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.
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 Biel, Rose 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.