The upcoming con-artist comedy Focus has gone through quite a series of casting upheavals since it was announced last year. The film, to be helmed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, was originally supposed to re-team Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the stars of the writer-directors’ last effort, the well-received Crazy Stupid Love.
Scheduling conflicts got in the way, and the film eventually settled on Ben Affleck and Kristen Stewart for the lead roles of a veteran conman and the rookie criminal with whom he becomes emotionally involved. However, both of those stars eventually dropped out as well, leaving Focus with Will Smith and Margot Robbie of ABC’s short-lived Pan Am. Now that the dust has settled, it seems like Smith and Robbie are locked in.
Now, 300 star Rodrigo Santoro has joined the film as the antagonist, a “powerful owner of a Formula One race team” who was previously involved with Robbie’s character. Santoro has previously ventured into comedy with I Love You Phillip Morris (where he also worked with Ficarra and Requa) and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and he’s made his career playing villains, so I’m curious to see how his character clashes with Smith and Robbie.
The frustratingly vague synopsis for Focus reads:
A veteran con man gets involved with a newcomer to the grifter business. They get involved romantically but that becomes perilous in a business where they lie and cheat for a living. The complications of the encounter haunt them when they meet up again in the future.
That’s not much to go on, but as someone who really enjoyed Crazy Stupid Love, I’m optimistic that Focus could shape up to be a great comedy. It sounds to me like a mix between Matchstick Men and Duplicity, which might not be a bad thing.
Focus doesn’t have a release date as of yet, but I’d expect it sometime next year. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.