The con man film Focus, which follows a grifter who teaches a young woman his mischievous ways, has been a priority at Warner Bros. for a while, but until now, the studio hasn’t been able to peg down the right actor configuration to give the movie a greenlight. It started as a reunion between Crazy Stupid Love co-stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and then transitioned to a Ben Affleck/Kristen Stewart pairing before Affleck bailed because of his next directorial effort, Live By Night. (Though now, he might star in Fincher’s Gone Girl first, so one has to wonder if he wasn’t thrilled about working with Stewart.) Then Will Smith replaced Affleck, and the Twilight star dropped out citing too much of an age difference between the two romantic leads, but WB has found someone Stewart’s age who IS willing to buck conventional wisdom and shack up with a man almost twice her age.
Variety reports that 23-year-old Aussie actress Margot Robbie has taken the female lead. If you aren’t familiar with Robbie yet, you soon will be: the actress stars opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street and alongside Rachel McAdams in About Time later this year, and she starred in the long-running series “Neighbours” and the short running series “Pan-Am.” She’s certainly on the rise, and sharing the screen with one of the world’s biggest movie stars will definitely be a huge boost for her career.
Interestingly, if this deal goes through, it’ll also be the first time in a long time Will Smith will have romanced a white woman on screen. There’s been a sort of stigma attributed to film execs and producers regarding black men being in romantic relationships with white women (see Hitch, in which Smith puts the moves on the Hispanic Eva Mendes), so in addition to being another potentially solid movie from the writer/directors of Crazy Stupid Love, Focus could also be a big step forward for race relations in the eyes of executives.
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