBPro page, there are at least 20 different projects that he could've tackled next, over this one.

But maybe it's a great script, and/or it provides him with the opportunity to do something different, assuming that it is.

So let's see how this goes. I wish I could get my hands on the script for this. Will has't exactly always been keen on doing love scenes on screen, so I'm curious if there are any in this one, and how they'll be handled given the obvious.

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11 Comments

  • Marie | July 17, 2013 2:21 PMReply

    This is more evidence for my Will-Smith's-female-costars-have-progressed-from-brown-skinned-black-women-to-light-skinned-to-Hispanic-to-white theory. I'm not bothered by interracial casting or interracial love interests. What bothers me is that NO ONE in Hollywood is championing black female talent and black actresses' beauty. The makers of "Orange is the New Black" were amazed at the deep bench of black female talent from which they had to choose, the talent's definitely there. And no one right now, other than Shonda Rhimes, is in as great a position to champion black actresses than Will Smith. Just like Harrison Ford could hand pick his female co-stars, I'm confident that Smith has that power, too. I'm familiar with Ms. Robbie from the short-lived tv show "Pan Am" and thought she was gorgeous while not wowing me with her acting. From a financial standpoint, there's no difference between hiring a young, unknown white actress and a young, unknown black actress. By accepting this type of casting, Smith is guilty by association for supporting the Hollywood powers who perpetuate the lie that only blonde, blue-eyed women are beautiful and desirable. I believe that in general and in this industry in particular, those of us sharing African heritage should lift as we rise. Smith fails at this miserably.

  • Donella | July 17, 2013 1:07 AMReply

    This doesn't appeal to me.

  • BritgirlNZ | July 16, 2013 6:50 PMReply

    Hmmm... the same Kirsten Stewart who was having an affair with her director aged 41 at the time okie dokie

  • SpillinTea | July 16, 2013 11:05 PM

    Speak on it. lol. That lyin no-talent heffa...

  • robin | July 16, 2013 4:59 PMReply

    Wow! they just need to give this role to Zoe Saldana and quit playing around. She fits the character in 'Focus'

  • ALM | July 16, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    I'm with Kristen Stewart. That age gap is way too big. The Robbie lady probably only took the role because it's with a major star, and she wants to break into the U.S. market. Kristen Stewart is already a household name in the U.S., so she can be more selective with her roles.

    We'll see how this goes. Does anyone else remember the absolute lack of chemistry that Will had with Charlize Theron in "Hancock"? I hope that they have at least screen tested Robbie with Will.

  • sergio | July 16, 2013 5:23 PM

    Oh God No! Smartest decision not to have Stewart in the film. If you MUST have a white chick in the film then ANY white chick except sour puss, "I wish I was someplace else", no shape Stewart

  • @JayTeeDee | July 16, 2013 2:18 PMReply

    I can already see how this casting be problematic for some but based on the other possible casting choices and the storyline the interracial aspect of it is not a issue. Seems like it will be just a standard romcom/buddy crime caper.

  • ScriptTease | July 16, 2013 12:27 PMReply

    Until I see more Black Love, I really don't care to see this, and it has nothing to do with BW/WW... I also don't watch Scandal either.

  • sergio | July 16, 2013 12:33 PM

    HEY I'll go for some BW/WW action. Count me in!

  • ScriptTease | July 16, 2013 12:28 PM

    My bad. BM/WW....

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